Join David Andrade for an in-depth discussion in this video Block out the character's key poses, part of Blender: Creating a Finished Character Animation.
- Now we begin our journey of character animation. You'll want to start by opening the file 03_01_Blocking_Start.blend. This blend file has been completely laid out with Arthur and a basic set for him to act in. Let's begin by blocking out the character's key poses on each frame. Now, as I mentioned earlier, Arthur has a ton of controls, but really you just need to use some of the basic ones that are right in front of you. In order to position Arthur, you're going to want to use the move control and the rotate controls.
Now remember, we have our sketches from before, and we're going to be working on this first pose right here, and we have our video reference from before as well. So in this first pose, it looks like I'm sitting up quite straight, typing at a computer. If we look at our sketches, we have this nice, sharp angle. So let's get Arthur in that position. We don't really have to worry about the legs since they're obscured by the camera.
And again, we're not doing anything crazy here, we're just moving, rotating, moving, and rotating. Now, here's a trick. If you ever need to copy a position from from side to the other, you can select those particular controls, click this copy button, and then click this paste button. And that will copy it from one side to the other. You may need to adjust it a little bit, but for the most part your work is already done.
Now, when you're blocking out poses, just concentrate on silhouette and on simplicity. We don't need to do every thing, you don't need to modify the eyes, you don't need to have all of the tiny controls adjusted, you just need to modify the big controls to set the tone and the idea of your character. Also, don't forget to check your camera. Go to view, cameras, active camera, and that way you can see how your animation will play out in the actual rendered camera mode.
Okay, this looks like a good pose. Now, before we move on we have to key everything. So hit A twice, then hit I. You'll see this new menu come up. You want to go to LockRotScale. This will set a key on the location, rotation, and scale controls of all of the selected controls from Arthur. Now in order to speed up this workflow, you can click on auto key, and you can go to this little key set, and go to LockRotScale.
That way, every time you position Arthur's controls, they will automatically key. I still recommend though you hit A twice and then I just to get in a good habit of making sure everything has a key. There's a good reason for this. If I only move the head, and then later I move the hand, you'll see that the hand slowly drifts while the head moves. And that wasn't intended. So I always recommend hitting A twice and then hitting I to make sure everything is keyed just like you like it.
I've gone ahead and blocked all of Arthur's key poses into this file, Blocking_End. Now you'll notice that I've only blocked them out one frame at a time. I haven't adjusted it or moved it down the timeline. This is just so I can concentrate on the poses. Blocking an animation can be intimidating at first, but by focusing only on key poses we will set a solid foundation for the rest of our animation.
- 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