After getting the OK from my lecturer on blocking stage 2 of my walk cycle, it was time to move into the first animation pass.
The first pass of animation is basically about moving from stepped tangents into animation curves.
Before doing this, you need to make sure that the walk is perfectly symmetrical and that the key positions are exactly where they need to be. Then some decisions need to be made about which type of tangent to use for which controls. The main types of controls we use are spline and plateau. The difference is easiest to explain with a screen shot. In this case I have plateau on the left and spline on the right. You can see that the spline overshoots the tangent handles –
Tangent decisions –
Plateau tangents are great when you have to work within certain parameters. The tangent will flatten out at its most extreme point- in the case of the y translates on a foot control it will ensure that the foot does not drop below ground level.
Spine tangents on the other hand are more expressive and are great for things like hips where the goal is to look as fluid as possible.
Tangent conversion –
So in the case of this walk cycle, I grab all the foot controls and convert them tho plateau and all the hips control and convert to spline.
Manually smooth curves –
The next task is to go through all the animation curves and check for anything that look like it might cause jerkyness. If there are keyframes that are not changing the direction of the curve then delete them. If there are tangents that are causing bumps in a curve for no apparent reason, then smooth them out. In some cases you may need to break tangents or free tangent weights to get it looking smooth. Remember to make these changes to all mirrored position so that everything stays symmetrical.
View the playback carefully and make any tweaks to ease-ins and outs to make the motion look the best that you can.
At this point you can select a controller and create an editable motion trail. This gives you an image of the arcs of motion as though you have traced it on the screen.
In maroon colour you can see the arc for the hips on the left (making a figure 8) and the for the right foot on the right –
I have to admit that this is the first time the value of these arcs has occurred to me!
A handy technique is to create motion trails for each of the feet, then look in the side orthagraphic view to see if there are any differences like in this case where the arcs are not perfectly aligned –
you can then fix this by selecting the frame number ON THE ARC and shifting if the match. Once you are visually aligned, it is probably still best to copy and paste the exact values but it is still a great diagnosis tool!
Now that you are happy with playback, you can make your animation cycle.
Make sure that you have infinity ticked on in the view –
Choose the curve you want to repeat to infinity and go to curves- Post infinity- Cycle
Now it repeat the frames in dotted line
As usual, I am following all the steps for my assessment Travolta strut which you can read about here: