The Leap Spline pass

Previously for this animation I had gone through Hannah’s blocking pass and added the inbetween frames, while applying some fixes to the knee issues we had before. Anyway all the issues are fixed with the rig and the inbetweens are all implemented into the animation ready for further development. So the video below is a playblast showing all the blocking and inbetweens as a spline. Therefore using the graph editor I made all of the stepped keys into spline, showing the more natural movement. However as you can see below there are some issues with the animation as the legs seem to bend and move naturally which will need tweaking. Plus the arms seem to stop before going up when they should flow to the next pose.

Below is another playblast of the animation showing some very slight changes to the arms where I have made them flow up a little better, but there is still some stepped movement in the arms and still the bendy legs which makes the animation look unnatural so next task is to fix those issues before splining further.

In the playblast below I have edited the legs and arms to move slightly more naturally, however I am still having some issues with the first leg to lift up as it seems to move backwards. Perhaps there is a movement in the X or Z axis that could be out of place so I may look it the graph editor to see if there is a sudden change in the arcs.

As you can see below I have found the issue with the leg, there was a Z axis that was not keyed and moved in the wrong direction. Looking at the animation below the leg seems to move more naturally as it rises up. So the next step is to go through the individual frames in the graph editor and edit each of the keyframes and inbetweens so that they move naturally for the character, matching the reference footage.

Below I have gone through the graph editor and edited the legs to have some splined movement, with the feet always touching the ground where necessary. However looking at the hips, they seem to bounce in a unnatural way, I think next time I should start with animating/ editing the hips first as that is where all the key movement comes from.  Therefore next step will be to fix the hips and arms to flow naturally and help to show the key movement of the Leap.

Looking at the video below I have edited the hips to move naturally and have those natural curved in the movement, when rotating the hips and editing the translate Y to get those bounces in the steps. However the upper body compared to the hips, as they seem to rotate back and forth which is not suited to the hips, meaning that’s next on the to do list.

I have started working on the arms first though as I wanted to get the natural curve/ swing in the arms as they lift to help make it more appealing and natural. But I will need to fix the issue with the upper body, because the movement seems to flicker back and forth in the rotate X, Y and Z axis. But I think the leg movement seems to look natural, but I think I should go through it in the polish pass, just to make sure the feet are not hovering.

I have edited the arms and head further to get the natural arcs in the graph editor, but I think that the movement still needs to be edited in the graph making the spline graph have the clear appealing movement. But once again I think I should work on the upper body as that seems to be the most part distracting and unappealing part of the animation.  Now I shall continue splining the individual parts of the rig.

Looking at the animation I can see that with some more development in the graph editor, the upper and lower arm are more natural looking than before, with some appealing looking animation. Having the main actions in the legs and arms moving naturally I need to focus on the main body action as it seems to still look unappealing to me. I should of done this previously, but I think looking at the animation I thought that having the arm movement sorted would help me to develop the rest of the animation.

Below I have started editing the upper torso, above the hip control to help make the torso bend and move in curves. Although I may have made the movement more appealing I still think some of the movement in the upper torso is unnatural, as about half way through the torso bends towards the camera making it look really off putting to me, so I shall go back through and fix that next.

The upper torso movement still seems to move in a more appealing way to me, but I still think that some of the animation is not right, it could be my perspective on it, so perhaps showing y team before polishing could be a good idea. I think I should polish as the key animation is spline and I am happy with it, it is just the small movements that are not sorted.

Next I shall get some feedback from my team before going to the polish pass of the animation. I shall add some small movement into the animation in the polish pass, for instance hand movement, blinking and small fixes in the animation. Looking through the animation I can see that the animation has some flowing movement which looks both natural and appealing. But I believe getting a second opinion on the animation could help me to refine the animation.

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