Can you send me that rig pleaseee?!? :)


Ye…this is the most popular question…?.png

After any video… people usually ask me where to download the Alya Rig or my Ink Rig, so… let me update (again^^) about these rigs 😉


-ALYA-

by Eyad Hussein

Alya.png

I totally understand that you ask me for this rigs ’cause she’s really appealing and I love her! But the cretor of this rig, my friend Eyad Hussein is still working on that, he’s working in Sony Pictures Imageworks and I know he’s pretty busy so… I recommend you to sign to the pre-registration form (if you haven’t done it yet) and be patient ^^

The one I’m using is a wip version that he shared with me to test it, also…I customize it a bit in some of my videos (like the pink hair one) and that version is not in the rig, but she’ll be customizable with different hair styles and accessorize 😉


-INK-

INK.png

Ink is my personal rig and it’s not available for download, sorry 😉 He’s my little, simple rig I really wanted for this channel, no details, no face, monochromatic texture… only the essensial shapes to show you the principle of animation!


So… after this “bad” news, what can I suggest you? There’s a lot of nice free or not free rigs you can download on the web, most of them are what I was using before this ones so..to learn animation is not really important the type of rig you’re using but… let’s hope other great riggers like Eyad will provide us new rigs soon that we can use for our AWESOME ANIMATIONS! 🙂 🙂

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Update!


Hi!!!! Sorry for this “break”, I’ve been super busy with the relocation (It took longer than expected :P) but now I’m back 🙂

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Tutorial 11 – Maya Constraint RECAP


-Maya Constraint RECAP –

This is a more technical topic so I think is important to make a written RECAP of my last Turorial about the Maya Constraint:

Here the VIDEO tutorial

indexw

-RECAP-

I want to show you how to create a parent constraint and how to plan the method to use based on the type of action you have

There’s a lot of different ways to constrain an object to an other and I’ll show you some of the more common situations using the maya constraintSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.21.09.png

It’s basically a relationship between two ore more objects, one is the TARGET Object, the one that leads the movement or the position, and the other is the CONSTRAINED object, that is influenced by the target, so it doesn’t moves independently but it’s driven by the target objectSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.21.23.png


Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.21.31.png

The type of constraint depends on the axes you need to constrain to the lead object: translation, rotation or scaleSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.21.38.png

In Maya, if you go in the Animation Tab

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.21.46.png

and then on CONSTRAIN

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.21.51.png

you find some different types of constraints: POINT – AIM – ORIENT – SCALE – PARENT

the more used are POINT / ORIENT and PARENT

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.21.55.png

As I said before the difference between this constraints are the axes involved:Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.22.04.png

So if you constrain an object with the POINT constraint you will constrain the translation axis that will follow the lead object but you can rotate it independently

Vice versa: if you use the ORIENT constraint you can translate it but the rotation is constrained to the lead object

And when you use the PARENT constraint both the axis (translation and rotation) are constrained and follow the lead object movements


-CONSTRAINT OPTION PANEL-

When you open the constraint Option Panel you have the first box “Maintain Offset” that means that if you turn it ON: the object will be constrained maintaining his starting position, if you turn it OFF: when you will apply the constraint, the object will jumps on the target object pivotSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.22.22.png

In most of the cases you will need to turn it ON, so…always check this option before apply the constraint!


Another thing you can check are the Constraint Axes: here you can choose which axis you want to constrainSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.22.45

In the example we have the translation and rotation axes cause it’s a parent constraint

By default you have ALL the axes turned ON but you can turn off the ones you don’t need!


When you apply the constraint you will see that the axes constrained turned blue in the channel box, this means that you can’t animate this valuesSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.23.00.png


Let’s now see the different situations where you’ll need to constraint some objects

This are the different situations we will go to analyze: Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.23.08.png

This are some common situations and it’s important that, before you go to start the animation and create the constraints, you have to plan the shot!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.23.22.png

Do it in your mind or with some sketches, because is important to decide how to do the constraint and you need to anticipate all the actions you will do with the constrained object!


Let’s start with the first situationSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.23.24.png

 


-Hands on Hip-

In this simple animation the character keeps his hands on his hip, so we need to constrain the hands to the hip in order to follow the hip movements, so… the hip will be the leading object that will drive the hands

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.23.28.png

In some rigs you could have the possibility to choose if the hands must follow the hip or other parts of the body (the Main control, the COG, the Head…) without manually create a constraint! Usually if this option is available, you can find it selecting the wrist control!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.23.31.pngBut in case you have a very basic rig, without this option, let’s see how to manage it!

IMPORTANT: when we constrain the hands, this must be in IK mode, so switch both the hands in IK!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.23.55

So we pose the hands on the hip, then…

REMEMBER THAT: to apply the constraint you always have to select the target control first, the one that will leads the movement and then the control or object you want to constrain!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.24.07.png

So in this case: select the hip control, then -> shift -> and select the control of one of the hand, go in the Animation tab -> CONSTRAIN and choose PARENT

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.25.07.png

we choose parent ’cause we want that the hands follow the hip in both translation and rotation axes!

