Tuesday, February 7, 2012

WEEK 5: Modeling and Animation II: Luxo, Continued

We've covered a lot of the Principles of Animation so far, but there's still a lot to cover in terms of secondary & overlapping action. The Luxo character has only its head and base to drag and settle, so it's important to use them well to show gravity's effects. Controlling secondary action takes practice. Too much secondary makes the characters look too rubbery. Not enough, and they look like robotic.
We looked at some clips from the masters of secondary action -- Disney, Bluth, and Keane and studied how it gives their work such nice flow and weight.
"Secret of Nimh" by Don Bluth, master of secondary action  
We studied photographic reference of other people jumping. 
Now it's your turn to create some video reference for yourself. We'll set up cameras and tripods and shoot some footage to use to try rotoscoping -- a process I eyed with suspicion until I discovered what a time-saver it can be.

Creating Image Planes From Video Reference 
Click here to see one of you as a lamp. 

It's relatively easy to bring  footage into your animation files. You can easily follow the frame-by-frame reference, ie, rotoscope, but you'll quickly see that with just a little exaggeration you can make your animation even better, heavier, and snappier than the live action footage.

Check out the video to see how I turned one of my students into a lamp...

Here are the instructions on how to view an image sequence in your viewport:

-Find and trim the reference video you want and save it. 
-Create a jpg image sequence for it at 24 fps, aiming for the lowest tolerable quality setting (I got 11 kb/fr)
You can do this easily in QuickTimePro. 
You can also use Premiere, Final Cut Pro, AfterEffects, etc.
In Premiere: -->File | Export | Media. Select TIFF as the format, and set source range to Entire Clip.

In Maya:
-create a new camera from the main menu:  Create --> Camera
-in the viewport, look through your new camera: Panels --> Perspective --> Camera 1 (or whatever you named your camera)
-in the viewport, create an image plane: View --> Image Plane --> Import Image, click on the first frame of your image sequence.
-View --> Image Plane --> Image Plane Attributes --> Select "Use Image Sequence"
- in Image Plane Attributes, select the visibility Display --> In all views
Animate through the perspective window or the camera if you like

Finish your Luxo Jump this week! When the basics are working, polish secondary, overlap, drag, settle, and moving holds. If you have extra time, try adding in a little personality. Upload your work in progress to your blog along with video or photographic reference.

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