When I started this channel….I just had in mind to create a couple of video tutorials, just for fun and test myself in something new..trying to explain my animation method to others through quick and simple videos demonstrations. I wasn’t sure to be able to do that and I was ready to “delate” the first video uploaded if I would have received a flood of insults 😅But…this didn’t happen and a lot of aspirants animators just founded my videos easy to understand and a font of inspiration, so ..I want to say thanks to all this people that supported this project and when I read my Blog listed in article like “10 Awesome Animation Blogs for your Inspiration”….I just feel happy😁Thanks Florian and Introbrand.com for the mention!!!😊
Rigs Showcase #1 – I’d like to present “LEE”, a new cartoon style character RIG created by SquigglyRigs
Buy “Lee” Character using the special coupon with 50%OFF applying the code you see in the image below
I want to thank two awesome artists: Filippo Foglietti for the 2D concept and Sofia Gariazzo for the 3D model (https://www.artstation.com/sofiagariazzo)! It was a pleasure to work with you and I hope we will create other stuff together! 😃NOW It’s time to give her a NAME!!! I need help and fantasy FROM ANYONE 😛❗️Just one directive: must starts with the letter “D”! I add a progression collection of pics from concept to 3D model to inspire you! 😊Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
#animation #beananimator #name #suggestions #character #concept #model
-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:
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 constraint
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 object
The type of constraint depends on the axes you need to constrain to the lead object: translation, rotation or scale
In Maya, if you go in the Animation Tab
and then on CONSTRAIN
you find some different types of constraints: POINT – AIM – ORIENT – SCALE – PARENT
the more used are POINT / ORIENT and PARENT
As I said before the difference between this constraints are the axes involved:
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 pivot
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 constrain
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 values
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:
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!
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 situation
-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
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!But 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!
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!
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
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!
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!
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)
So on the last key frame where you still need the constraint, set this attribute at 1 and add a key
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!
-Hand on another character’s shoulder-
An other similar example is a character that puts his hand on the shoulder of another character
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)!
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!
In this way, if you animate the other character, the hand follows the second character movements
-Two Characters holding their hands-
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!
An other situation…
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!
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 ball
Select the hand control -> shift -> and select the ball geometry and choose Parent constraint (Maintaining the Offeset)
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 ball
in the previous frame set it at 0, so the ball stays in the starting position!
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!
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!
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!
Let’s change the type of prop, let’s say he grabs a bottle
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!
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!
There’s some situation where you will need to constrain the character to an object
-Character on a Swing-
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!
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
We turn ON the locator visibility from the SHOW panel
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
Then, select one rope -> shift -> the first locator and create a Parent constraint, and do the same for the other locator!
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
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!
Or, if the character is trying to lift an heavy object without success… so the object will stays on the ground…
…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
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
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 locator
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)
and now we can delete this constraint from the locator, in the channel box we select the constrained axes and -> right-click -> BREAK CONNECTIONS
Then we constrain the hand control to the locator, so select the locator and then the wrist control and create another parent constraint!
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!
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
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 object
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 offset
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!
Then we select again the locator -> then the left hand control and we do parent constraint again!
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…
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 hand
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:
- 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)
- 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
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!
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
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
Sometimes can happen, for different reasons, that you don’t see the Blend Parent attribute in the channel box
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)
and animate the Weight Value, set it at 1 or 0 to manage the influence of the constraint on the locator!
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 head
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
and we go to PARENT this locators and the hat with this hierarchy:
- we select the right hand locator then the left hand locator and press P
- select the head locator and the right hand locator and press P
- and last, select the hat geometry then the head locator and press P
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 locator… and 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
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
Or… select the object constrained, press F in the outliner to find the constraint node and… delate it!
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
so it will converts the the entire animation in keyframes
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 actions
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! 🙂
– Maya Constraint –
Let’s see how to use the Maya Constraints analyzing different situations 😉
Here a detailed RECAP of my last Tutorial “Breakdown of a Dragon Animation”
here the Tutorial
In this tutorial I’ll show the breakdowns for this animation I made recently
I will explain STEP BY STEP my process starting from CONCEPT to the FINAL RESULT
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
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!
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
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
-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
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
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
-Tailed Head/Ball BLOCKING-
So now… I import the tailed ball character and I create the blocking
I start to pose the “body/head” so I go to hide the tail
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)
When he bounces behind the rock he trys to hide himself super frightened…trying 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
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
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
Let’s add the dragon
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
He makes this arc jumping high and straight first
and then he lands forward creating this arc with the body, the tail and the wings
Then we have some steps while he’s sniffing the ground
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
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 principle
I move each section of the tail with a delay
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
He felt something so he turns in the super excited mode
I add this big anticipation before he moves forward, just to emphasize the reaction and to create a nice path of action
The anticipation is made with the eyes, cause he already looks towards the point where he want to jump
and also with the body movement, ’cause he moves backward raising the back, the tail and the wings
Then we have the jump poses, always creating a path with body and a different one with the tail
He turns upward the head following his friend movement
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”
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
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
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:
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
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)
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!
