Break the cycle: Walk cycle submission post

This is my submission post for my walk cycle.



To make this walk cycle, I made the pose to pose keyframes, then made it straight ahead between each pose. Links are below for all of my step by step posts on how I made this.

Overall I am moderately happy with this walk cycle. I feel like it need vast improvements but I’m not really sure how or where.

Break the cycle: Splining my walk cycle

I spent today splining my walk cycle. Admittedly, this is a task that I have literally been working on for weeks, but only making little progress. However, today I got a huge portion of splining done, so I felt it finally warranted a post about it.

Last time I posted, I had my main keyframes done, and today I spent time making each frame inbetween these pose to pose frames. This was a long and arduous task, however I am now satisfied with these poses between. (I forgot to loop that cycle, so for now it is just two steps, however for my final product I will work out how to loop the animation so that you can really see it.)

My next step was to go into the graph editor and smooth out this animation. I set everything to spline and looked at it, and it didn’t feel right. I asked for some opinions from my friends, and the general consensus was that the wrists looked weird, so I went back and changed some of my key frames. Previously, I decided to use broken joints to make it look more cartoon-like, however when this was splined it looked really weird and didn’t look like it was properly splined. So, I put everything back to clamped and stepped, and I took out the broken joints and instead made it look more natural. I also removed the last frame, and frame 0, because it made the leg look like it was snapping down into place, so hopefully this will look better for the final product.

Overall, I am very happy with the progress I have made on this animation. I was stuck in a rut with it for a very long time, so my progress today feels overwhelming. Everything is batch rendered and ready to put into Premier Pro tomorrow, so I am pleased to be at this point. I like how this walk cycle looks now, before I felt like I was losing hope because it didn’t look like much, however now it looks much better because it has been fully fleshed out and splined.


Break the cycle: Making my first walk cycle

For the last week, I have been trying to create a walk cycle. I hadn’t made much progress until today, so today feels like a good day to blog about it. I used the Jack rig to make this walk cycle, and spent today blocking and making the passing poses for this walk cycle.

Most of my time this week was spent on researching techniques and planning what I want to do for my animations. I planned a lot of the technical things for this animation, including the tempo for the walk, which I decided to keep realistic at walking on 12’s (even though this means annoyingly splining every frame), and I decided to make a happy upbeat walk, because it’s more fun to animate something that is full of life.

For my animation blocking, I made each 3 frames that were the frames where the model’s legs were most outstretched, because these are the most definitive poses in a walk cycle.


Then, I started to block out the passing poses in the animation. On frames 7, and 19, I made the model start to bounce up a little, and on frames 4, and 16, I made the model squish down a bit for authenticity and add a bit of vitality to it.

So far, I am confident about my animation and how it looks. I don’t think there is anything I don’t like about it currently, but I know that a lot still needs to be fixed with the graph editor, so that might be my next step, and I also might add in some more frames just to smooth out the arcs of the movements.

ImAwesome Ident project: Improved animation submission post

I spent today working on improving my ident animation. I read over Matt’s feedback which was to

  • Add more anticipation to the coffee cup’s landing
  • Smooth out the lid falling
  • Make sure there are shadows in the re-render

I then invested some time into working on the anticipation, because the timing was off for this. I decided to watch some videos on anticipation in animation, including Extra Frame’s anticipation video, and Alan Becker’s short tutorial to get some inspiration on how to go about this feedback.

I then spaced out the frames in my animation where the cup is squashed down, and changed it from 4 frames to 6, and made the cup squash a small amount further down at frame the 4th frame to make this look more smooth and less like the animation is just frozen. I also noticed that there was some issues with where the lid is positioned, so I tried my best to fix that and make it look better. I then went into the graph editor and this is where I realised that the lid’s movement’s were stuck on clamped movement, so this is why it looked terrible previously. I splined out the movements from the moment it pops off the cup, and this now looks tonnes better.

