I’ve done with the blendshapes for Art’s character. Now it is the time for animating from his blocking!
Art gives me the first 2 shots of his blocking. He has already set the key poses in his blocking and he wants me to adjust the graph editor for smooth animation, to add some sense of weight to the charater’s movement, and to do some offset or overlapping action. I’ve finished the 1st draft of the 1st shot.
Here’s the before and after of the 1st shot, plus the 2nd shot that is going to be my next task.
I found out that doing animation for someone else’s blocking is actually quite difficult because my convention in key framing is different than his and since i did not do the blocking myself, I don’t know which joints has movement, and there are like almost 30 joints! Art’s key framing convention is that if I adjust a joint at a keyframe, I need to key every joint at that particular key frame too even though it is not moved. That means, every joint will have exactly the same position or pattern of keyframes in the timeline. The way I work is I have to click every joint, one at a time, and check the graph editor to see which joint has the curve which represents to movement in the actual animation.
Not an easy task at all! This one took me around 6 hours to finish the first draft.
When Art sees my 1st draft, he gives comments that the 2nd movement’s offset should be earlier and I should add some more subtle movements so that the character won’t be too still and not alive.
Here’s my 2nd edition after Art’s comment.
Working with an experienced person helps me learn. Art teaches me that when animating I should mainly check the result at the rendering camera view, and put aside other view because that rendering camera is what needs to be most beautiful and is what the audience will see. Also, he teaches me about working with sound in Maya, which I’ve never learnt abou this before. He shows me an easy way to animate which is having different monitors of Maya opening at the same time so I can control things faster.
I had a problem linking the texture files and the character rig file reference every time I open the file even though I set the project before opening it, so I consult this with Art. Finally he finds out that it is because he doesn’t put the texture files in the right folder of Maya project. This doesn’t only affect in my working but the files also doesn’t work in render farm as well. The texture will not render out properly if he has his textures in the wrong place. So, I think it’s good that he notices this at early stage so that he won’t have to deal with this problem when it’s time to render things out!
My next task is the 2nd shot. In this one I’ll have to deal with the lip-sync, fully animating Bob, the bee, and again making Jimmy, the flower and main guy, move in a smooth and overlapping motion.