Join David Andrade for an in-depth discussion in this video Adjust the appendages, part of Creating a Finished Character Animation in Blender.
- The hips drive all the major movement in the character. However, appendages like the arms can act on their own. Here, we'll explore the back and forth process of refining them. Now let's watch what we have. - I'd like to see you try. You wouldn't last one day. - Dude, I service society by rocking, okay. I'm out on there on the front lines liberating people with my music. Rocking ain't no walk in the park, lady. - All right, we have a couple of great things that we can refine here. I'm going to be focusing on this left arm. First, I'm going to turn off Audio Scrubbing, and, second, I'm going to make sure that this little icon is checked on so that way only the controls I have selected show up.
Now let's work on this moment right here where it seems to be stuck in space. We're going to zoom in right here. First, his hand comes up. We know it's kind of going through the ground already, so maybe we can hide it a little bit until we need it. And then we're going to pull it out right about here. And I'm going to rotate it a little bit so it transitions a little bit nicer, and I'm going to have those fingers overlap or drag a little by using the scale tool.
Still a little funny in here. That's okay. Just get in there and refine it. Takes a little bit of time. Don't ever be afraid of keying things one frame at a time. Okay, now he hits this position, and it feels stuck in space, so we're going to move that hand up a little bit, rotate it. We're going to move up a little bit more, rotate it a little bit more, and maybe even these fingers curl in a little bit because the fingers are just kind of dragging.
And now we're going to open up the hand a little bit, and we're just going to let this hand drift a little. Maybe we'll add just a hint of rotation too. It comes down quite a bit, so let's just move it up. You don't need it really dragging too much. I'm using my favorite tool, the breakdowner. We're going to hit shift, E and kind of copy that previous key a little bit.
There's still a weird move here. You know what, I don't love it, and this happens while you're refining, so just drag this key over and move it until you love it. There we go. Now let's look at this transition right here. We can drag the fingers a little bit, so we're going to rotate this. We're going to scale this. Right here we're going to scale a little bit more, and we're going to make these fingers feel like they're flowing up. We're going to do the same thing like before. We're going to come up a little bit.
We're going to scale it up a little bit just so we get that nice, flowing feeling with those fingers. - By rocking, okay. I'm out there on the front li- - A little bit more. Looks right about here maybe. - Okay. I'm out there on the front lines. - Not bad. There's still a little pop here. We can get rid of that with the breakdown tool. Maybe in this transition we can make this transition happen a little faster. Same with this one. We can scale it in a little bit so those fingers drag.
Let's watch it one more time. - By rocking, okay. I'm out there on the front lines. - Not bad at all. Okay, now let's focus a little later down the time. If you were paying attention, this hand kind of does something really funny right about here. You can't really see it because it's behind his head, so let's move out this hand just a little bit so we can see it, and you'll see that the hand does this weird twist. See that? Kind of twists into himself. Now, there's a couple of ways to fix this, and, unfortunately, they both require a lot of time.
I'm going to move this up a little bit, and I'm going to switch into Graph Editor mode. I'm going to open this up, select my rotations. I'm going to hit shift, H so I only see my rotations. I'm also going to click on Normalize so that all of the curves line up next to each other. Now you can see what's happening right here. There is this weird intersection between all three rotation angles. This is called gimbal lock, and there's really no easy way to fix this. There is an option under Key, Discontinuity Filter, but sometimes it just doesn't work like you want it to, and in this case nothing really happened.
It's still pointing in the weird wrong direction. When this happens, really the only option is just to delete some of the keyframes and fix it by hand, so I'm going to do that really quick to give you a rough idea of how this would work. Of course, because I've deleted some of these keyframes, I now have to go in and adjust all the other keyframes, but you get the idea.
This, unfortunately, takes a very long time to fix little bugs like this in your animation, and there's really no easy way around it. Appendages can do funny things like this, twisting around or getting stuck in space. Often, the only solution to fixing these problems is just patience and diligence.
- Listening to the dialog clip
- Sketching out the animation framework
- Learning how character and facial rig works
- Blocking key character poses
- Getting feedback
- Adjusting appendages
- Matching dialog to the animation
- Cleaning up frames with the Graph Editor
- Lighting and rendering the animation