Monday, July 26, 2010

Animating a Heavy Character

I've been animating a big 'ol dinosaur lately and here are some tips I've picked up along the way before and during this test:

Animating a heavy character -

-Big up and down as the legs absorb all that weight

-Ease a lot on downs, Spend more time down than up, it's harder for the weight to go up, and once it's up there, it really wants to come down!

-The feet stay on ground as long as possible before stepping: peel up slowly keeping that weight support as long as possible, and then quickly throw themselves forward, hitting that ground with hurried force to catch all that weight as soon as they can

-Super exaggerated overlap from all that heavy weight dragging behind what the body is doing, again, lots of ease when dragging down and spend as little time as possible when up, without looking too snappy.

-Overweight people seem to have a tendency to throw their arms forward to try to gain momentum. They don't bend very much, so they're kind of stiff, but the arms will work more to try to move all that bulk.

-If you have toes, show really clear toe spread and toe straighten as the foot takes the weight. You can fake this "foot spreading" with shoes by translating the foot up very slightly, rotating the whole foot down very slightly, and rotating the toe up accordingly, so it stays above the ground. It's very subtle but it's way more effective than just freezing the foot to the ground. As the weight transfers to the other foot, you can reverse this action with a quick copy/paste. Voila!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just Keep Swimming

I wrote the following email to a friend recently who was worried about staying motivated and not giving up on animating. I think it's advice that I'd like to remind myself to listen to as well, so I'll post it here too.

The best I can say is that you aren't alone. I've given up on being an animator a few times, once after working at a studio for years. Sometimes you just don't think you are cut out to animate. But you are cut out to do whatever you are really dedicated to doing.

If you are having trouble on something big, try smaller exercises. I read on someone's blog once that they would do little exercises where the only point was to do one principle of animation and get that one principle working really well on super simple characters. Doing lots of different little tests can be better than spending 2 months on one thing. You learn faster and don't get sick of it.

If you have animation in progress right now that is hanging you up, and the motivation just isn't there... maybe pick a principle you think you're worst at and obsess over that one goal for a day. Get that principle right. Focusing on one thing can take away the pressure of all the rest of it and help you find fun ways to explore that principle that you perhaps never would have thought of otherwise.

The hard thing about being an animator is that even if you are really good, you still think you're bad. Cause it's hard. And you're always thinking, oh no, this next shot is way too hard, I can't do it. But that's a good thing, because then you try harder and do better and people watch it and are like holyshitthatsawesome. Let yourself enjoy the awesome work that you've created, revel in it, and then move on.

Good luck!


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