Performance animation blocking (body mechanics)

In the previous post I came up with some ideas for the performance part of body mechanics. I chose to create a dizzy character scene to help me practise animating a performance with a full character rig. So looking at the reference footage for the first idea (in the previous post) I story boarded some of the key frames in the selection of the animation that I have decided to animate. I have managed to pick out some of the frames that may be beneficial to me when animating as these will be useful reference images. These shots mainly show the basic movements of some of the turns and steps for the character as he wonders around the same spot changing the exaggeration of each step.

Anyway I have also decided to use the rotoscoping/ image plane in Maya to help reference the shot I have created. This is done by:

  • Make a camera in Maya
  • Go to attribute editor and find environment
  • Then select create image plane
  • Then use the checkered box to add the image sequence or movie onto the image plane.

So using a combination of the drawings and the video reference on the image plane I was able to create the blocking for the animation idea. So the first video is the first part of the animation key poses where I started off with a few of the key poses just to help me adjust to the Stewart rig controls, and using the image plane as reference rather than flicking back and forth from a quicktime video.

This video is all the key poses for the animation where I have used the reference footage effectively to pose the character at key positions in the scene to create a flowing movement. This time I have tried to animate from the hips to get that natural flowing movement as seen in the reference behind the character. As you can tell from looking at the previous video of this reference footage in the previous post I have only selected a part of the film as it was over a 1000 frames which seemed to be a lot to do at this current time. As I would rather have a nice flowing short animation than a long terrible animation. Therefore I cut the video down to just over 400 frames to help me get all the interesting turns and secondary actions that will be appealing to animate and watch.

Looking at these key poses I think that the image plane method of reference has been so much better to use than quicktime player, allowing me to look at the pose more carefully, whilst having frames counted for me in the timeline rather than having to count them myself in quicktime player. Therefore I shall be using this method more often to help animate, especially when animating characters. Furthermore I think that the key poses have come out quite well as they match the reference footage in a similar way and have similar timings.

Now I shall need to edit this blocking and block out all the features including the toes, hands, fingers, face and other parts of the rig. I shall continue to use the reference footage as a guide to help position the key poses of each component.

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