I also made some rendering changes. I tried to make some changes to the light intensity, because it was very dark in my last render, and I added a fill light to try and compensate for that, as well as slightly bumping up the intensity on the main light. I also made sure I turned on shadows for the main light, because that was one of the bigger issues last time. I also added in an actual endless white background (because previously I cheated and just made a white rectangle in Adobe Premier), I did this by making a plane, adding a ‘use background’ shader, and then selecting Environment in the camera’s attribute editor and changing the colour to white. I also turned off ‘Alpha chanel’ in the render settings so that it would register.

I then pulled the images together in Adobe Premier, and compressed the video in Handbrake, and here it is.

Overall I am now very happy with this animation, I feel like it look good now, and I am very happy with how it turned out. It is so much better with shadows, and the timing feels much better now.

ImAwesome Ident project: Ident submission post

My finished ident.

Overall, I feel that this project went well considering it is my first real animation. I tried hard to include as many principles of animation as I could, and I feel I pulled off squash and stretch, and appeal the best. I like the happy, bouncy personality that the coffee cup displays, and I tried to conserve the volume when I applied squash and stretch so that didn’t look wrong, and I feel like that worked out well. Staging worked out quite well too, I feel like people are probably drawn to what they need to be.

I still feel like there was a lot that needed to be improved. The arcs with the jumping could be improved, some of the jumps just don’t look right after rendering. And I feel like the animation is too fast and could be slower, because after adding squash and stretch I realised that it looks a bit fast. I also would have liked to add the part where it zoomed into the coffee to be added, but this would have taken the animation over the time constraint, so I couldn’t add it.

I think that if I was to come back to this ident to add more improvements, I would probably try and use the 2 spare seconds to smooth out the timings, and I also think I’d like to add some follow through to the lid, so that it lifts open and closed as the cup bounces, as this would add some more appeal to the character too.

Ident project: Splining and batch rendering my animation

Today I worked on splining and batch rendering my ident animation. I made sure that everything was blocked out, and I spent some time adding squash and stretch. At first I added too much squash and stretch, which made the animation look really weird, so I toned it down and it looked better. I then used the graph editor to smooth things out and make the curves look more natural.

Then I moved onto batch rendering. I made a camera and added a light into the scene, and then I changed my render settings to add padding and make it render in 1080p resolution. I then batch rendered my animation and compiled it into Adobe Premier Pro, added the white background, and exported it.

Coffee set up.png

I mostly like how my animation looks now. I like the appeal of my animation. The squash and stretch was a big focus with it, and this gives it a lot of personality which was my biggest aim. I think the arcs could have been better, but overall I think that the animation itself is pretty good. Something about the rendering doesn’t feel right. I think that the fact that the shadow is missing does take something away from the animation overall, which is frustrating but it’s a little too late to change. I think that if I was to improve the lighting, my animation would look better overall because the cup looks too dark and there is no shadow. I also forgot to compress it before uploading it to Vimeo, which is something I’m going to have to not do in the future, but lesson learned.

Ident project: Refining and adding more to my animation

In today’s lesson I added a little more to my animation, and started to work on smoothing out. I only used the moving tool to make my animation today, I didn’t get around to the graph editor yet, but I also used the scaling tool to add a small amount of squash and stretch to my animation. Today I added some squash and stretch to my animation, mostly around the part where the cup lands, because it squashes down, then squashes up and the lid flys off. I also added arcs to my animation, because when the lid bounces off, it follows an arc, and lands on the floor.

Currently, I think that the timing of my animation is working out well. Since the animation has to be less than 10 seconds long, it has to be quite fast paced, however my animation is 8 seconds long, and the timing of the animation doesn’t look wrong or too speedy, it looks slow and steady which to me, feels right. To improve, I now need to smooth the animation out more, because it still looks really blocky, and to do this I will use the graph editor to make things finer and smoother in the splining process. I also need to add some squash and stretch to the movements where the cup is bouncing around, because that will firstly, add more principles, and secondly look better and more natural. I am going to do that by using the scaling tool again, because it feels pointless to add a bend deformer, and I will just go through and add more squash and stretch to each keyframe, possibly adding more keyframes if necessary.