Open the Option Panel, be sure to have the MAINTAIN OFFSET turned ON and apply it!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.25.15.png

So the translation and rotation axes turned blue in the channel box and now this hand is constrained to the hip, let’s do the same on the other one!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.25.42.png

At one point he detaches the hands from the hip so we need to turn OFF the constraints in order to animate the hands!

To do that we simply select the hands controls, one at the time and we set a key

 

When you do this in the channel box you can see that the constrained axes turned green and you have a new attribute, the BLEND PARENT Attribute that you can animate! (scroll down in the channel box to see it)

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.25.48.png

So on the last key frame where you still need the constraint, set this attribute at 1 and add a keySchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.25.59.png

in the following frame where you want to turn OFF the constraint set it at 0 and add another key, so from this point you can animate the hands!
Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.25.53 copia.png

036.png


-Hand on another character’s shoulder-

An other similar example is a character that puts his hand on the shoulder of another characterSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.26.20.png

In this case you do the same, you constrain the hand on the shoulder control, so select the shoulder ctrl first, then the wrist ctrl and apply a Parent constraint (Maintaining the Offset)!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.26.28.png

Then you animate the blend parent before he touches him, turning the constraint OFF and when he touches the shoulder you set it at 1 turn it ON!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.26.42.png

In this way, if you animate the other character, the hand follows the second character movements


-Two Characters holding their hands-Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.26.47.png

First pose the two hands, then choose the leading hand (this hand can be in IK or FK) and constrain the other hand to this one (the constrained hand must be in IK) and choose a Parent constraint!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.26.52.png


An other situation…Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.26.59.png

Let’s say your character need to grab an object, like this ball, he takes it with an hand (in this case you can us IK or FK) and then he throws it!

So the ball will be driven by the character but at one point it will moves independently

In this simple case, you could just constrain the ball geometry, it’s not necessary to have a locator or a rig for the ball, ’cause the animation is pretty easy. But if you have to do more complex actions with the ball I suggest you to use a locator or a rigged ball so that you could also have a squash and stretch!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.27.26.png

So in this example I just constrain the geometry to the hand, as I show in the previous example, I pose the ball in the starting pose, then I pose the hand at the point where it grabs the ballSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.27.43.png

Select the hand control -> shift -> and select the ball geometry and choose Parent constraint (Maintaining the Offeset)

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.27.51.png

To switch On and Off the constraint, select the ball geo (or the group, locator or control you constrained) and add a key, set at 1 the blend parent attribute on the frame where the hand touches the ballSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.27.54.png

in the previous frame set it at 0, so the ball stays in the starting position!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.28.01.png

When you need to detached the ball from the hand, go on the last frame where the ball must be constrained to the hand and set at 1 the blend parent, in the following frame set it at 0 and animate the ball!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.28.17.png

SECOND OPTION: To have more control and have the possibility to add a secondary movements on the ball, you can create a group for the ball so that you can constrain the group to the hand and animate the ball geometry indipendently!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.28.29

So we do just as in the previous example but we don’t go to constrain the geometry, but we constrain the group

Open the OUTLINER, select the ball geometry and press G, so you go to create a group and you go to constrain this group to the hand, so select the hand ctrl then the group of the ball and apply a Parent constraint mantaining the offset!

So now the ball follows the hand but you can select the ball geometry (that has no constraint and is free to move) to add further movements! When you want to turn ON and OFF the constraint just do as we have seen so far!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.28.36.png


Let’s change the type of prop, let’s say he grabs a bottle

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.28.53.png

If you create a group from the bottle geometry and you go to constrain the group to the hand, you can still select the bottle geometry to add some overlap!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.28.59.png

In this case I also need to move the pivot of the bottle geometry, that now is in the center and I wanted to move it on the top, where the hand grabs it! So to edit the pivot position just select the mesh and pressing D you move it where you want!

Now the bottle is driven by the hand (cause the bottle group is constrained) but we can animate the geometry to add an overlap!

If you have a rig on your prop, you can do the same: create a group that you will constrain to the hand and then you animate the prop control for the overlap!

 


Third situationSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.29.54.png

There’s some situation where you will need to constrain the character to an object


-Character on a Swing-Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.30.18.png

For example: a character on a swing, obviously this is not a common thing you’ll have to animate, but it’s just to give you an example of situation where your character is driven by something!

You pose your character on the seat, both the arms are in IK, the legs must be in FK, and you constrain the COG of the character to the seat, so that when you move the swing the body follows the movements, except for the hands that are in IK!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.30.58.png

So now we need to constrain the hands to the swing’s ropes, to do that we need to create 2 locators!

