Saturday, 28 April 2012

Moom action sequence blocking

For the 3rd and final component of the Digital Skills brief we're to animate a character "action" sequence based on the reference footage we shot last week with Jon; in a fit of genius, I opted to do a guy sitting on something sharp. The result is 10 seconds of footage with lots of walk cycles and shifting weight. Gulp.

Here's the reference; you'll notice from my delighted expression and cheerful disposition that I absolutely adore being on camera. Hence why Sam is acting for me...

Should have picked something simple...!

Nonetheless, I've thumbnailed it all out and started blocking in my sequence (I'll post up my progression and planning later on when I have a little more time) - in the meantime, here's the blocked shot thus far:

At the time, I was getting myself in a right tizz over it; feeling extremely overwhelmed and quite stressed. I didn't even have a clue where to begin with cleaning it up (still a bit shaky) but looking at it after a slightly better night's sleep with fresh eyes I don't think it's as bad as I'd first thought. It's problematic, sure, but it's only the first block. In terms of movement it's looking okay; the biggest issues as I can identify them are the fact that he doesn't actually sit on the chair. This was stupidity on my part. Even with the aid of multiple angles it's quite difficult to track the movement of the reference footage and translate that onto Moom - it requires quite good analysis of depth and space. I was blocking his walk and thinking it actually looked okay and that he was going in the right direction, until I actually reached the end and realised he wasn't in front of the chair. I tried just moving the chair so that it was in the correct position but unfortunately that didn't exactly work. He ended up walking straight through it!

It's entirely possible to fix, but to be honest I might in fact just trim the shot a little to cut out the beginning part. I do really like the idea of keeping it in but in the interest of my sanity and making this as stress-free as possible, I'm looking to simplify things as much as I can. The walk to the chair certainly adds character to the shot but it does complicate matters. I think I'll work on refining the actual drop into and leap out of the chair first of all; depending how long that takes, I may go back at the end and try tweaking the beginning.

I think the best course of action for the moment would be to start refining the core parts of the body - the chest and hips, in this instance. There's no point trying to look at the arms or legs and feet or even the head until that's all refined; the chest/shoulders and hips drive those body parts, so if the movement there isn't correct then the arms won't look right no matter what I do.

The problems I see so far are that the chest/hips are a little inconsistent; they tilt a bit haphazardly and don't necessarily move in favour of where the body's weight is. Moom also leans forward a bit too early - as we can see from the reference in the background Sam doesn't actually lean forward until his last step. I need to keep Moom's chest tilted backwards until that moment.

I think I'll just go back and identify the points where Sam's chest/hips are tilted or twisted at their most extreme, mimic that and perhaps allow Softimage to handle most of the interpolation between those two points automatically. That should provide me with relatively logical movement onto which I can start looking at the shoulders and legs!

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