Homework for this week is to animate a ball trying to jump above a wall - the idea is to experiment with some more advanced keyframe tweaks using the fcurve editor to really nail the timing and get some personality into the ball. I'm going to start by
Again, started by just roughly making a quick plan of how I wanted the ball to move. I scrawled out some beautiful and accurate drawings of the ball in the various poses that I would need, before moving on to figuring out their relative positions against the wall. Then I spread them out so I could see them more clearly and get a feel for how many keyframes I would need to lay down to get started.
The fact that it's such a simple animation certainly helps, but it's amazing how much a bit of forward planning streamlines the process. Within about 15 minutes I came up with something that's actually quite workable:
It's all done using the basic transformation tools - the wall is simply a squashed cube, the floor is a grid and the ball is a sphere. The sphere was animated using keyframes on the translation and scale parameters - following Jon's advice I animated one parameter at a time to save confusion, starting with the translation. When I was happy with that movement I added in the squash and stretch using the scale tool. It really helps to keep things simple and organised!
The next task is to mess around with the timing. I think the overall speed of the bounce is too slow so I'll probably shift everything a little closer together to speed it up a bit, before cracking into the fcurve editor to muck around with the timings on the jump/fall.
I'm aiming to have the ball spring into the air with relative speed, slowing down as it reaches the peak of its jump. I'll have it hang briefly in the air for a moment before hurtling back towards the ground. That should hopefully get me more accustomed to using the fcurves so that I can more confidently start mucking around and experimenting with other timings!