So we go to CREATE -> LOCATOR

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.31.16.pngSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.31.20.png

We turn ON the locator visibility from the SHOW panelSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.31.24.png

We move the locator on the first rope, where we have one of the hands and then with ctrl D we duplicate this locator and we move the second one on the other side

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.31.28.pngSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.31.32.png

Then, select one rope -> shift -> the first locator and create a Parent constraint, and do the same for the other locator!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.31.40.png

Or, another way is to just PARENT the locators to the ropes, so we don’t create a constraint but we create a permant relashionship parent/child between the rope (parent) and the locator (child), to do that: select the locator -> shift -> the rope and press P, and do the same with the other locator and rope!


Let’s quickly see the…

-Difference between PARENT CONSTRAINT and PARENT-

  • The PARENT CONSTRAINT is (what we have seen so far) an animatable relationship between 2 (or more) objects that you can control and animate. It can be turn OFF and ON depending on your needs and can be apply on some axes that you can choose between: translation rotation or scale! To create a constraint we select the leading object, then the constrained object, and we apply a Constraint (choosing between POINT, ORIENT or PARENT)

 

  • PARENT is a permanent relationship between a parent and a child that doesn’t changes! The child is subordinate to the parent, no matter what! You can still animate the child independently, but any time you translate, scale or rotate the parent…the child will follows. To parent an object to another, we select the child object first, then the parent object and we press P, in the outliner you’ll see that now you have a hierarchy where the first object selected is child of the second object

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.31.59.png

In this case the result is the same, so you can choose one of this two options and in both the cases the locators will follow the ropes movements! The only difference would be if you need to change position of the hands on the rope during the animation, in this case is better to choose to just PARENT the locators to the rope, so that you can use the locators (the are not constrained) to animate the hands!

So now the 2 locators follow the swing movements, but we still need to constrained the hands, so we select one locator then the hand control and create a parent constraint and do the same for the other hand!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.32.09.png


Or, if the character is trying to lift an heavy object without success… so the object will stays on the ground…Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.32.23.png

would be easier for you to constraint the hands on the object

So we create 2 locators, that we keep in on the origin, so we don’t move them, then selecting the 2 locators we create a group pressing G

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.32.37.png

and we constrain this group to the object, so we select the object and then the locators group and we create a PARENT constraint, so now the locators group is constrained to the object

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.32.41.png

Now we need to position the locators where we have the hands, to quickly do that we create a temporary constraint!

We go on the frame where the hands touch the object, we select the hand control then one of the locatorSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.33.17.png

and we create a parent constraint but this time we UNCHECK the MAINTAIN OFFSET, so the locator jumps on the wrist pivot (this is a very quick way to position an object on the pivot of another object) Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.33.29.png

and now we can delete this constraint from the locator, in the channel box we select the constrained axes and -> right-click -> BREAK CONNECTIONSSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.33.42.png

Then we constrain the hand control to the locator, so select the locator and then the wrist control and create another parent constraint!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.34.10.png

From this point you can forget the hand control and use the locator to animate the hand! Do the same for the other locator to pose it on the wrist pivot and then constrain the hand to the locator

In this way when you animate the object, that leads the movement, the hands follow but you can also add some further movements for the hands by using the locators that are free to move ’cause we just constrained the group of the locators!


Fourth situation…Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.34.38.png

This is also something very common and I’m going to show you 2 different options for this

The first and faster way is to pose both the hands on the object, constrain the object to one of the hand (the hand you chose as the leading hand, the one that controls the movement) and constrain the other hand to the object, so when you’ll move the leading hand, both the object and the other hand will follow

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.35.18.png

REMEMBER THAT: the leading hand can be in IK or FK, but the constrained hand must be in IK!


But if you want something more complex, for example if you want to change the positions of the hand while grabbing the object you have to do something similar to what we have done in the example of the heavy object

Creating 2 locators, PARENT the object to one of this locator, so we select the object and the first locator and we press P, and PARENT the second locator to the objectSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.35.45.png

Selecting the parent locator we move the object in position, and then we constrain the parent locator to the leading hand control, (the leading hand can be in FK or IK, but the other hand, that we will be constrained to the object must be in IK)

So we select the leading hand control then the parent locator and we create a parent constrain maintaining the offsetSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.36.32.png

Now we need to position the second locator on the other hand pivot, so we select the  hand control -> then the second locator and we create a parent (or point) constrain (DESELECTING the maintain offset), so the locator moves on the wrist pivot, and now we delate this constraint!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.36.40.png

Then we select again the locator -> then the left hand control and we do parent constraint again!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.36.54.png

So now you can use the right arm to lead the movement, the object and the left arm follow, but using the left locator you can add further movements for the left hand and change position during the animation!


The last situation…Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.37.09.png

In this case, when you plan to grab the same object with both the hands in different times, it means that the object must be constrained to one hand first and then on the other hand in a second time!

