Monday, July 9, 2012

CLASS 12 : Modeling and Animation II: Intro to 3D Animation in Maya. Using video reference for animation.

We'll have a look at the Bouncing Balls and Luxo Jumps in class.

Working with Video Reference
We studied photographic reference of jumping to help us animate our Luxo lamps. We'll spend the next few weeks using video reference to help us bring more realism into our animation. 

When animators copy video footage frame by frame it's called "rotoscoping". This can lead to dead, lifeless animation such as you might see with bad motion capture animation. The trick to using video reference properly is to identify and clarify the keys in the action and subtley exaggerate the timing.

In the example below I used a live action reference video to quickly map out a simple Luxo lamp jump. The animation is not identical to the live action but an interpretation. 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... 

In-Class Exercise: 
Animation using Video Reference.

Assigned: July 10th
Due: July 10th in class
Total Value: 10%
Short in-class exercise to practice working with live action reference. 
Please download this tennis clip from our shared DropBox folder:

Create a new scene with Luxo and a ball and animate at least some of the action from this video.
Upload it to the folder "tennis exercise".

You can bring your video right into your 3D scene and have it on an image plane. This is a 2-step process: create an image sequence, and then play the sequence in Maya. If you import the movie and project it onto an image plane, it will not scrub in the viewport.

Creating Image Planes From Video Reference
-Find and trim the reference video you want and save it.
-Create a jpg or TIFF 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

Reminder: no class next week, July 18th. 
Next class: July 25, 6-9 with Jakub Pazerla

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