I Like To Present

INK – Character RIG

I want to introduce you the Official Rig for my Channel – INK 🙂Ink_Rig3.gif

I wanted something simple to better show you same basic principles and I love the 2D effect in general!

Finally is ready and I already started to use it for my new lesson! 🙂

(the Rig is not available for download)

How to make the best use of this channel!

Little and quick video with some explanations 😛

Tutorial #07 – How to Refine a Shot

-How to Refine a Shot –

PART1: Before start to show my workflow to Refine a Shot I need to do a quick explanation of the main tools of the Graph Editor (for Beginners), here the main topic:

– Introduction to the Graph Editor
– Main Useful Tools
– Create a Cycle Animation
– How to Bake an Animation
– Quick fix gimbal Lock and Flipping with Euler Filter

In the Tutorial I used the “Alya’s Rig” https://www.facebook.com/AlyaRig/

PART2: I will use an animation I made a while ago to show you my workflow when I have to refine a shot! 😉 ANIMATION SHOT

In the Tutorial I used the “Eleven Rig” http://elevenrig.blogspot.it/

—————–

“Refine a Shot – Graph Editor” – RECAP (BEGINNERS)

GE01.png

First of all, it’s not something you have to be scared of!GE02a.png

I know exactly how you feel when you open it for the first time, ’cause when I started this job, I tried to avoid it as mush as possible, I found it too

 

…. “technical”, I had the feeling to lose part of my instinct and I always preferred to work directly in the viewport, like “I don’t care how my curves look like! The animation works so ….it doesn’t matter!” but…in hindsight, now that I’m used to work with it and I know how useful and important is to make beautiful animation, I would like to show you and explain the Graph Editor in the easiest way, so that you can focus on the important aspects and you don’t be too much intimidated by it! GE03

When you have your keys on the timeline, open the Graph Editor

Window –> Animation Editors –> Graph Editor

(I’M USING MAYA 2015, so … if you have other versions you may find it a bit visually different!)

Like any other panel you can click in the button right angle to scale it and adjust it as you wantSchermata 2017-06-22 a 16.57.04

Or, you can change the layout of you view scene by choosing the Persp/Graph option and you will have the view scene splitted in 2 windows: with your camera in the upper part (in this case you have the persp but you can change it with the camera you prefer) and the Graph Editor below. By clicking in the middle you can change the size of the windowsSchermata 2017-06-22 a 16.57.09.png

Select all the controls of your character and … as you can see your animation is visualized in the Graph Editor as CURVESSchermata 2017-06-22 a 17.05.18

Each curve is the rapresentation of the motion of the different axis, that you can see on the leftSchermata 2017-06-22 a 17.05.23

You can select each axis one by one, or select multiple axis by keeping press shift!

To Move in the Graph Editor, just do as with the viewport navigation:

  • Pan: press Alt or Option and middle-drag 
  • Zoom: press Alt or Option and right-drag

To Fit the entire curve in the window: point on the graph editor and press A

If you want to zoom on a part of the curves: select the keys and press F

GE05.png

I’m going to show you the tools you’ll use most of the time from this menu:

_________________________

GE05_cycle.png

When you have an animation and you want to create a cycle (a walk cycle or anything else you need to loop) the first thing to do is to open the Graph Editor and switch on the Infinity to visualize the cycle from VIEW –> INFINITYSchermata 2017-06-22 a 17.23.58.png

then… select the curves and from the menu Curves turn on the cycle on both Pre Infinity and Post Infinity. In this way you will cycle before and after your first and last keys

cycle1

an other type of cycle you can use is the CYCLE with OFFSET, in this case when you have the first and last keys values different (for example like in a walk cycle forward, or in a cycle in place when you move forward the main control with the first and last keys with different values) the cycle starts from the values of the last and the first keys (in a progressive way)

cycle2

If you want to take off the cycle: just select Curves –> Pre and Post Infinity –> Constant

_________________________

GE05_bake.png

in some cases you will need to bake your animation: this means that the software will convert each frame in keyframe (this is useful in case you need to convert in keyframe a cycle or to keyframe a constraint, or to export your animation for a game engine and other cases)
to bake the keys, go on CURVES –> BAKE CHANNEL and open the options:

here you can choose which part of the animation you want to bake: you can decide to bake a range of frames based on your current time slider or to chose a range typing the start and the end.

And the interval between the keys: you decide if have a keys any 1/2/3 or more frames

_________________________

GE05_euler

this is not the only way to fix a Gimbal Lock or a Flipping rotation issues, and it doesn’t work always, but it works in many cases! 😉

so, if you have this type of issues you can try to use the EULER FILTER: you can see in the graph editor the curve with the issue (should be pretty visible :P)

select the keys and go to CURVES –> EULER FILTER! Schermata 2017-06-22 a 17.52.32.png

_________________________

GE05_refine.png

This is my personal workflow when I go to refine an animation.