To do that: first let’s set up 2 locators on the object

So we create 2 locators that we rename left and right handSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.37.34.png

then we need to PARENT the locators and the object . At this point we should plan which hand holds the object first and based on that we create this parent hierarchy:

  1. select the locator of the second hand that will holds the object -> then select the locator of the first hand and press P (so now the left hand locator, that is the second hand that holds the object, is child of the locator of the right hand)
  2. now select the object and the left hand locator and press P (now the object is child of the left hand locator)

So if we move the right hand locator we move everything but if we select the left hand locator we move just he object while the right hand locator stays in position

054c.png

Now, selecting the parent locator, the right hand locator, we position the object in the right hand (that holds the object first), and then we constraint the parent locator to the right hand control, so we select the hand control -> shift -> the locator and we create a PARENT constrain Maintaining the offset!

Now we can move the arm and the object follows!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.38.23.png

When we want to switch the hands, we move on the frame where the object is grabbed by the left hand and we select the left hand control -> shift -> the left hand locator and we create the PARENT constraint Maintaining the offset

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.39.16.png

then we add a key and we set at 1 the blend parent on this frame but we set it at 0 on the previous frame

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.39.25.png


Sometimes can happen, for different reasons, that you don’t see the Blend Parent attribute in the channel boxSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.39.35.png

if this happens you can just select the Constraint Node from the Outliner, select the object and in the outliner press F to find the constraint node (the one with the red exclamation mask) Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.39.44.png

and animate the Weight Value, set it at 1 or 0 to manage the influence of the constraint on the locator!Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.39.49.png

So now you can pass the object from an hand to another just turning on and off the constrain on the left hand locator!


A similar situation is when the character passes an object, like an hat, from an hand to another and then he puts it on the headSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.40.03.png

In this case the process is the same but we need to add a third locator, that is the one that will be constrained to the head in the final part

So we start setting the locators on the hat, we create 3 locators, that we rename as the body parts they will be constrained to

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.40.18.png

and we go to PARENT this locators and the hat with this hierarchy:

  1. we select the right hand locator then the left hand locator and press P
  2. select the head locator and the right hand locator and press P
  3. and last, select the hat geometry then the head locator and press P

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.40.34

So now selecting the parent locator, we position the hat in the left hand and we create a parent constraint (Maintaining the offset) with the hand control

Then we do as in the previous example, we animate the constraint blend parent On and OFF when we switch the hands and we constrain the right hand to the other locatorand the same when the hat is on the head, so that in the final part the hat is constrained to the head and follow the head movements!


This were just some examples of how to manage constraints on maya, there are a lot of different way to do them, it’s really depends on what you need in your scene and it also change depending on the type of rig you have

There are also scripts and tools to automatically create constraints, especially in production, but if you are beginners this should be enough to start to manage props in you animations

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.41.05.pngSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.41.17.png


Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.41.26.png

When you want to delate a constraint you can select the constrained control (or group or mesh) and in the channel box select all the attribute constrained and right-click BREAK CONNECTIONS

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.41.39.png

Or… select the object constrained, press F in the outliner to find the constraint node and… delate it!

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.39.44


-BAKE CURVES-

Or, if you want to take off the constraint but you want to keep the animation… you can BAKE the curve

selecting the object constrained and, in the graph editor, click in CURVES – BAKE CHANNEL

Schermata 2018-01-25 a 00.41.57.png

so it will converts the the entire animation in keyframesSchermata 2018-01-25 a 00.42.00.png

and now you can delate the constrain, as I showed before, without losing the animation!


In the last lesson I explained the principle of Secondary Actions and props are a good way to add this actionsLesson010_Secondary_Action2.png

So now you know how to manage the constraints and you can create an animation with a secondary action following this exercise to put in practice this principle! 🙂

Tutorial 11 – Maya Constraint


– Maya Constraint –

Let’s see how to use the Maya Constraints analyzing different situations 😉

Schermata 2018-01-23 a 19.10.57.png

 

NEW: English SUBTITLES!


English subtitles available!

From now on you’ll have the possibility to turn on the subtitles on my next videos and I’m working to add subtitles also on all my previous lessons and tutorials! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFH3EZs1BE4&t=4s

subtitles.png

Tutorial 10 – Breakdown of a Dragon Animation “RECAP”


Here a detailed RECAP of my last Tutorial “Breakdown of a Dragon Animation”

here the Tutorial

indexw

-RECAP-

In this tutorial I’ll show the breakdowns for this animation I made recently

final.gif

 

I will explain STEP BY STEP my process starting from CONCEPT to the FINAL RESULT

In my last lesson I explained the principle of  FOLLOW-THROUGH AND OVERLAP (here the Lesson #09) and I also made a little tutorial “Animate a tail” and a simple exercise for beginners!

Now I want to show you something more advanced: in this shot I have two characters that have parts that perfectly show this principles!

 

We have the tailed head/ball (that I used for the previous tutorial), this character has a very simple and basic animation and then I have this awesome and much more elaborated and advanced rig made by Josh Sobel, called ARC, that has a more complex animation. Arc is a customizable Dragon, with huge wings and big tail that is really perfect to show you the concept of overlap, drag and follow-trough applied to a more complex animation


 -ANIMATIC-

So, for this shot, I started from a SKETCHED ANIMATIC – the 2D animatic is very important to study the rhythm, the story and how to represent the personality of the characters!

sketches.gif
TIP: I’m not a good drawer so for the dragon I first studied the rig and tested some poses that I used as reference for the sketches. It’s a sort of blocking but with very few rough poses that you can exaggerate in 2D and have a better idea of what you need

 


-STORY-

The story of this shot is basically a “Dangerous-playtime” between this little bouncing creature and a young dragon that play with fire!

