Animation Blocking and In Betweens

The style of animation that I performed initially was closer to rotoscoping techniques rather than counting frames per walk cycle. By this I mean that I implemented the timing of the reference footage. However, for most animation shots, I changed this to traditional pose-to-pose, to achieve technically accurate results.

Weight in Movement

Throughout my animating, I maintained a strong sense of importance for weight and centre of gravity, especially in the first dancing part. I believe this element, as well as timing, are the most crucial to my animation.

I added slower movements to the centre of gravity when the character needed to push off from the floor to move. By this I mean, for example, when walking, dancing or walking with a heavy object. This should show his old age in his slower movement. To show that he is heavy himself, weaker in his age and cannot move so freely as when he was younger. To apply this slower weight movement, I started by spacing the key in-between keyframes off centre, with the middle later so that the ‘take off’ is slower/ later.

Figure 1. walk cycle.

Pushing the Posing

While I had a good reference video of myself enacting the character animation, I needed a way to enhance my poses. Poses with quicker timing of movements and poses that are held for longer will produce a more cartoony style of animation. This is how I imagine my character to be, however, I must stray from the reference for this.

This style of character posing (art style and position) is to my liking in terms of how I perceive my character in my mind. This style also pushes the character pose to less monotonous/ rigid positions. By this, I imply that I believe an area for improvement in my animation is pushing the posing of the hips and chest. Exaggeration of key limbs and body segments that create more dynamic silhouettes.

While these poses may not be completely applicable to my character’s movements. They present the essence I wish to portray.

End Walk Animation

I slowed the walk cycle from the standard 12 frames (counting on leg step) to 22 for the ending walk away scene. This seemed like the correct timing and will feel more dramatic for the melancholy ending.

The walk away from the camera at the end of the animation includes a toolbox in hand. Meaning that there will be a heavy weight on one side. The way I will achieve the effect of walking with weight is:

  • Up pose – Chest and COG angles left, pull up and away from the weight. Quick and small height increase in COG.
  • Down pose – Chest and COG right and with a long decreasing curve of COG height.

This will show how every time he walks, he is trying to balance the weight. These angles should not be too extreme, but enough to notice.

Based on the play blasts I have made so far, I believe that after I am finished with the walk cycle, I should elongate the key frames. Slowing the animation down even more.

Also based on the playblasts, the ‘contact to foot flat on the floor’ position – the frame should be moved sooner.

Figure 2. Walk cycle.

There are many small tweaks that I have included in my animation to alter the essence of timing, performance, weight etc. I will not list all of them as there are too many. But all of the major corrections will be included.

As you can see in figure 2, the foot roll only happens on the first contact pose. Then, is replaced by the rotate-x axis of the foot for the second contact pose. I changed this method later in the process, since I felt that the foot roll was more appropriate for the second contact pose as well. That was I can keep the centre of the ‘foot stomp’ movement in the heel instead of the centre of the foot. Since, this is how each of these controls are set up. I learned how to better use the controls through trial and error, such as this case.

Walk Cycle Arms

To pose the arm movements, I used a series of references. Firstly, the traditional walk cycle pose sheet. As well as video reference.

Reference video for walk cycle: Female Standard Walk – Grid Overlay. Animation Reference Body Mechanics – YouTube

I also used my own walk cycle as a reference. This included carrying a heavy object.

Improvements/ Process

  • I noticed that I moved the upper arm too much. Most of the movement is in the lower arm.
  • The arms swing closer to the body when moving backwards and further away from the body when moving away.
  • The arm with the heavy toolbox should be moved mostly using the scapula. This is based on personal practice of the movement. The scapula will move up and down with the centre of gravity control. Then, the shoulder control should be used to keep the arm in the same place and level.

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