1 November 2016

In the second lesson of Animation we were tasked to animating an object, continuing on from the ball animation in the last session. After a tutorial on what to look for and how to think about animating I was shown the Graph Editor and the Dope Sheet where fine tuning of your animations can be made. These sections of Maya allows you to see what parts of your animation works and where the fluidity doesn’t work quite so well allowing you to make minor modifications for the better such as introducing ease in and ease outs etc.

To create the animation we had the choice of whether to animate a lamp or a bag of flour. I chose the flour bag to animate as I had an idea of what I wanted to do with it when I saw it. My idea was to characterise it and have it jump in shock before running away.


We were told it would be best to animate by the Pose-to-Pose method as it was the simplest way to start animating with. By only having to concentrate on the key frames of animation we don’t have to worry about filling in all of the bits in between straight away. Getting the basis of the animation right first is the priority and the detail can be added later.

What I didn’t realise until I began was how much I had to think about while animating, how easy it is to make a mistake that can cause problems in the very next step and how time consuming it all is to do. Needless to say I have developed a new understanding and appreciation of just how hard animation is and how much constant thought is needed throughout just to make a bloody flour bag run! Animate each ‘leg’ by thinking about where each leg will be and how it moves, apply the same process to the ‘arms’ thinking about how a cartoon character runs and trying to replicate it, thinking about body movements while the character is running like stretching, swaying and turning of the body. I have a whole new level of appreciation.

So to make this sack run I used Maya and its 3D tools, (the same 3D tools used to create objects), to manipulate the bag. Position the moveable sections, take a virtual snapshot. Move to a different timestamp, move the sections and take a snapshot and repeat this until the movement has been completed. Reminds me a lot of stop motion animation.

For a first real attempt I’d like to say that I’ve done a fair job at making this thing run. Its buggy and doesn’t flow as well as it did in my mind but its something to work on and perfect, its also on YouTube ready for scrutiny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mtX2aVpHqg&feature=youtu.be

I also need to train my mind to keep thinking about the smaller details that I kept forgetting about; in particular remembering to highlight the entire model when I want to make a key frame instead of leaving just one area highlighted which resulted in one arm waving around and having to go back a redo the entire thing again. like everything else, the key is practice in my free time.

Ha, yeah…free time.



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