Friday, February 18, 2011

Week 6: Idle Cycles + Animation Madness from Blur

Your last week before MIDTERM EXAMS (moo hahahaha...) we'll delve further into the most subtle of the animation principles -- overlapping action, which is paramount to creating weight.  We'll take lots of cues from the Pixar of Game Animation, Blur Studio in California.

Idle Cycles:
We'll be working on the Rubic's cube of cycles -- the humble "Idle".  How your character behaves when he's just waiting around conveys a lot of attitude. You'll need a lot of subtle control to keep a character alive.  Too little movement and they'll just look dead, too much and they'll appear to be having a seizure. :o)

I must warn you that as simple as it may seem to make a character 'do nothing', it is most diabolical!  With great subtlety you must add some movement to every part of the character. Nothing should bump or pop, everything should have a nice smooth arc and you should not really be able to pick out where the cycle starts and stops -- it should be a loop about 1-2 seconds long.

The key to idles is mastering Overlapping Action.  Show how movement flows from the main muscle groups of the body out to the extremities using the 'wave principle'.

Start with a nice pose. Work in a little contraposto if you can.  Get the attitude working before you move on to animation.  Create a slightly different pose in the middle and then some breakdowns in between. This looks not too bad, but the movement will all be happening on the same keyframes.  Get into the details by offsetting the joints. All changes of direction must use lot of slow ins & outs.  Use your infinity/cycle views and check for smoothly flowing curves in that Graph Editor. 

Homework due MONDAY, Feb 28th
  • One smooth idle cycle that works from all angles.
  • Make sure to playblast it in an ortho side view, as well as other angles to give a clear picture of how it's working.

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