I imagined that they are actually friends, so…the dragon doesn’t wants to hurt him is just that he’s too ingenious and he has no control of his dangerousness!

 

For the dragon’s attitude I got inspired by my lovely/crazy dog. I had in mind my playtimes with her, that usually gets so excited when we play that she literally loses her control and the play-time becomes actually a “fight”!

 

So, with my little crazy dog in mind, I decided to animate the dragon with a doggy attitude in the first part, when he enters in the shot and when he smells the ground trying to sniff out his friend. And in the final part, when he jumps in the air with his wings and when he goes out of frame, I switch to a more classic dragon attitude

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.33.47.png


-Set the Scene-

So starting from this animatic, I set the scene on maya

For the background I just have a plane and some rocks, something very very simple

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.34.03.png

As usual I use a surface shader so I don’t have to worry about lighting and I have the 2d effects that I personally love.

I set the camera, with the same frame of the animatic

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.34.14

I add a plane in the background where I import the animatic video so that I can use it as reference during the blocking, in this way I can see the timing and the main poses

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.34.26.png


-Tailed Head/Ball BLOCKING-

So now… I import the tailed ball character and I create the blocking

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.34.31.png

I start to pose the “body/head” so I go to hide the tail

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.34.46

I go to animate the creature like a classic bouncing ball but very cartoony, I follow the animatic key poses so we have the bounces at the beginning, I squash it and stretch it and I check the contact with the plane, this pass is very fast cause I have the animatic as reference

 

So, he’s running away from something, he also looks on his back in few frames just to see what’s going on behind him, to check where is his friend and in time to see the flame coming towards him (I add a place holder fire effects just to have an idea of the timing)

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.35.05.png
When he bounces behind the rock he trys to hide himself super frightenedtrying to be as smaller as possible, using his tail as protection

The tail is not very big, I don’t have a lot of control of the shape so what I can do is just to give the idea that the tail covers the body

I also add a very fast shake any 2 frames ’cause he’s trembling

 

 

He hears the dragon coming closer so he has a reaction turning in the opposite direction

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.35.40.png

and…when the dragon jumps on the rock he has a bigger reaction jumping hight in the air (I imagine him screaming here so I add a little shake), and the he just runs away faster then light

 

In a second time I add the tail poses. I follow a path, just like I showed in the previous tutorial, I draw a line on my paper so that I can better follow the arc and I just do this for the length of the shot

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.35.16.png
So this is the ball blocking, I mixed the principle of the bouncing ball but I also added some cartoon movements, it bounces with physic but it’s a character, so it has life and we can break some physic principles or exaggerate them to make it more appealing

 


-Dragon BLOCKING-

Let’s add the dragon

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.36.34

As I said before, this rig has some customizable options, we can change the face design and the texture colour

 

I choose the young version for the head and the black textures

(If you want to know more about this rig I also created a post on the blog or you can just visit the official page

I start to create the main poses, this part it takes most of the time, the character is quite complex, it has a lot of controls and parts to pose, so I take my time….

I use some reference from dogs and dragons

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.37.37.png

I try to make him cute enough: at the beginning he has a very innocent expression

 


He just stands there for a moment, very calm and apparently harmless, his raised leg helps us to catch that he’s looking for something, trying to be quite

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.38.00.png

I continue to block the shot using the animatic as reference for the timing and this is the first pass of blocking for the dragon

First_Blocking_Dragon.gif

There are not too much poses: there’s the first part “the entrance”, we see the forefoot coming in first and I keep this pose with a moving hold

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.39.40

Then we have the reaction, he knows his friend is near there so… before moving forward he makes an anticipation with a jump in the air

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.39.52

First I create the key pose with eyes closed, squashed head, both the legs flat on the ground and the opened wings that he will use as push for the jump within the legs

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.39.57.png

When he moves upward we have the overlap of the wings, we don’t see them cause they are out of screen, but we can imagine that they are pointing downward as reaction to the drag movement of the leading part, the body, same for head and arms that are dragged so they point downward

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.40.09

He makes this arc jumping high and straight first

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.41.32.png

and then he lands forward creating this arc with the body, the tail and the wings

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.41.41.png

Then we have some steps while he’s sniffing the ground

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.41.49.png

I create this curve with the body, the typical exaggerated classic dog sniffing pose, with the upper part of the body almost flat on the ground and the backside pretty up

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.41.54.png

The tail is pretty long so it really has to be soft and smooth and overlap for the entire shot. It always moves creating a nice curve and following the follow through principleSchermata 2017-12-10 a 22.42.42.png

