Animation Mentor Alumni Blog
(Class 02, Week 02)
Q&A: Full Body Walks P2 | Mentor: Steve Cady (Hybride VFX)
Hey guys, at first I thought the past week would not be so intense, but fortunately, I was wrong. In fact, we had a lot of work to do. The assignment consisted in blocking out our first full body walk cycle using the Stella rig, and it was very funny to do. Video references, planning and so many hours of animation. Now I feel the term has actually begun.
I. Lecture and Q&A
Full Body Walks P2
The lecture was the continuation of the one from last week, hosted again by Dr. Rega and Luci Napier. They gave us a lot of tips on how to block our vanilla walk cycle. It was really important to me because Luci explained how to use the Stella controls the right way. The Rig has a lot of features especially in the hips, which give us the opportunity to use both IK and FK systems and even both simultaneously. Dr Rega also showed how all the body parts are connected to each other and how the fact of wearing high heels can change the spine curvature of the woman or even make her hips move differently. According to her, that´s why a woman with high heels looks sexier. Don´t forget that an animator must have a good perception of life.
In the Q&A, Steve talked about gesture drawing. These kind of drawings must be fast, you need to be able to capture motion without wasting time. Animators should communicate ideas, not to worry about how pretty their drawings are. These tips helped me a lot, and I´m going to try to spend less time sketching my thumbnails. Steve also said that we should spend between 30 seconds to 2 minutes in a pose, not more than that. Our objective is to have everything clear before touching the computer, so I decided to do it that way. Next week, you are going to see only rough drawings.
Full Body Walk Cycle – Blocking Pass
In that assignment we were supposed to choose between animating a vanilla walk or a walk with character. Can you guess which one I chose? The second option, of course. One of the requirements was to use Stella, so I had to plan a feminine walk. I swear, I did the best I could.
After having studied my video reference, I put all thoughts in a paper. I like to take my time to get my planning consistent. For me, if I can get it right, I already have my animation halfway done. So, I started to figure out the timing and spacing of the hips, the movements of the feet, the rotations of the shoulders, pretty much everything I needed to end up with a solid blocking. So, here is my planning.
Once I had everything in my head, I started to pose out Stella. She has a lot of controls, so my initial approach was to hide the controls that I knew I would only use in polishing. Stella also comes with an attribute to change between High Res, Low Res and Proxy, this one allows you to hide the geometry you don’t want to see at some point. It´s really cool, when you are animating the hips you can hide the legs, the arms and the head to not get distracted by any other secondary animation. After getting the hips done, I started to tweak the legs and the feet making sure I was getting a nice path of action and a correct space. I didn’t add any detail in this pass, it´s still rough blocking.
First of all, I want to talk about the Work on Animation Q&A. I didn’t use it when I was in class 01, but this week I realized how much you can improve your work by jumping into that room and getting feedback from Mark and Beau Pratt. These guys are really nice. They both have been students of Animation Mentor and now they are working for the School. So, nobody better than them to critique our work. The only thing bad is the time, Saturday night here in Spain. But, as you now, no pain, no gain. The fact is that my work improved a lot after that. It´s true that it was too close to deadline, but if your work is already consistent, you can make it shine with their notes.
Now, it´s time for the real eCritique. First of all it was nice to hear Steve talking about the high level of the class. He said this was one of the best classes he had in AM, what should make all of us proud. After the compliment, he started to talk about my planning. He said my poses and notes were really nice, and pointed out that I had spend more than 30 seconds in each pose, that´s right. Anyway, he didn’t think this is a negative point, just to keep in mind that I should spend less time doing my sketches. In other hand, he thinks time spent in planning means time saved in animation. About my reference, he really liked. He said I have showed great acting skills. I´m kind of getting use to it, I´m almost an actor, hahahaha. But, what matters is the animation. So, about my walk, he said that there was a lot of personality going on, ad really liked the fan I added to Stella. The big note I have to address before coming to splining is to reduce the gap between the legs. The problem of changing the stride is that I will have to tweak almost every pose again. But no big deal, let´s do it.