cmiVFX has released the brand new Animation in Maya video title. Christopher Tedin will take the beginning student through the challenging process of creating a walk cycle. He will explore many of the fundamental principles of animation. The first series will "walk you through" a walk cycle. This complex motion will be broken down into simple major poses, adding mirrored poses, breakdown keys and timing by the end of the sequence. Next, you will create a run cycle using a similar approach. By the end, you will have 2 clips that you can use for game animation. Loop them in Maya's Trax editor with offsets. Finally, you will create a more sophisticated jump sequence from start to finish. Explore how to begin the project, doing the strong poses first, then tweaking the timing for a polished finish. The series is a foundational start and an exploration of the process, so make sure to use these steps to create your own animated sequences.
Here is a brief introduction to concepts of creating character animations in Autodesk Maya.
First, we take a look at a typical rig for animation. We are using the "Eleven Rig", but feel free to use your own. We explore the controls and setting up your environment for efficient animation.
A walk cycle is a series of controlled falls. Getting your character balanced is an important first step in the process.
Taking the first steps is challenging. Where do you start? We take you through the first poses, namely the "plant" and "crossing" poses of a basic walk cycle. We are using IK feet as well as hands, posing the character in strong, but natural poses, checking silhouettes throughout the process.
After setting up the first 2 poses, we will mirror them to the other side for a complete walk cycle.
We create good breakdown poses for the feet and arms, making sure there are good arcs and proper planting.
We repeat the walk cycle process with a run cycle. The poses are a little more extreme, and a little different, but the process is similar.
Mirror the poses for the complete run cycle "key poses".
Adding a few more poses to create the solid illusion of weight and strength, we spread the keys apart for good timing of the run cycle..
Adding proper finesse to the run cycle is where the animator spends the majority of his or her time. Make sure you are using good reference as well as a great imagination!
You will be introduced to the Trax editor in Maya so that you can cycle the animation. You will save animation clips, edit them together for longer sequences and offset the animation across the 3D space.
Set up the major poses for the jumping sequence. This takes time, so be patient and don't rush the process. There will be some technical challenges along he way, and we will address how to solve them with this rig.
Getting the timing of the jump is important, or it doesn't feel natural or have the "snap" we're looking for.
More than the walk and jump cycle, this sequence takes a lot of polish before it has the sense of weight and arc motions, so the instructor spends time tweaking the sequence.
Born in Sitka, Alaska, Chris started his career as a painter and sculptor. He has been working as an illustrator, graphic designer, and most recently as an college instructor in Chicago, Illinois. He has been teaching game design and animation for over 20 years. His students now work as animators and professional game designers at Blue Sky Studios, Digital Domain, Aardman/Sony, Microsoft, and as freelance independent artists. Many of his students are now college teachers themselves. He started in the early days with Strata StudioPro, then 3ds Max version 1.0, Maya 2.0, and Softimage 3.8. He currently uses Maya, 3ds Max, Houdini, Cinema 4D, Clarisse and Fusion. Chris still sculpts and paints and is the Academic Chair at Tribeca Flashpoint College in Chicago.
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