I move each section of the tail with a delay

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.42.47.png

To make the sniffing action readable I add just 2 poses in the blocking, increasing the size of the nostrils, moving up and down the nose and the eyebrows. Is enough to make the action clear in the blocking and then I will smooth it and add more details in the refine

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.42.58.png

He felt something so he turns in the super excited mode

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.09.png

I add this big anticipation before he moves forward, just to emphasize the reaction and to create a nice path of action

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.39.png

The anticipation is made with the eyes, cause he already looks towards the point where he want to jump

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.21.png

and also with the body movement, ’cause he moves backward raising the back, the tail and the wings

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.34.png

Then we have the jump poses, always creating a path with body and a different one with the tail

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.39

He turns upward the head following his friend movement

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.53

And then another jump in the air, flying in place with a couple of movements up and down with the wings, staring at his “prey”

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.59.png

l add an anticipation moving backward before going out of frame very fast creating this line of action and with a very aerodynamic pose with the wings closed to the body

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.44.05.png

As I said, in this first pass of blocking I have very few poses but for this kind of animation I want to add some other keys just to make the refine easier

I add some breakdowns here and there and some moving holds, for example I added the leg poses at the beginning:

1) one pose with the raised leg with the toes pointing backward

2) one pose of contact with the toes upward

3) one pose with the leg flat on the ground

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.45.00.png

I add more breakdowns and in-betweens during the steps and others for the rest of the shots and this is the second pass of blocking with more keys:

Second_Blocking_Dragon.gif

During all this process I help myself using the silhouette visualization to adjust the poses and check if everything is readable

So… in this phase I focus on the timing and the poses and I watch it and watch it several times to check if everything works well or… if I can do something better or add some poses if necessary 😉


-Tailed Head/Ball REFINE-

The blocking is done and now I can turn off the dragon and refine the head/ball

As before, I hide the tail and I refine and polish the ball, for this character the refine process is pretty easy, there’s not much to polish, I just use a lot the graph editor to make the ball movements clean and smooth, I check the arcs first for the ball/body, and then for the tail

 

I also adjust the tail poses frame by frame in some parts, where I want to exaggerate the shapes or add some further movements

Here the Head(Ball Refine

Ball_Refine.gif


-Dragon REFINE-

Then I turn on the dragon again for the refine

I switch all the curves in auto tangent and this is how it looks like (I didn’t touch anything, this are just the blocking poses switched to auto)

Spline_Dragon.gif

and ….it defenetly needs a lot of work! 😀

I start splitting the scenes in different sections, for example: I start to refine the part when he enters in the screen and I stop before the jump. So… I reduce the range of the time slider

I go to adjust spacing, contacts, breakdowns for the entire shot but moving forward by a range of frames, splitting the scene following the different actions, refining them one by one

I draw the path on my transparent paper so I can easily follow the path with each part of the body, frame by frame I go to adjust the poses where needed

When you refine an animation can happen that you just realize that you need to change a bit the timing or the spacing of your blocking! It happens, some movements result too slow after you switch from stepped to spline or vice versa, so in this cases…just move your keys to reach the better result or add more breakdowns that were not necessary in the blocking but that you need in the refine!

With a loooot of patience I finish the refine of entire shot, I can’t show you each step ’cause it would take too much time


For the entire shot I spent 5/6 hours for the blocking (for both the characters) and around 15 hours for the refine

I add the motion blur in the render, the the 2D fire effect I made and…that’s the final result!

final


I hope you enjoy this video, show the entire process for the creation of a shot is not easy and I tried to show the most important steps for me.

When you plan a good and efficient blocking, the refine process will be easier so… see you for the next lesson and tutorial, thanks for watching! 😉

Tutorial 10 – Breakdown of a Dragon Animation


-Breakdown of a Dragon Animation-

Well…after a big break I finally uploaded a new tutorial (it has been a bit hard to finish it…I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on it) but I hope you enjoy it 😉

Schermata 2017-12-03 a 23.59.38.png

In this Tutorial I show the breakdown of a Dragon Animation, step by step I’ll show the process for the creation of the shot. I made this animation in 2 days and this tutorial is based on the principles explained in the Lesson 09 “FOLLOW-THOURGH AND OVERLAPPING” https://iwanttobeananimator.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/lesson-9-follow-through-and-overlapping/

Coming Soon


I really didn’t had enough time for this channel in the last days, I’m having big changes in my life so… sometimes it’s really hard to find a little “moment” just for my stuff 😛

BUT…. I’m working on a new video tutorial/breakdowns based on a shot connected to the last lesson “Follow-through and Overlap”!

Schermata 2017-10-04 a 13.42.32

This is just a little preview, a wip of the blocking, showing part of the shot! Just few poses… DragonBLK_Wip01.gif

I used two rigs for this shot: my Tail ball/head and Arc the Dragon by Josh Sobel!
Both the rigs have an element like tail and wings that show the principle of follow-through and overlap applied to an easy basic tail animation (for the ball) and a more complex animation of tail and wings for the Dragon! 😉

In the video I’ll show you how I concepted the shot from 2d sketches up to the refine version!

