Week 6 – continuation of blocking for animation, still working in stepped tangents. The goal this week is to add in-between frames to my weight-lift animation.
I had completed the six key poses on every 12 frames, so I set about adding in-between frames on the 6’s. I admit to being a bit confused by this process at first attempt and it probably still needs work but the light-bulb moment for me was really thinking about what you are trying to say with each in-between pose and what you can achieve with it.
The wrong way to think about it is to aim for an exact half way movement between the two key-frames, the software can do this by itself!
What I found helpful was to think of it in two ways –
• think of the sequence or order of the movements and how to apply follow through. If the action from frame 1 to 12 requires the hips to move first, followed by the upper back, this in-betweening process can be a good place to set this in motion. At 6, just move the hips, not so much movement of the back.
• think of the timing – if the movement between frame 1 and frame 12 is supposed to start slow and then speed up, you can still indicate this even if the tween is at 6. Move the character a small amount at 6.
Prior to the understanding of this idea, I would only have thought to place the tween at, say frame 3.
I can illustrate these concepts better by showing screen shots of my frames and the reasons behind the decisions I made. The frames are 1, 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 54, 60. Text is pink for the initial keyframes and orange for the ‘inserts’ or ‘breakdowns’.
• Tween 1 – just a slight lift, straight up with the hips, to get the block off the ground and set in action the swing rotation of the block at Key 2. Tiny bit of head rotation downwards to start the movement but subtle – I want the bigger movement to go with the energy of the block rotating back in the next frame.
• Tween 2 – the head and upper back start to rotate upward and straighten before the larger straightening of the back in Key 3. Again I keep this subtle leaving a faster acceleration to happen at Key 3.
• Tween 3 – center of balance starts to shift backwards in the upper back and shoulders to counter the block swinging up.
• Tween 4 – the feet have moved up and off the ground, this the ‘in the air’ tween between the different feet positions at key 4 and key 5. As far as the block movement, I kept this minimal – I want the major shift to be between Tween 4 and key 5 as gravity is assisting the block to move downwards.
• Tween 5 – the block move is minimal downwards but this is a powerful tween because we can feel the block getting ‘in her face’ leading into the big drive of power upwards in the last frame.
I don’t feel that my tweens have added as much life to this animation as they should have but the sequence definitely feels more fluent with 11 keys as opposed to just 6.
Looking at my frame sequence above, I notice a nice S-shape to movement. Could be a happy accident, but it hopefully means I have done something right?