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! 😉
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”!
This is just a little preview, a wip of the blocking, showing part of the shot! Just few poses…
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 Page – Twitter and Youtube Channel! 😉
Arc is a really well done and pretty complex rig with some customizable options: you can choose between different “personality”: 6 in total! That is pretty cool! 😀
I’m animating the Young version and is really nice to pose and instantly appealing! 🙂
You can also change the texture and eye color between this 7 variations:
The rig comes with a very useful picker where, in addition to the customization options, you can easily select the rig controls, splitted in Body and Facial (extremely useful for a complex rig like this one) I usually don’t use pickers, I like the direct approach with the rig but …. in this case I use it a lot 😉
In the picker is also available a little set of expressions and poses:
The rig has a very affordable price 18,00€ for a standard license and is available on this link http://www.joshsobelrigs.com/arc-the-dragon
So far I didn’t find any issues with the rig that works pretty well!
As I said, it’s not an easy character to animate for those who are just beginners, but is absolutely a good character if you want to test your skills with a quadruped, or in some flight cycle, acting shots or action! 😉
It’s really funny to animate and soon I’ll post a tutorial/breakdown for the shot I’m working on, so that I can show you my approach with the rig and my workflow! 😉
So… if you are looking for a new and original character for your next acting/action shot, Arc could be a good option! 😉
Here all the links:
Official site: http://www.joshsobelrigs.com/arc-the-dragon
I know…sometimes animators are a bit shy and reluctant to show their animations but feedback are really important to improve your skill. A “fresh eye” can see what you don’t see, to have a more “general view” of the shot and can helps you to improve it where really necessary!
I really enjoy the “feedback” process! (♥)
Usually I have a quick view at the shot “Does it works?” “Did I understand what’s going on?” “Could be better with just some little modifications?”
After that I got to check the Poses! I have a thing for poses 😀 I love to see the characters in natural and original poses…it’s probably the step where I spent most of my time when I animate! Then I check the Timing/Spacing, the Arcs etc..
When I prepare the image reference for the feedback I always try to keep them as much clear and easy to follow as possible, I don’t want to confuse the animator….I should just help him, not make him frustrated 😛
So, have a look on the feedback I’ve created so far (based on you “colleagues” works) and if you have an animation test or a shot and you need feedback…just use the page “Your Animation”and add a link in the comments! I will provide you with a feedback in a couple of days (usually) 😉
Have FUN! 😛
#iWantToBeAnAnimator #beananimator #animation #learnanimation #animationforbeginners
A new Lesson available! This time talking about ANTICIPATION and the different types of animations that need it! 😉
In the Lesson I’m using my NEW “cute and super cool” (♥) personal and official channel’s rig INK!!! 😛
One of your first goal, when your are creating an animation, should always be to make something that is perfectly readable! You can create awesome poses and have a great concept, but…if you don’t make it clear and readable… would be impossible to catch the sense of what you are trying to communicate!
that’s why we use ANTICIPATION! That, as the word suggest, is nothing more than the “preparation to the action”!
We can have
let’s see some example:when the movement of a body (or an object) prepares for an action
Example #1: if a character throws something far, he would prepares the action by moving back the arm with the object (preparing for the throw)
In this way he will have enough energy but this movement also prepares the users for what will happen. From this anticipation, you already can imagine that he will throw the object!
Example #2: a character running out of the screen, is made more readable thanks to an anticipation of the character moving in the opposite direction and raising one leg!
This helps the user to read a very fast action. Without this anticipation…. the user could have some problems to read the scene!
Example #3: or you can use it for a very cartoon effects…. or for something more realistic, with a much more soft anticipation!
Another way to use an Anticipation is to create a funny effects!
Example: if you see the same run anticipation of the run we’ve seen before, you imagine that he will run away super fast…but…adding a pretty slow run just after this big anticipation…you will create an unexpected result!
Or… you can use it to direct the attention to something that is going to happen or leading the eye in the right screen area.
Example #1: if your character is standing in the middle of the screen and something is going to enter from the right, if you don’t add an anticipation, the users would probably miss the first part (when the second element is entering in the screen) ’cause you are looking at the character in the center.
But…if you add an anticipation of the character looking on the right your attention would be re-directed in the right area, just in time to better follow the action!
Example #2: in case the character is going to take something, a fast look at this object prepares the users to what he’s going to do
Or you can use the anticipation with the hand, holding it in the air for few frames, this is an other way to communicate to the user that he’s going to take the glass!
Example: thanks to the anticipation you can better feel the weight of the character in two different jumps.
In the one on the left he makes a soften anticipation cause he’s pretty light.
In the one on the right he’s bringing an heavy backpack so he needs more energy for the jump, he needs a stronger anticipation, bending and keeping this pose a bit more
depends on the action!
Usually with fast action or big change in position we need more anticipation!
Like for the fast run or the cartoon one, both this examples has big anticipation, and a very fast action just after them!
Or, an angry reaction like, a character smashing a door, would require a big anticipation to enphasize the action and after, the door is closed in very few frames
Some Anticipation must be really subtle!