I’ll use this animation I made a while ago, this is the final version

For a matter of time I’ll show just a little part of the animation and this is the blocking I started fromBLK.gif

If I’m sure that the blocking works well, that everything is readable, that I have the right timing, appealing poses (nice and readable) that perfectly fit’s the character mood …..so… when the biggest part is done, what we are going to see in the shot is already there, I just need to refine the animation: make everything fluid, polish the curves, adjust the spacing, offset some parts and add some details!

I set in spline (or auto tangent) all the keys and…let’s see how it looks likeAUTO.gif

if you have done good blocking (adding the right keys in the right position, with a good timing) when you’ll convert your tangents in spline, the result should be something enough clear and polished! 😉

BUT … if you just started to animate recentlyyou may have something more chaotic the first times! Schermata 2017-06-22 a 18.35.31.png

Some animator tends to add too much key poses during the blocking, two many acting choices or too much breakdowns and in-betweens, and when they convert in spline … the graph editor is a bit confusing! Sometimes they have to delate most of the blocking and re-do the work, so here some tips for your blocking:

so don’t be angry if the first times you will have something more confusing, you’ll get used to it with the experience! 😉

My version already works but the movements are a bit roboticAUTO the character needs life and a bit of love ! (Don’t care about the lip-sync ’cause I just added some poses in the BLK and I’ll try do do an entire lesson just for the lip-sync ’cause it would take too much time)

the first thing I’ll go to adjust is the:Schermata 2017-06-22 a 18.45.10.png

for example: the first movement is too slow, everything starts to move too soon so I want to keep the first pose for more frame. But I don’t want to freeze it, I just go to slow it down!

In the timeline I quickly add keys and move them back or forth to edit the spacing! This will make the process faster, ’cause after that… I’ll go to clean them in the graph editor but I already have the right spacing to work with and is also faster ’cause in this way I can move all the controls at the same time and not one by one

after I worked on the timeline, I go to clean and adjust the curves in the graph editor, trying to smooth the motion.


Now I will adjust the Moving Holds at the end of a movement, slowing down the spacing in the final part! To do that I add an in-between before the last key pose, with a value really close to the final one, so the animation stops more softly.

If you reach the final position too fast and then you don’t keep a bit of motion (a great motion and suddenly a flat curve with no motion at all) the resault will be an abrupt stop and very mechanic motion.

If the stop is too slow (so if we have too much motion at the end) the result is not realistic anyway and would result too floaty


Now I go to add Follow-through and Overlap offsetting same parts, example:

  • offset the upper torso from the middle torso, the neck from the torso, the head from the neck
  • the same for the arm, I need to offset the forearm, from the arm, the wrist from the forearm, and the fingers from the wrist
  • same for the leg, shin offsetted compare to leg, foot offsetted from the shin, and toes from the foot

after the blocking I have all the keys on the same frames, so each part of the body reacts, starts to move and ends the motion at the same time, on the same frame with exactly the same timing!  We need to add variation, ’cause each part would react in a different way and time!

To offset the keys I just select all of them (a controller at the time) and I drag them forward in the graph editor or directly in the timeline as much frames as I need, then I adjust the curves in the graph editor and I add some in-betweens when necessary (adjusting shapes, arcs etc)


Then I add more Breakdowns: I add the blinks where needed or I simply adjust them, I animate the squash for the head and I check my arcs!

I want to be sure that each movement follows a nice path: the arm, the head, the chest…you can use motion trail to visualize the paths of your movements and adjust them to create smooth and nice arcs!
To use the motion trail you have to select the control of the parts of the body you want to check, and in the Animation Tab, go on Animate —> Create Editable Motion Trails and then turn on the visibility from Show —> Motion Trails
the software will displays a red line that is your path of action. Anytime we move the control (so we change the position), the trail changes. You can also turn on the handles to adjust the arc. In this example you can also see a motion trail displaying a figure 8 path, that is very used in animation, for example for the swing of the arms during a walk.
Why arcs are so important? Most of the movement should create an arc in their path of action, this makes the animation more fluid and more realistic!
BUT There some particular cases where straight paths are necessary so … always keep in mind the type of animation you are doing and make your decision based on that.

In the in-betweens and breakdowns you can use deformers to adjust the shapes to better follow the arc.


before the arms stops I added this little settle back and forth ‘cause the gesture is pretty fast and strong, so adding a simple slowing down at the end would take off a bit of power from the gesture, resulting too soft! I already have a smooth and slow movement before, when she moves the pencil while she thinks and stalling before make the question, so… it’s more interesting to break this rhythm adding a faster and stronger movement when she finish the question, also the contrast with the soft bended arm before and this straight rigid line at the end helps to emphasize the acting!
What is a settle at the end of a motion? Some type of movements need to settle after the stop! A sort of soft or strong rebound back and forth
An object reaches a forward position, then goes back and forth 1 or more times!

If the object (or the character) is composed by different parts, they will stop at different time and different way to settle!


Now I add a bit of movement to each part of the body, this because we should always move the entire body!