So…I hope to be able to continue to work on that and…post it as soon as possible! 🙂

In the meantime you can follow this blog (just clikc on the follow button on the right :P) so that you’ll receive an email when I will post something new, and….. like and follow my: Facebook PageTwitter and Youtube Channel! 😉

Tutorial #09 – How to Animate a Tail


– HOW TO ANIMATE A TAIL –

How to Animate a Tail RECAP

If you watched my Lesson 9 you should be able to put in practice what Follow-Through and Overlap mean and how to use them

We will start from a very simple example:Follow_Through10

I will use this super simple rig of an head/ball with a fluffy tailTail01

Tail02

To approach an animation like this, I usually start animating the body

In this case…the head/ball, ignoring the tail for the moment

So I hide the tail mesh and I animate the ball up to the refine and polishingTail01.gif

When my animation is finished, I go to animate the tail

At this point you should already know that I’m used to use different shaders to simplify my workflow so I create a sort of rainbow tail assigning different colors to each section of the tail connected to a jointTail04.png

So, I set the first pose for the tail…Tail06.png

…and then I go to animate the first section, the ones directly attached to the ball, that is the leading partTail05.png

that will drag the rest of the tailTail07.png

but in turn, the first section is dragged by the ball headTail08


 

So, following the main action of the ball, I go to animate just the first section that would react to the ball movementTail09

It’s important to determinate if the tail will be just dragged by the ball movement or if will also moves independentlyTail10.png

In my case, the tail is mainly dragged by the ball, but also has an independent movement when needed

For example: at the beginning I want to use the tail to have the “push” for the jump! So, even if the ball has a very small rotation and the squash to gain energy for the jump, I move the tail right and left to increase this push and have more power for the jumpTail11.png


During the jump, when the ball is stretched, the tail must point downward, ’cause it has a delay compared to the ballTail12.png


Also during the spinning in the hair, the tail overlap the main action, the ball rotation. As you can see, here I rotate the tail on the right, dragged by the rotation of the ballTail13.png


When the ball stops his rotation, the tail will stop with a delay of 3/4 or 5 framesTail14.png


For all the time that the ball stays in the air, the tail will continue to move upward, with a very slow spacingTail15.png


When the ball starts to fall, the tail is raised up Tail17.pngand just as before, after the ball landed on the ground, the tail will arrive with 3/4 frames of delayTail18.png

Don’t care about compenetration for the moment, cause we will go to adjust the position when we will animate the rest of the tail!


Then we have the following little bounces so, we go to animate the settle, moving the tail up and down for a couple of time, decreasing the movement up to the complete stopTail19.png

This is the animation of the first section of the tail:Tail02.gif

After that we go back to animate the rest of the tail, one section at the time, and following the order starting from the topTail20.png

Each section will have a delay of 2/3 frames compared to the previous sectionTail21

What you have to remember is that each part would first react to the movement of the part that drag it, moving in the opposite direction

 

Let’s see an example with less tail’s sections:

when this section moves forward…Tail23

…the following part is dragged but it turns in the opposite direction due to the delayTail24

and then it will follow the first section movementTail25

The last part would have the same reaction but it’s dragged by the second section, so at the beginning it would rotate on the right when the second one rotates on the leftTail26


 

Even during breakdowns and in-betweens you have to be extremely careful to create a nice and rounded shape

Avoid straight lines, except when its completely stretched like during the fall, in this cases a straight line is allowed!


Keep attention to the arcs that you will create with the tail action!Tail30

A nice tip is to use maya tools or script to create an onion skin that shows you the previous and following poses or to draw on maya…

…but I prefer the old school transparent/celluloid paper that I put on the screen (that is always attached to the back of my Mac and I easily turn it on when I need it) Tail31.png

Tail32I can quickly draw the arc I want for the tail movement and then, frame by frame I go to adjust the positions, following that path

Tail03.gif


With this simple rules and if you well understood this principles, your final result should be something like this:Follow_Through01So, this was a simple tutorial for a basic tail animation, with a straight ahead approach! 

I will do an other tutorial with a more complex rig but if you are just beginners…

I suggest you to start with a short and simple animation and became familiar with the concept of drag, follow-trough and overlap!

You can follow the Exercise 05 based on this tutorial! 😉

Tutorial #08 – How to Animate a Throw


-How to Animate a Throw-


How to Animate a Throw RECAP

In this quick tutorial I will show the main poses, the timing and the spacing to animate a character throwing an object. The tutorial is linked to the Lesson 08 “ANTICIPATION”

I’ll use Ink, the official rig of my channel! Ink has a very simple design to better focus on the poses and animation, and has this flat monochromatic texture with shoulders, chest and hip lines to helps you to create nice and appealing poses for him! 😉

Schermata 2017-08-02 a 11.26.56.png

Let’s create the object he will throw away, a simple ball. We go to create the control for the ball and we parent the mesh to itSchermata 2017-08-02 a 12.10.47.png

I set the camera, with the character on a side and I create a plane to check feet position and compenetration

Schermata 2017-08-02 a 11.27.26


We set the first pose, you can do the pose you want. In my pose he holds the ball with both the hands, he’s quite relaxed, the shoulders are rotated downward, the head is a bit rotated downward like he’s watching to the object and the feet are pretty spread, the weight of the character is more on the left foot

Let’s adjust the finger position, to avoid compenetrations and be sure that the hands are really holding the ball, so keep attention to pose each finger in good and natural pose

Now add a constraint for the ball! Select the right hand control, then the ball ctrl and create a translation and rotation constraint


Let’s create the anticipation main pose, around frame 28

The timing I’m using is just indicative, to give you an idea of the distance between a key pose and an other, but you can do it with your own timing

So, for the anticipation he will move backward with the entire body, stretching the chest, and he also moves back the right foot to balance the weight, raise the hell of the right foot (he’s really stretched in this pose, so he needs to stand on his toes)

Now just one hand holds the ball, the right one and I move it pretty backward, is not completed straight but a bit bended (try to simulate this movement yourself, you will see that the more natural pose is keeping the hand faced towards the area where you will throw it, and you will naturally move upward your shoulder)

The left hand started to move forward and it’s bended towards the body, it helps to maintain the balance and gain more energy


Now let’s move forward in the timeline for the extreme throw pose, around frame 42

The body moves and roates forward. The weight of the character is on the left foot, but the right foot in the air helps him to balance the weight and contrast the power of the throw that moved him forward. Create a nice and pretty relaxed pose for the right foot, with the toes pointing down.

The right hand is now straight and stretched in front of the character, the left arm moves backward, and it’s still bended at this point

The head is rotate upward, contrasting the rotation of the chest, he’s following the ball movement


Let’s add an other little anticipation, around frame 8 with the very small movement upward with the hip and the hands, just before the big backward movement (pose 28)

Practically, we go to create an anticipation of an other anticipation!


Now we add an important breakdown, around frame 15, when he starts to move backward, here we need to slow down the spacing between the pose at frame 8 and the pose at frame 28

The body starts to move down and backward, the left hand is not touching the ball anymore but it’s still pretty close to it, the chest is squashed and rotated forward, and the right foot started to slide backward, I keep it flat on the ground, I just overlap a bit the toes that moves offsetted by 1 frame


Let’s add an other important key to slow down before the pose at frame 28
(we need to keep this pose longer) so let’s add a in-between approximately 5/6 frames before the pose at frame 28

On this new in-between, frame 22, the body is already stretched and ready for the throw (with a pose really close to the pose at frame 28)

So the big movement and change in position is between frame 15 and frame 22


Now we slow down again just after the pose at 28

Add an in-between at frame 34 where he just starts to move a bit up and forward , very small change


On frame 39 he continues the movement up and forward BUT the chest is still rotated backward

Bend backward the right arm so that the hand with the ball don’t moves too much, maintain a position closed to the position of frame 28 (use deformers for the arms and create a very dynamic pose)

The right foot starts to move upward in the air and the hip in this transition moves a bit upward as well


Now we need to add two poses at the end for the SETTLE
On frame 46 the body continues to move and rotate forward, the right hand goes down, the left hand continues the movement upward, and the same for the right foot


On the last frame the body starts to go back, the right foot to go down and forward, and we have a follow trought of head, forearms and wrists


Now that we have all the poses we can switch the curves in stepped to see the result (the ball is still attached to the hand, but let’s ignore it for the moment, we will animate the ball in a second time) throw_BLK


We can now proceed with REFINE, we change again the curves in auto tangent and let’s polish the path of arms and the right foot

We start with the right arm: if you create a motion trail, you will see that the path of action of the arm movement is not so nice, we can do better then this so we go to add some poses for the arms in order to create a nicer path

Continue to polish your curves and when the body is done you can move to the ball

On the frame where you want to turn off the constraint on the ball (frame 41 for me) add a key on the ball control and it will create a blend parent attribute: set it to 0 and add a key

On the frame before (frame 40) add an other key on this attribute and set it at 1Schermata 2017-08-02 a 11.31.23.png

Now the constrain is active up to frame 40, after that you can animate the ball

On frame 41 we move the ball forward following a linear path, it must be already pretty distance from the hand, with a very fast spacingSchermata 2017-08-02 a 11.31.34.png

Add a stretch on it, then move forward in the timeline and place the ball so that it goes out of the screen in very few frames, 3 or 4 frames, keeping the stretch!Schermata 2017-08-02 a 11.31.48.png


That’s it, this is my final resul! 😉Throw_Refine.gifIf you want to re create this throw animation you can do the Exercise #4  following the steps of this tutorial and send me your animation (adding a link in the comments)  to receive a feedback !

I Like To Present: Ink


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