We were finally handed a biped character this week. Actually creating the character ourselves is something not yet in our grasp, so we’re simply attempting to animate it in a semi-realistic manner. From what I’ve learnt so far, the trick with character animation is to give the illusion of real-world physics, but to push the boundaries of those physics, making it hyper-real and expressing a degree of character through that artistic license.
After my short video for Intro to Digital Media this time last year, it seems that skaters are a recurring theme in my study. I decided to revisit the skater for the biped character because of the interesting possibilities in the movement of a skater. There are clear shifts in weight as well as plenty of anticipation, follow through and overlapping to get into the animation.
This clip is the well known intro for the Lakai Fully Flared skate video, directed by Spike Jonze. I posted it previously on our class forum and thought it would be a good basic reference for my first use of the biped character: a simple three keyframe animation.
Only using three key poses made any real movement difficult, so I focused on the pushing up from a board into a full leap. I tried to get as much expression of the energy transferring through the legs as possible (and finally a video from Maya, as promised)…
…I’m not totally happy with the result, but with the lack of a clear reference, I needed to let this one go before I went steadily insane. The next step should be far more interesting.
Filming a very basic skating sequence (push to ollie) from the front and side, this should come together nicely to make a cycling animation. Because of restrictions within the brief, there will be no skateboard, but I think that will create an interesting challenge of getting across the movement without a prop. And the skater obviously won’t be moving forward in space. This isn’t a real issue though, as a lot of animation is based on these kind of cycles (think The Flinstones, cycling legs in front of a moving background).
I broke this sequence down into five main key poses:
- Standing upright on board
- Push on board
- Crouch in preparation for jump
- Jump peak
- Landing jump
I’m looking forward to getting to work on this one – it’s got potential to be quite a strong sequence.