A human body is composed by parts connected to each other and each part has an influence on the closest one!
So even if with very subtle movements, in most of the cases we should consider that when we animate a part this should affect an other one.
In my blocking I didn’t add any movement to the right arm, it’s totally freezed in position and also there’s no movement to the lower part of the body, the hip, ’cause this parts actually don’t do nothing, but they need to react anyway! Something soft, but enough to make it part of a body in motion, and not a separate object and also to add vitality to the entire animation!

I look throw each poses to be sure that are nice and readable, I use deformers if necessary to adjust arm and legs shapes
I check if there’s some compenetrations with props and environments or with the body itself!

I check the eyes, the more important part to make a character alive, eyes are so important, the look have to be focused on something (unless the character is thinking to something, or…other particular cases where the eyes just stares off) I check the pupils position, when a look is on a side, keep attention to don’t put the pupil too inward, it’s unnatural, and we lose the characters life! So keep at least half of the pupils visible!

I go to add all the little details at the end, like the offset of the prop, the pencil, that must has a bit of delay compared to the hand movement. I add the hair animation and….that’s it!

I hope this video helps a bit to show you how useful the graph editor can be, and how to approach refine to make your animation looks better! 🙂

Tutorial #06 – Animate an Head Take

-Animate an Head Take-

Learn how to animate an Head Take in two variations, a soft take and one more cartoony! 😉

This tutorial is connected to the Lesson 07 where I explain the principles of SQUASH and STRETCH!

In the Tutorial I used the “Eleven Rig”eleven3

“Eleven Rig”

After the tutorial I suggest you do do the Exercise#3 “Animate an Head Take”Exercise_003

Tutorial #05 – Animate a Character Turn

-Animate a Character Turn-

Learn how to animate a Character Turn in two different Timing, Fast and Slow! 🙂

This tutorial is connected to the Lesson 05 where I explain the principles of TIMING and SPACING!

In this Tutorial I used this lovely Rig “Alya” by Eyad Hussein https://eyad.tv/home/ It’s really a great rig and I suggest you to check it when will be availabe (you have to wait the first quarter of 2017 :P). But you can fill the pre-registration form on this link and you will receive an email once the rig is ready for download https://eyad.tv/home/alya_pre_registr…

Alya

After the tutorial I suggest you do do the Exercise#2 “Animate a Character Turn”Exercise_002

—————–

Charater Turn Tutorial RECAP

Let’s see how to animate two different turns of a character:01.png

The first Turn we are going to do is the:02

We start setting the two key poses. In the first one she looks on the left screen, and in the last one she looks on the right, with a surprised expression.

The idea is that she suddenly hears something coming from the right screen. So, the movement will be pretty fast: 10 Frames03.png

The software create the interpolation between this two poses04.png

and the result is a linear movement that is really far from the result we wantHead_turn_fast_LINEAR

let’s add an in-between two frames after the first pose, at frame 305.png

the position of the head is pretty close to the first one, so we slow down the spacing!

To slow down the head rotation, go in the graph editor, select the head rotation axis and drag down the key at frame 3, so that we have less change in position between frame 1 and frame 3

So, REMEMBER THAT: in the part where we have a SLOW SPACING we have less change in position, the movement is slower and the curve is almost flat, where we have a FAST SPACING we have more change, the movement is faster and the curve go down, or go up, depends on the axis movement!

so, in the In-between at frame 3 the head is still rotated on the left, we have a little downward translation of the chest, the shoulders rotate a bit upwards and the eyes open a bit! JUST A BIT!! 😀06.png

Let’s add a breakdown at frame 511.png

the chest continue to go down (just a bit)12.png

and we speed up the spacing of the head rotation. It starts to rotate on the right13

and we also add a little squash of the head. So the head volume deforms a bit, decreasing  in height and increasing in width 14.png

Head_turn_fast_BREAKDOWN.gif

between frame 3  and frame 5 we have the change of the look direction, it moves from left to right15.png

and we shouldn’t use more then 2 frames, otherwise we would have a floating look result and the characters would result totally lifeless!

So at frame 3 we still have the same look position of frame 1, but at frame 5 we already have the same look position of the last pose16.png

So, at frame 5 we move the look manually on the right17.png

This movement must to be really fast and two frames is even too much, so let’s go at frame 4 and we move it a bit more on the right18.png

So the big movement happens between frame 3 and frame 4, and at frame 5 we have a bit adjustment19.png

Let’s reduce the spacing in the end! We add an in-between at frame 8, where the head almost reached the final position20.png

To slow down the movement we do as before, in the graph editor, we move the key more close to the last one so the curve is almost flat21.png

Last, we add a MOVING HOLD, approximately 10/12 frames after the last pose. We just smooth the movement: the head, the chest, and the eyes continues to move just a bit, just enough to don’t result that the body freezes22.png

Now you can also add some details and overlap, like the hairs animation or a blink in the breakdown!Head_turn_fast_REFINED

——————

Let’s now do the:01a.pngLike the other one we start setting the two key poses. For this slow turn let’s imagine for example that she’s just looking around. On the first key she looks on the left screen, now in a much more relaxed expression, and in the last key, she’s turned on the right screen. The movement now it’s slower, 30 Frames01.png

