Howdy everyone! It's week 11 and we're almost done! But not so fast! You gotta spline those character walks.
So you sit down at your computer, and re-watch your blocking. It looks cool. It makes sense. The timing works and you're excited. Then you select all your keys and convert to spline.
Play that animation back and.....uh oh, what happened?! It's all mushy and slow and why is this happening?!
Well first and foremost, take a deep breath and stay calm. Organized chaos is what animation feels like sometimes, huh? You block it all out, and then blow it up! Finally you piece it back together.
Here's some advice that I try to remind myself of from time to time:
Blocking is merely your guideline. Don't fall in love with it, because you'll be changing a lot of things.
Take one thing at a time. By the end of this week you'll have smoothed those curves, nailed the feet, fixed the overshoots, and delete unnecessary keys. But once again, one thing at a time!
Here's a great Trooper Tip from Anders Ancker that will help you tremendously when working with splines. I know he says Week 12, but this helps this week :)
I was always told to start with the main force, in this case the hips. Regardless of what your character walk is like, try and think of your hips as a bouncing ball. Now maybe your walk is fast, slow, hangs in the air a long time, or whatever. You'll just make that bouncing ball bend the rules a bit.
Next open up your graph editor and work on one attribute at a time. For instance I like to start with the Translate Y.
Flatten the highs and lows first. You don't want any overshoots because it might break the rig at the ankles. Next I like to smooth out EACH AND EVERY key so that the tangents are smooth along the curve.
So you may start out with a curve like this:
Then you smooth it out and it will look like this:
Eventually you will go in and delete keys and work with the curve itself, and it may look like this:
But don't delete keys yet! Just smooth those curves. It's easy to delete them later, but harder to get them back if you need it!
So I do this for each attribute for the hips.
It sometimes helps to hide Ballie's legs to focus on the hips. To do this, Select Ballie's MAIN control (The nurbs circle on the ground around him). In the channel box you'll see two attributes: Left and Right Leg Visibility. Click them both to OFF and there you go!
Once you think you have the hips nice and smooth, work on nailing down the feet.
Flatten the keys where the feet should be on the ground and smooth out each attribute like you did to the hips.
Here's where I recommend playblasting your animation and posting it for public review. Find out if any of your timing needs to change and try not to fret, this is only spline pass number 1! Out of....ONE MILLION! MWAHAHA! Well maybe not that many :)
Take a break and when you feel comfortable with any feedback received, start your next spline pass.
Now you can start deleting keys and making the tangents take care of those wide and shallow curves.
Good luck this week and let me know if you have any questions!