Progress Report – Week 14

Hello again, some more updates on my animations. Probably my last progress report before hand-ins.

The drunk guy walking into a pole animation is still pretty much done. I did some tweaks as he falls down to the ground at the end. From the timing it appears almost like ragdoll physics which is unexpected but I like it. Its definitely not realistic but for an animation its totally acceptable.

The sword swing animation has been really tough. I had to re-do the arm in FK because IK was just not working out. I’ve also discovered just having a character do anything that has them rotate their body is painful to do with 3D animation (I guess like any animated format?). Trying to keep the sword swinging 360 in a consistent pace is hard, I chose to use IK in the arms for that sole reason to keep the sword moving in nice timing but the arm snapping was much more distracting.

As the sword and/or body does sort of slow down from time I am going to work with this putting in some rotation in the body in the opposite direction (i.e. up and down) so that it appears as if he is fighting with the swords momentum. This may help to make the motion of the sword appear more natural.

I am pretty happy with the footwork though, this was also hard to predict as you can only do so much with animatics, you kind of have to work out where his feet go as his body spins and hopefully keep the balance correct. I think I did this quite well considering how I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how the rest of the animation turned out.

The spell casting animation is one I am pretty happy with. Although not perfect the timing for this animation is a bit better, maybe too slow towards the end but I’ll get to that in a minute. I like the hand actions and how the interact with the orb but I’m not too sure if they are “epic” enough for the brief (at least at the start) but there is a margin of change I seem to be getting away with for the rest of the animations so I should be fine.

As for the hands at the end, another Maya technical weirdness I had to contend with. The initial keyframes for the hands and arms wasn’t getting the motion I wanted. Maya was doing that weird thing where the arms would flop around through the body before getting to their designated positions. I’ve fixed these type of problems before with the graph editor but this one was going to require more keyframes just to set the arms on the right path. I got them to do what I wanted in the end but I wanted to make them quicker. I will definitely try and correct this before hand-ins.

The stream jumping animation was interesting, I still struggle to animate any convincing run animation. It appears as if the character is being careful of her footing rather than running, which in a way works for this setting as it is hazardous after all. Again timing was an issue here, the actions themselves seemed decent enough, they were just sometimes a little jittery from the timing.

The story in the animation changed a little bit from the animatic, instead of losing balance on the rock the way the character’s momentum was working I though it’d be better to just continue with the jump and using her arms and legs to balance hereself as she was doing that. I feel that was better than trying to stop to balance when it didn’t really need it.

Finally, the desk flip animation has been working out fine. Although not the main purpose of the animation, the typing part worked surprisingly well. I was happy with the main action of the table flipping and I think this is one of my better animations for telling a little narrative. Having thought of this one last I think it was the result of learning from experience.

On a side note, rendering stuff in Maya 2013 is weird. I picked the exact same render settings as in Maya 2011 but it decides to do that weird thing where the video flickers and its cut in half and stretched diagonally? I don’t even know how but… Maya. Anyway, I rendered the video uncompressed which works then used MPEG Streamclip to compress the videos right back down to an acceptable level.

Long post, well hand-ins are this week so I better get back to work.

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