The software create the interpolation between this two poses02.png

and we have this LINEAR movementHead_Turn_Slow_LINEAR.gif

Let’s add a breakdown approximately more close to the first key, at frame 1203.png

on this breakdown the head is still rotated on the left screen, we have a small translation downward and a bit of squash of the head, we add an half blink, so we translate downward the upper lids and the eyebrows, and just a bit the bottom lids up04.png05.png

we add an in-between  around frame 20. We  slow down the spacing, at this point the head almost reached the final position

06.png

we add an other in-between just after the first key pose, at frame 507.png

here the change is really imperceptible, the head almost doesn’t move, it just have a tiny translation downward, also the upper lids and the eyebrows moves upward just a little bit08.png

So…the main head turn happens between frame 12 and frame 20!09.png

Between frame 14  and frame 16 we change the eye look direction, in this three frames (at frame 15 the eyes almost reached the position of frame 16)! 10.png

And after that… we add the moving hold at the end11.png

and some hair animation!Head_Turn_Slow_REFINED.gif

Tutorial #04 – How to Create a Bouncing Ball

-How to Create a Bouncing Ball-

Learn how to create the aimation of a Bouncing Ball just following this quick and easy tutorial, in the first part I also show how to create a simple rig for the ball! 😉

This tutorial is connected to the Lesson 05 where I explain the principles of TIMING and SPACING!

After the tutorial I suggest you do do the Exercise#1 “How to create a Bouncing Ball”Exercise_001

Bouncing Ball Tutorial RECAP

Let’s start with the Front view. We pose the ball in the air at frame 1 (approximatly 10 units on Y)Schermata 2017-03-17 a 13.10.06at frame 13 tha ball go back on the ground so we put at zero the Y translation in the channel box. Schermata 2017-03-17 a 13.10.17.pngLet’s take this line of the grid as reference for the ground. Schermata 2017-03-17 a 13.10.25.png-As I said in the Lesson 5,any bounce lose speed and force so the timing slow down at any bounce so do the high of the bounce-

So for the second bounce we slow down the timing and the ball will bounce in 10 frames instead of 12. So we go at frame 23 and we put the ball in the air again, but this time we reduce the height of the bounce! To be more precise, look at the value on Y of the first bounce. and reduce it a bit: the first bounce is height 10 units, so let’s put the second one 3 units less compared to the first one, so… at 7 units.Schermata 2017-03-17 a 13.10.48.png

Then we put the other key, where the ball go down again, with the same amount of frame it use to go up, “10 frames”, so we go at frame 33 and we put the value of Y at zero. Schermata 2017-03-17 a 13.11.01

We do the same for other 5/6 bounces. Always decreasing in height and timing.

This is a reference for the consecutive bounces:BOUNCING_BALL_guide

This is just an example:

1st bounce  12 frames – 10 height

2nd bounce 10 frames (+ 10 to go on the ground)  / 7 height

2nd bounce3rd bounce 8 frames (+ 8 to go on the ground) /  5 height

4th bounce 6 frames (+ 6 to go on the ground)  / 3 height

5th bounce 4 frames (+ 4 to go on the ground)  / 1 height

6th bounce 3 frames (+ 3 to go on the ground)  / 0.5 height

7th bounce 2 frames (+ 2 to go on the ground)  / 0.2 height

4th bounce 1 frames (+ 1 to go on the ground)  / 0.07 height

Now we have all the bounces in LINEARBouncing_ball_Linearso we need to open the graph editor and polish the curves!

In the graph editor we select the translation of the Y axis, and if you set the curves in AUTO TANGENTS or FLAT TANGENTS you can see that all the curves are smoothed, when the ball is in the air and also when it touches the ground.07.png

But we need to change this spacing, ’cause as I said in the Lesson 05, when the ball is in the air we have a SLOW SPACING (due to the combination of the gravity force/ the air resistance/ and the speed upward of the ball), but…when the ball is pushed to the ground and when it lift from the ground, we need to have a FAST SPACING08

So, the first thing to do is to select all the keys where the ball is contact with the ground (all the lower keys)09

and we switch the curves in Linear09

You can see now that during the contact the curves are straight so the movement is faster11

At this point we still need to adjust the curve before and after the contact, so we use the handles. But… if we select one handle and we try to move it, you can see that they move together12

So… we select again all the keys on the ground,and we click on the icon “BREAK TANGENTS”14

in this way we split the two handles and we can move them separately15

Now we can move them one at the time and we don’t have any influence on the other handle. So, let’s go to adjust the curve: we move them in order to have the part close to the contact much fast and slower the part in the air. The result we should have is this type of ARC16

Can you see the difference…just changing the Spacing?Bouncing_ball_Polished

Let’s now add the SQUASH and STRETCH!

As I already said also the Squash and Stretch decrease at any bounces, so in the first bounce we have a visible squash and stretch..in the last bounces the ball doesn’t deform it’s volume anymore.

We select the deformer, and we go to animate the Factor attribute on the right in the INPUTS17.png

let’s set a key at any bounce, in the lower and highest positions17b.png

At frame 13 we squash the ball decreasing the Factor value18.png

One frame before the contact, at frame 12, we stretch the ball, increasing the Factor value19.png

and we do the same one frame after the contact, frame 1420.png

Now we open the graph editor and we select the deformer factor21.png

We slow down the spacing of the stretch when the ball is in the air, so… the ball deforms when is close to the ground but quickly go back to its original shape when is in the air. We add two keys on the curve, one after the stretch and an other before the stretch: we click on the ADD KEY icon, we select the curve and with “central” click we add the keys22.png

we move them down, close to the original size, without the stretch23.png

And we do the same for 3/4 bounces, the deformation is each time smaller.

Bouncing_ball_Squash&Stretch

Ok, now we can add the forward movement.

We set a key at frame 1 and an other key at the end of the shot, at frame 9024.png

At frame 1 we move the ball on the left screen, just out of the frame25.png

and on frame 90 move it on the right screen26.png

Let’s go in the graph editor and we select the axis with the forward movement. The curve is Linear at the beginning, and Flat at the end27.png

we add an other key around frame 8028.png

move this key on a value more close to the last one

So now the movement start fast and slow down at the end!

Now we just need to adjust the rotation of the ball during the stretch, because if you look at the ball during the squash and stretch you can see that righ now, when the ball stretch, doesn’t follow the Arc path, is straight but should bend on right and left

We can adjust the rotation using the deformer.

We select the deformer and we set a key on the rotation of the deformer on any bounce, in the contacts and in the highest positions. For all the bounces where we have the squash and stretch!31.png

and then we just rotate a bit the deformers on the key before the contact and on the key after the contact

and…THAT’S IT!

Bouncing_ball_Forward_movement

Ref_Run Cycle

Run Cycle Tutorial recap and TIPS! 😉

here the Tutorial

Before start…take your time to plan the Run and chose the style.

  • Which type of run do you want to create?
  • Where’s he/she going?
  • Why?

Follow the design of the character: this can guide you to make your run more appealing and interesting!   Be creative!!! 🙂

Decide the Speed of your run, make some test during the blocking to find the best speed!
When you calculate the length of the shot consider that you have to sum the tow step, plus one frame at the end that is just a duplicate of the first one, so:

  1 step frames + Second step frames + 1 frame

Start the Blocking with the main poses:

run_021- Straight Leg (sx foot)
3- Down
5- Push
8- Up
12- Straight Leg (dx foot)

run_03.png1- Straight Leg (sx foot) the leading leg is straight forward but doesn’t touch the ground yet. The right leg is behind in the air.

run_04.png3- Down translate down the COG, the left leg is flat on the ground and starts to slide backward. The right leg start to pass forward.

run_05.png5- Push Translate Up the body, the left leg is behind, bend the foot that is close to leave the ground. The right leg is almost in front.

run_06.png8- Up Push a bit more Up the body. The left leg is behind in the air and the right leg is pretty high in the air, bended, in front of the character.

blkrun

Speed UP the Spacing between the Straight Leg pose and the Down pose, then Slow Down between the Push and the following Straight Leg pose, the result will be a sort of “pause” in the air, and the run will result more snappy and cartoon.

spacing_armdx1spacing_totalRefine the animation

  • Feet Refine:  in the Graph Editor adjust the curves and switch in Linear the part where the feet touch the ground and in Spline when they are in the air.

z_curves_foot.pngBend the feet and the Toes

footBendings.png

Keep attention to the arcs of the feet (use motion trail if necessary)!!!

spacing_body03pallinoarm_leg_curve

Here’s the final Curves of the foot on Z:

Here’s the final Curves of the UP and Down of the COG and the Chest Refine:

Tutorial #3 Run Cycle

–  Run Cycle – Tutorial –

Let’s see how to create a run cycle! 😉
Video tutorial created with the Rig: Steel by Long Winter Members Long Winter Member

here other animations I made with this Rig:

COMING SOON

Run Cycle Tutorial

I’m working on this new tutorial based on this RUN CYCLE made with:  Steel Rig

Ref_Female_Walk_02

Female Walk CURVES & Graph Editor

Here’s the main Curves for Feet / COG / Hip / Chest, showed in the Graph Editor,
based on the “Walk Cycle” I posted in the previous Tutorial ( Walk Cycle Tutorial)

  • Leg / Foot CURVESleg_ctrlfoot_ctrl
  • COG CURVES cog_ctrlcog_ctrl
  • Hip CURVES hip_ctrl

hip_ctrl

  • Chest CURVES

chest_ctrl

chest_ctrl

Ref_Female_Walk_01

Tutorial #2 Female Walk Cycle

– Female Walk Cycle – Workflow Tutorial –

In this Tutorial I show my personal workflow to create this Female Walk Cycle (in place)

Software: Maya
Rig: The Eleven Rig http://elevenrig.blogspot.de/

—————–

“Female Walk Cycle” – RECAP (INTERMEDIATE)

In general, before you start your cycle, you need to decide what type of walk you want to create, the style, the timing, the mood of the characters etc…

Make a research, shoot yourself, watch other walks, make some test. There’re infinite ways to walk and it’s important to chose the right one for your character!