Example #1: an hand that is going to grab a light object would have an almost imperceptible anticipation! The hand just goes upwards for few frames before going down to grab the apple
Example #2: in a simple take we have a little anticipation, a very small movement with the character moving upwards before the take, few frames of anticipation, is there but it’s not so visible
Example: the door settle doing little movements back and forward in few frames
You absolutely don’t need an anticipation for every single movements of your character…with practice and experience you will get used to it and you will naturally know when an action need it, as I said, usually we use it before big and or fast action, but also to make the movements more fluid and readable! 😉
INK – Character RIG
I want to introduce you the Official Rig for my Channel – INK 🙂
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 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)
First of all, it’s not something you have to be scared of!
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!
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 want
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 windows
Select all the controls of your character and … as you can see your animation is visualized in the Graph Editor as CURVES
Each curve is the rapresentation of the motion of the different axis, that you can see on the left
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
I’m going to show you the tools you’ll use most of the time from this menu:
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 –> INFINITY
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
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)
If you want to take off the cycle: just select Curves –> Pre and Post Infinity –> Constant
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
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!
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 from
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 like
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 recently…you may have something more chaotic the first times!
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 robotic 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:
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! 🙂
-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”
After the tutorial I suggest you do do the Exercise#3 “Animate an Head Take”
Let’s continue with the Principles of Animation … let’s see how to handle with “Squash & Stretcht”!
(In the Lesson I used the “Eleven Rig”)
Let’s continue with the Principles of Animation … let’s see how to smooth our animation with “Slow In & Slow Out”! 😉
(In the lesson I used the rig “Pete” by Long Winter Members)
Slow In & Slow Out RECAP
The Slow In and Slow Out principle or Ease In and Ease Out is so important but also really easy to understand and put in practice!
The concept is:
an object doesn’t have a constant speed during a movement. It will have an acceleration at the beginning and a deceleration at the end
So, will starts slower, SLOW IN, increase the speed in between, and ends slower before to stop SLOW OUT
To add a Slow in and Slow out to a movement we need to change the spacing of the in-betweens at the start and the end
If we have an object that moves from A to B and the tangent is linear, so we don’t’ have any variation in the speed, we would have a stiff and mechanical movement
But…if we have the same movement, but we just change the position of the in-betweens near the first key pose and the last one, the movement result more soft, smoothed, and realistic
Always remember that we are doing cartoon, so to have a more appealing animation, we can also exaggerate this principle!
This doesn’t mean that you have to encrase the timing of your animation to have more in-betweens at the start and the end. It’s always based on the speed of your action. In a faster action you will have few frames but you still can manage them in order to have a slow in and slow out
Changing the curve in the Graph Editor is very easy to achieve the result we need, using a FLAT tangents we already have a smoothness on the extremes
if we use the SPLINE tangents we can reach the same result using the handles
We can also add an in-between near the first pose, and an other near the final pose, and move them on a value closer to the extremes, until you don’t reach your desiderata effect
When you adjust the handles don’t create this type of curve, where it goes on a higher (or lower) value compared to the last pose value otherwise you will have a backward and forward movement. So, if you just want to smooth the forward movement, the curve should be like this one below
look how smoothed is the movement on the two extremes. SLOW FAST SLOW
with the same key poses and timing, but with a different spacing, we would have a linear movement, that is really unrealistic
As you can see in the graph editor , I created a Loop animation so I have the two poses at the beginning and the end with the same position, and an other extreme in the middle with the pendulum in the opposite direction, in this case the tangent is LINEAR, that’s why we have this stiff effect, the interpolation has a uniform velocity, so all the in-betweens have the same distance between each other
…just switching the same curve in FLAT, the spacing of the in-between change and the movement is more realistic
If we create the same movement with a character, the principle doesn’t change, we will always have a movement that start slow, takes speed and slow down again
So … use this principle, with all its variations, for your objects and characters animations! It’s easy and quick to achieve and your animations will change a lot! 😉
I’m working on the new Lesson but in the meantime I’m also working on this Shot for a friend with Alya Rig 😉
When the shot will be finished I will post a breakdown video on how I created the shot, step by step! 🙂
This is just a wip, a sort of animatic, I put together some poses of the 3D charcater and I painted over them to create the outfits (the 3D outfits version will be modeled at a later stage). In this way I already can choose the timing, the main poses and actions and I will have a more clear idea in mind when I will start the animation!
So far, I created some sketches, studied the outfits and the concept of the shot! It’s an introducing video for Alya so we will show her in different styles…it will take a while to finish ’cause I never have enough free time but…I’m really enjoying working on it! 😉
– TOON SHADER –
Here a different way to render your character! Are you a fan of 2D style? A Toon Shader is an alternative choice! 😉
To create a Toon Shader you just have to select the geometry, go in the TOON Tab
here you will find different TOON style, I usually use SHADED BRIGHTNESS TWO TONE
after you click on one of the options, go in the ATTRIBUTE EDITOR and edit the two colors in the COLOR TAB
one lighter, one darker
That’s is! 🙂 But…