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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't let the computer do the work for you!

I got an email with very interesting questions and I think the answers would be helpful to the class as well (in case you have the same questions or thoughts).

> On a somewhat different matter, I've got a question regarding animating itself. I'm still having a hard time doing the convertion from 2D to 3D. In 2D it seems to be a lot easier because I control the animation by use of drawing each frame. In 3D the user is supposed to let the application do the inbetweens for you,
Nooooooooo! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! :) You can still "draw" every frame. It just takes long because posing out a character is not as fast as drawing a character. But at the end you are in control over every frame, don't let the computer do the thinking for you.
> so the thing thats racking my brain is the placement of keys and how many is too much/too little. As you mentioned, I can place keys about every 5 frames, which makes the whole 2D to 3D a little easier to convert but seems to defeat the purpose of letting the application do the in-betweens for you,

again, don't let it do anything for you. There are moments where I have keys on every frame, sometimes every now and then, it depends on the move and the controller. Some parts of your body will move more than others, necessitating more keyframes. There is no rule as to how many you have to use, as long as it looks good. If you have 5 main poses and then you do everything in the graph editor in terms of timing, go ahead. If you want to key out all the detail stuff, that's fine too.
> plus seems like an easier way to mess up with pops and such. The other way is how I've been taught thus far; main Poses, then break downs, then polish. When doing this timing of the main poses is good but I kinda lose it as I smooth the stuff out. Although I prefer this, I haven't had a whole lot off success with the end result.

The polish stuff is the hardest thing to do and it takes practice. Also, watch other people's clips to see what type of detail they put into their work. If you think that it looks like a good polished clip, try to find out why.
> As I was looking at you animations I started looking at your soccer performance frame by frame just as he hits the pole. If I am correct it looks as if you animated every pose from the hit till the final bounce onto the ground.

Yes I did, I wanted maximum control. But I don't know if that clip is good reference. :) That was Maya 1 and me using Maya for the first time. I think the "Ze Chair" clip is better, because I was actually aware of the animation principles.

> So, is it suffice to say that on slower actions use minimal amount of keys to let Maya do the inbetweens for you and with fast motion, do it your self?

That's kinda right, depending on the style. For realistic animation you have to add a lot of dirt to your animation if he/she/it is just standing there for instance, to add more subtle complexity to it. But with fast motion I end up keying every frame because since it is so fast (whatever you're doing), it needs to be clear in terms of silhouette, staging, timing, etc. and that's something you need to be in control of, not the computer.

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