In this tutorial I show you a very fluid and sinuous walk (I made this choice ’cause I wanted play with overlap) 😉

This are the KEY poses for this walk, focusing just on the HIP and LEGS (and below the hip positions in the in-betweens)

You can see the 2 CONTACT POSE with opposite foot leading (the foot forward), the DOWN position with the extreme DOWN pose of the hip, the PASSING and the UP with the extreme UP hip position.

Before start to pose the character, I usually hide the parts of the body I don’t want to see for the moment, I will start posing the legs and the hip, so I temporarily hide all the other faces

To do that, just create a new material (a lambert) and make it transparent, then select the mesh and the faces you want to hide and assign them this transparent material

After that, I also assign 2 different colors to legs and arms to better visualize left and right

-CONTACT-

We start from the CONTACT POSE. Use a SIDE VIEW and move a bit downward the body, then select the leading foot (in this case is the right one) and move it forward (the leg is straight, not bended) and rotate the foot upward so that just the heel touches the ground.

Move back the left foot and with the foot rool pose it so that the heel starts to leave the ground

In the FRONT VIEW move on X the feet so that they are almost aligned in the center of the body, one in front of the other

Then we copy the same pose at the end of our cycle (frame 31) and in the middle (frame 16) we add an other key, but this time we mirror the pose of the feet (now the left foot is the leading one)

To mirror the pose: go on frame 1, select the right foot ctrl and right-click on the timeline and select COPY, then select the left foot ctrl and move on frame 16 and right-click…PASTE. Then go in the channel box and change the + with the – (or viceversa) for the axis that are opposite for the other foot (translation X, rotation y and Z)

Again, go on frame 1, select the left foot ctrl, COPY, select the right foot ctrl and go on frame 16, PASTE, and mirror values. Do the same for the knee ctrl!

-DOWN-

Now select all the ctrls and in the graph editor be sure to have the tangents in SPLINE (or Auto), then select just the feet ctrls and switch to LINEAR the part where the feet slide on the ground

At frame 3 set at 0 all the rotations of the right foot (now it touches completely the ground), move downward the body (here it reaches his lowest position)

On the left foot increase the values of the foot rool so that now it’s alsmost detached from the ground, it touches it just with the toes

Both the legs now are bended!

-PASSING-

At frame 8 we create the passing pose, the moment when both the legs are aligned in the middle of the center of gravity, the left foot is moving forward and the right foot…backward

The body started to go UP again, the right foot is still complately flattened on the ground and the left foot is in the air (rotated downward and translated and rotated a bit externally)

Keep attention to balance the body in this pose. The right foot must be perfectly on the center of gravity (’cause all the weigth is on this foot now)

-UP-

On frame 12, move the body upward (this will be his highest position), the left foot is almost forward, pointing upward and the leg is a bit bended

The right foot is flattened on the ground but the heel started to detach from the ground a bit

Let’s copy and mirror the DOWN (frame 3), PASSING (frame 8) and UP (frame 12) poses on the other half of the cycle: mirrored DOWN (frame 18), mirrored PASSING (frame 23), mirrored UP (frame 27)

Switch ALL the curves in STEPPED and make a playblast!

-HIP BLOCKING-

Now we can add the HIP movement! Funny part 😉

Schermata 2017-07-18 a 10.48.57.png

In the contact pose (frame 1), the weight of the character is on both the feet, but we translate a bit the hip on the left, and  rotate it towards the left foot on Y and a bit on the left on Z so that we will have a big change of rotation of the hip between down and passing pose!

Then we skip for a moment the down pose, and we move directly on frame 8 (passing pose) and here we have a completed change of the weight on the righ foot, so we translate the hip on the right and we rotate it on Y and Z towards the right foot (this is the extreme hip pose on the right side)

Now add a key on the down pose where you just have to slow down the spacing between contact and down, so rotate the hip a bit on the left so that is more similar to the position at frame 1! In this way we have a slow spacing between contact and down, and a speed spacing between down and passing!hipROT

 

Do the same for the other stride. Move on frame 23 and create the extreme hip pose on the left side (copy the pose of frame 1 and increase the translation on the left and both the rotation of Y and Z)

Now you have an interpolation between frame 8 and frame 23 where the hip moves from right to left, add a key on frame 12 and move it to frame 16 (in order to slow down the spacing between the passing and the contact position and speed it up between contact and passing of the following step – between frame 16 and 23)

Now add a key again on frame 12 (just keep the interpolation)

On frame 31 just copy the pose of frame 1 and then add a key on frame 27

That’s it! So…the big change of position for the hip happens very fast (3 frames) between the contact – passing pose (this makes a more “sashay” effect)

