Within this post I will talk about the video “animation play blast part 2” video, see figure 1. This include a few play blasts from each shot that show progress with the main animation process, and tests, that I made. The final look of these shots can be seen on the submission page- in the final play blast or render.
This is a content list from figure 1, I will analyse it chronological based on order of content:
- “I miss your apple pie.”
- Look at self, “I’ve got quite scruffy, since then” and crying/ getting emotional.
- Walk away from the camera at the end.
- Dancing at the start.
1. “I miss your apple pie.”
- I added forwards and backwards movements to the chest, to emulate how a person naturally would move when talking. Although, the play blast version movements are rough, I have smoothed them out since then.
- The second video in that part is much more developed, including:
- A slow blink, which lasts about 10 frames in total. The timing took a few tries to perfect, though I am very happy with the results. I also positioned this well, considering how he blinks while turning his head, at the perfect time when he says the word “miss”. This works very well overall for the sake of acting effect and realism.
- The head turn. I followed my male voice actors reference footage as a guide for this, which created a much more natural movement with the dialogue lines. The effect this produces was great for the emotion in this shot.
- The lip sync has the most important phonemes with exaggerated positioning, and long duration. Holding on these draws attention to these words and the sounds they make. Giving less importance to the others. By doing this, I also do not have to worry about the jaw moving excessively. Since, I downsize the other phonemes for the sake of the exaggerated ones. This overall produces smoother slip sync animations.
2. Look at self, “I’ve got quite scruffy, since then” and crying/ getting emotional.
- I altered the position and movement of the camera so that the viewer sees him more directly.
- Timing of the positions was hard to get right. Any turn of the body without stepping with the feet seems hard to animation by this animations experience.
- I added much follow through and slow in and outs to produce a better animation, though I believe I only made this more of a challenge. The head and body seemed to bounce around too much at certain points. Proving that I should be more selective with where I use the follow through animation principles.
- I implemented my actors acting reference footage in order to produce better head and facial movements. This had a great effect. I was able to exaggerate more accurate facial expressions at the correct time with this method.
- The parts of the animation where he gets emotional are heavily based on my intended acting design, with influence from the animation ‘Borrowed Time’, and my actors performance. I mostly used my actor’s performance for breathing, head, face and mouth movements (all acting).
3. Walk away from the camera at the end
- I applied basic pose-to-pose principles to this walk cycle. Beginning with the contact poses on the feet. Once the feet were completed, I altered the centre of gravity accordingly and then the extras.
- This walk cycle became quite challenging when I applied the effect of weight into the equation. Since, the character is carrying around the heavy toolbox, he will be heavy on one side.
- I added the effect of weight to the chest movements, the arm and the centre of gravity. His walking position is leaning to the side of the weight. And the arm carrying it does not move as much as the other. The arm that does not hold anything is designed to move more, and be held away from the body, as though he is trying to balance his body weight accordingly.
- I had trouble with the arm carrying the toolbox. Since the prop was so large, I have to key frame the toolbox out of positions where it overlapped the characters leg. This degraded the effect I was going for too much. Though through many adjustments. I managed to overcome this somewhat. I am not entirely happy with the result though.
- Note: the start of the walk cycle does not matter as much (at least not the feet) since they are out of the shot in that part).
4. Dancing at the start.
- This is a version of how the dancing looked. Unfortunately, at this stage I had issues with the play blast tool, so I could not create too many progress videos of this area. Though, if you look at the previs, this video and then the end result, that would produce the best impression of my development for this shot.
- My workflow for the dancing consisted of blocking first. The feet positions in blocking, then the centre of gravity. I completed the main poses and then added the extras later. When I converted this into spline, I had many movement issues to fix that required further additions of in-betweens.
- I developed the animation further with the development of walk cycle principles. First adding contact poses and then the rest of the poses, to produce technically accurate steps.
- The centre of gravity was adjusted constantly to convey fluid weight distribution changes. I implemented top view in Maya to ensure that they were correctly positioned. Then added slow in and outs to exaggerate a heavy weight being moved.
- I found a technique to produce realistic centre of gravity weight shifts. That being, that the COG has very little movement from the passing position to the down pose. The down pose is where the COG moves the most since, that is when the body will move down and towards the foot that holds the weight of the body. Therefore, I structured my movements with this in mind. This technique was especially useful with the dancing movements, since the character will be holding on certain positions and moving according to his own rhythm, rather than at a constant pace.
- The arms required much consideration for held poses, in-betweens, follow through and slow in and outs. Not to forget the most important factor which was an offset between the upper arm, elbow and wrist, to produce more realistic and fluid movements for a dance purpose.
- I applied arc shapes to the movement wherever I could and where it was appropriate. I could view these better with the motion trail visualisation tool.