Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gimbal Locks!

OK, so working on my 11 Second Club animation, I stumbled across one problem: Gimbal Locks. What are those? A good explanation can be found here.

What I understood about them is that a Gimbal Lock occurs when two axis meet each other, i.e. they have the same orientation. Check the link above for a better explanation! :P

Anyways, what should you do when you have them? You can find a lot of information about how to avoid them, but what about when they are already there? Well, I found two ways around this problem.

The first one is to switch from IK to FK. This is the first solution I came up with. However, it can be a VERY tedious process. The second solution will work better during the first linear pass or during the blocking process (Gimbal Locks are another good reason to do the blocking in linear, since in stepped mode you won't be able to see them). You'll have to copy ONLY the ORIENTATION key from the previous key to the key that is screwing your nice animation. Get it?

OK, an example. Let's say in frames 40 and 50 you have these nice poses on the right hand. However, the way the hand goes from frame 40 to 50 defies human mechanics by far. Check the following video for an example:

What I did was to copy the orientation key from frame 40 to 50. Once you do this, you might have to adjust the new orientation in frame 50, but that's far more easy than switching from IK to FK. Another complication is that all the following orientation keys will be screwed up. But no worries, the time you'll spend repeating this process of copying on orientation key to the next one and readjusting is not that bad, and the animation will look far better. Oh! and do NOT copy the other keys (position, scale, CAs, etc) since it will (badly) mess up you nice pose.

OK, this are my two cents in this subject. I wanted to write about something else, but I forgot.

C U next time!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

11 Second Club August Competition!

After not being able to find a good, creative and funny concept for the 11 Second Club June's competition, I decided this month is a go! I've been blocking my scene last week in stepped-mode, and today I moved to linear.

To be honest, I must be doing something wrong, because I find passing from stepped to linear way too complicated. I'm feeling I have a better understanding of timing if go directly to linear and avoid going through stepped. As I said, it must be me, because everywhere I read it says the same thing: workflow is stepped-linear-spline.

The first time I entered the 11SC I worked on linear from the beginning, but I make the mistake of trying to emulate the stepped mode through linear tangents. What I mean is that every pose was duplicated, marking the starting and ending pose. As you can imagine, it didn't turned out well. Now I've realized that when blocking in linear, you still have to keep in mind that the spline tangents are coming next, and linear and stepped are two different things (Duh!).

Anyway, next month I'll do the whole first passes in linear (taking into consideration my latest discovery) and see what I get. For now, you can find my postings on this month's competition in the Youtube link below.

Actually, here is my first blocking pass:

As you can see, I've done a bad staging. When you see the video, your eyes go back and forth between both characters, when they should stay focused on one of them (the one to the right in your screen is the main character, the other one is Charlie).

I recognized two mistakes here: The secondary character has poses as strong as the main one, if not stronger. Second, both characters share the same amount of space in the screen, making it difficult to recognize which one is the one to see.

I fixed this (I guess) by:
- Adjusting the camera, putting in the center of your screen the main character, and Charlie more to the left.
- And changing the poses on the secondary character
- I'll still try to play with the lighting and the colors of their clothes to increase the attention on the main character.

In the next playblast, you'll see that when the main character is talking, Charlie is doing nothing. And when the main character is not talking, Charlie is doing his "thing". Let's see how it goes. I still have to do the playblast on the second pass, but I'm still adjusting my now-linear curves.

Stay tuned!


Friday, August 7, 2009

A new animation!

I've just finished a new animation... It's the Roboball in disguise! :P

I animated Tyson Ibele's Roboball ( for my Lights ans FX class. I think the end result is good, though the animation is extremely fast since I didn't had much time to do the rendering. The whole animation is 240 frames, and each frame took about 10 min to render, so I had to put everything in the less amount of frames as possible.

Here is the video! I hope you like it and leave a comment if you have any critique.

And thanks to Tyson for the rig!