When you are happy with the result…go forward with the REFINE! 😉

For this walk I just animate in Blocking the legs , the body and the hip, ’cause are the more complicated parts in a walk, and I will animate chest, head and arms directly in spline!Schermata 2017-07-18 a 10.49.49.png

 

Switch the curves in STEPPED and create a playblast! 😉


-REFINE-

Start refining what you animated so far, legs and body. In the graph editor switch again all the tangents in SPLINE (or AUTO) except for the translation Z of the feet in the part where they slide on the ground, that must be LINEAR

After that, cycle ALL the CURVES (pre and post infinity) and adjust the transition at the start and the end, using flat tangents (when you have just two extremes keys) or using the handles. REMEMBER to adjust the tangents of the first and last keys together at the same time (they must be the same)

If you want you can check my tutorial on the use of the Graph Editor and “Create a Cycle Animation”  –  minute 4.32 (also explained here )

-BODY (COG) REFINE-

Select the body (COG) ctrl

cog_ctrl

and add a small movement left and right: on frame 1 move it a bit on the right (copy the same value on frame 31) and on frame 16 move it a bit on the left. In the graph editor select the X axis and make the first and last keys FLAT

Then, keep open the graph editor and select the traslation Y and polish the curves

The result should be like this:

-LEGS/FEET REFINE-

foot_ctrl

At this point I just animate 1 leg and then I copy/past the animation on the other one (but if you prefer you can animate both the legs separately to have less symmetry in the walk). During the blocking is important to have both the legs animated to check timing and poses but now…you can hide one leg and animate just the other one! 😉

On frame 2 adjust the right foot and make it flat (set at 0 all the rotations) and animate the toes cntrl that must point upward (it doesn’t touch the ground yet)frame2.pngNow animate the TOES (offsetted from the foot movement) for the entire range of animation (ex. when the foot moves upward the toes point downward and viceversa)

If you have it, use DEFORMERS ctrls to adjust arcs and legs shapes! They will help to smooth your animation 😉

Now clean the path of your foot movement (you can see my tutorial on “How to REFINE a shot” minute 5.40 where I also explain the use of motion trails to adjust the arc!)

You have to create a nice, rounded and smooth arc for your feet! 😉

Also, you can use the knee deformer to avoid POP result during contact and down pose!

The KNEE should have a smoothed movement just like the feet but sometimes you could have a bad effects due to the movement of foot and body, in this case a knee deformer can helps you (animate it frame by frame during the contact and down positions)

Now you can polish the curves of the foot:

When you are happy with the result, copy/paste the animation on the other foot!

Remember to past the animation of ALL the controls you used for the first foot (foot, toes, knee, deformers etc…)

To copy the animation: select one control at the time, example: select right foot ctrl, in the timeline select the entire range of animation, right-click COPY –> select the same ctrl on the left foot, point on frame 1 and right-click PASTE

Do the same for ALL the controls and after that you should have the feet with the same animation at the same time (they should move together)

Select ALL the controls used for the left leg and, in the Graph editor, select all the curves and drag them forward in the timeline (the first keys should be at frame 16, exactly in the middle of the cycle)

Check you animation, does it works? Ok, now go back in the graph editor, with the same ctrls selected of the left foot, and add a key at frame 31, select all the keys after this one (31 included) and drag them backword up to frame 1, now copy the keys at frame 1 to frame 31! That’s it!

You can watch my tutorial “Run Cycle” minute 10.56 where I show how to copy/paste animation from a foot to an other! 😉Schermata 2017-07-19 a 17.47.10.png

Now polish the curves of the HIP ctrl and… you should have something like this 😉

-CHEST REFINE-

Chest controls (in my case I have 3 ctrls)

Schermata 2017-07-18 a 10.52.42.png

I use the upper ctrl to add a squash and stretch (I can use the other 2 just for rotation)

Use the rotation Y to add a visible Up and Down, the chest should squash with a bit of delay from the Up and Down of the body: with the Low extreme position between the Down Pose and the Passing Pose (around frame 5 or 6) and the Highest extreme position between the Up pose and the Contact pose (around frame 14/15)

To do that: add a key at frame 1/16/31, then on frame 8 translate a bit downward the chest, and on frame 14 a bit upward. Then copy the pose at frame 8 on frame 23, and copy the pose of frame 14 on frame 29. Now select the handles of the first and last key and smooth the transition


Now we add a bit of Rotation on Y

select all the 3 chest ctrls together and on frame 1 (with the right leg leading) rotate the chest on the left (copy this pose on frame 31), on frame 16  (with the left leg leading) rotate the chest on the right

Offset 2 of this controls, select the one in the middle, select all the keys and move them forwards in the timeline by 8 frames (so now the first keys is on frame 8), then add a key on frame 31, copy this key on frame 1 and delate the key on frame 38. Now select the handles of the first and last keys to smooth the transition

Then select the upper control and move all the keys forwards (so that the first keys is on frame 16) then copy the key on frame 31 and paste it on frame 1 and delate the keys on frame 46!

So now the upper part of the chest is rotated opposite to the leading leg!


Now use the same process to rotate the chest on X, a small rotation back and forth. You can use just the upper ctrl of the chest: add a key on the rot X on frame 1/16/31, then on frame 8 rotate a bit the upper chest forwards, and on frame 14 a bit backwards, then copy the keys on frame 8 and past it on the other stride (frame 23) and the copy/paste the key of frame 14 on the frame 29. In the graph editor select the handles of the first and last keys and adjust them to smooth the curve, the adjust also the handle of the frame 16

Chest_ctrl


-ARMS REFINE-

Just as for the legs, you can animate one arm and then copy/past and mirror the animation on tje other one (or, especially for the arms, you can animate both of them separately, I always suggest to add a bit of variations in the arms movement! 😉

The arm are in FK, and you have 3 controls: arm, forearm, wrist + the shoulder ctrl

Before animate the arm, pose the fingers in a natural and relaxed pose (avoid rigid pose, ore fingers too separated between each other, or “paddle hand” effect)Schermata 2017-07-18 a 10.58.05.png

First of all we set the 2 main key poses in the contact pose (frame 1/16/31).

The arms always move in the opposite direction of the foot on the same side

On frame 1 we have the right foot forward, so we move back the arm (the 3 controls) and also the shoulder (for the shoulder you can also use a bit of translation back and forth)

Choose a natural and armonic pose of the arm, use deformers to adjust it or make it a bit more rounded and “soft”

When you have done with the first pose, copy all the 3 ctrls + the shoulder (and the deformers if you used them) on frame 31

On frame 16 create the opposite pose, with the arm rotated forward (and the shoulder also translated a bit forward)

Now create the passing pose (around frame 8) and, it depends on the pose you choosed for you arm, in my case I keep the arm straight during the passing pose and I break the joint a bit (rotating the forearm and the wrist backward and using the deformers)arm1

Now select the forearm and offsett it by 1/2 frames from the arm

Then polish the curve in the graph editor and do what you have done for the chest to keep the animation in the range of 31 frames

Select the wrist and now offset it by 1/2 frames from the forearm this time (add some in-betweens to overlap)

Then polish the curve in the graph editor and again, keep the animation in the range of 31 frames

When you have done, copy/paste mirror on the other arm or, as I said before, animate it separately!

Arm1.gif


-HEAD REFINE-

Let’s move to the head! First of all, add a nice and relaxed expression to the character, keep attention to the eyes look direction, we need the feeling that the character is looking at something to keep it aliveSchermata 2017-07-18 a 12.43.59.png

For the head we just go to add a small X rotation back and forth, following the back and forth movement of the chest: frame 5/6 extreme forward rotation, frame 13/14 extreme backward rotation

I also add a bit of animation to the hair, this rig doesn’t has hair ctrls, so I directly animated the mesh so…is something you can do just for your animation test but NOT IN PRODUCTION 😀Schermata 2017-07-18 a 10.59.49.png


-BREAST REFINE-

In this particular animation (due to the character design) is interesting to add a nice and exaggerated animation of the brest (just to have more overlap!)

We can translate and rotate them in order to create a circular movement + an Up and Down (use motion trail if needed) and animated them offsetted by 1/2 frames! 😉


THA’S IT! 🙂

So, don’t be shy and send me your walk cycle adding a link to your video in the page “YOUR ANIMATIONS”  to receive my feedback! 😉

COMING SOON

WALK CYCLE  – VIDEO TUTORIAL

Soon I will post the video tutorial based on this female walk cycle I did some times ago (2 days of work) and I will show you my job step by step! 😉

for the cycle I used the Eleven RIg

walk3

REMINDER_02

important1-copy2

Hotkeys & Shortcuts_01

basicshortcuts

REF_Maya Interface_03

SELECTION MASK ICONS PANEL

sele

Reminder_01

important1-copy

I like to present: ELEVEN RIG

I suggest you to download this FREE Rig, the Eleven Rig, ’cause I found it pretty easy to animate (I would just improve the facial controls and blendshapes) and have some nice possibility to customize it. The rig is well done and allow you to create both realistic and extremely cartoon/squashy animation! 🙂eleven3

Eleven Rig – Official Blog

You can chose the gender:eleven1you can customize the head (scale, hair/eyebrow style, add beard or mustache and change the eyes color)eleven2and from the Root control, you can customize the body proportion! 😉eleven3you also have some nice helpfull extra controls like the SQUASH and STRETCH for the head and some cool deformers for arms and legs! Have fun! 🙂eleven4

REF_Maya Interface_02

DISPLAY SETTINGS

you can change the display mode of your objects in the scene pressing 1,2,3,4,5,6, or 7 on your keyboard. (You can also change it from the menu Shading)display2

REF_Maya Interface_01

How to Move in the VIEW SCENE

here the keyboard shortcuts to translate, rotate and zoom in your scene:02sceneviewcommand