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Another week of walk practise, this time with the Neka rig:

Walk cycles are hard, especially when moving away from less cartoony characters.

I think I’m beginning to realise that more and more, a side issue of mine is that I’ve gotten into the habit of not using reference material, therefore I believe I have lost track of what makes a walk ‘feels’ right. With this latest one I did look at reference, by reference I mean real live people walking, not refined animations of walks, this way I believe you get your own interpretation of a real walk, rather than copying some other animators perspective of a particular walk (as excellent as their animation might be).

I don’t think I have got the walk quite right still, but I think it’s a step in the right direction in terms of studying real life reference more. Just got to keep practising.

Neka rig by character rigs.

Literally last minute change to this weeks exercise after learning the sad news of actor Chadwick Boseman. I wished I had more time (in what little I had left) to animate more.

Rest in peace brother.

Rig created by Ashwin Inamdar

Music created by Ludwig Goransson

More walk practise this week, this time with the BunnyEater rig:

The beast has basically spotted an unaware but tasty looking Bunny in the distance. Eyes locked, the beast proceeds to stealthily make its way over, to hunt down its prey.

With all that in mind, I’m wondering whether I should have animated it even more slower, more stealthier to emphasise the stalking notion more. Ah well.

The original concept piece by Bobby Chiu of which this rig is based on still gives me the chuckles, check it out here.

BunnyEater rig by Truong CG Artist.

I am totally addicted to these Japanese adverts.

It was only fitting I attempt to animate it, so here it is with the Symmetro rig:

I thought FK would be the way to go in terms of the arms, since they wouldn’t be locked onto anything (beside the hip), turns out IK was the easier work flow, had more control and finesse and ended up using IK arms all the way through the animation.

Rig is really really nice, same rigger that did the Deadpool rig, so expect it to be pretty intricate, highly recommended.

Symmetro rig created by Kiel Figgins.

Lotte Fits Commercial.

When it comes to the journey of becoming a good professional animator, I really love this article by Jamy Wheless about keeping your ego in check, you can check it out yourself here.

In short, Jamy’s paragraph at the end of article sums it all up pretty well:

In summary, I’ve realized that the right attitude is more important than all the talent in the world. My personal belief is 20% talent and 80% attitude will take you far in life. You have a choice every day regarding your attitude and how you conduct yourself. Believe you can improve yourself and become that person you desire to be. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” 

More walk practise, this week with that cool Mikey rig:

The premise being Mikey having THE best day in a long time, having obtained 3 boxes of pizza for free. Enjoying the moment as he slowly makes his way back to his brothers.

Most likely finishing off all pizza before he gets home.

Music was an after thought, so the timing is off somewhat, but I think it still works with the motion.

Mikey rig by Artem Dubson

Party In The USA Remix by DJ AsianTech

It’s what the name ‘Ryu’ means.

But anyway, I really enjoyed this article a while back, it discussed the animation of Street Fighter, how the move from 2D to 3D affected the look and feel of them; one key point being, the characterisation that came with the older 2D animation, was lost on their more recent 3D counterparts. Definitely worth a read if you’re so inclined.

Reading through I was reminded of how nicely animated Ryu’s idle is in StreetFighter III…

…this prompted me to try and emulate some of that characterisation onto a 3D rig, that Jaego rig came to mind courtesy of TruongCGArtist:

Out of all the components, Jaego’s black belt was the hardest to match to Ryu. In trying to match the 2D, I started to prefer the direction mine was going in, so continued with it, mine had more floppiness which I think suited my scene more.

There were no controls for Jaego’s gi, in part due to the simplistic block design. However I did attempt to shift the lower leg blocks up and down, not sure if it passes as clothes flutter though. The torso was probably more successful in this respect, I added up/down translation to simulate the gi bouncing, you see this in the original around the stomach area of Ryu.

Different from the original, was the addition of a forward and back motion to Jaego’s centre of gravity; on each bounce Jaego’s weight would be more biased over to one leg.

I’ve since found that someone else has created something similar, albeit in 3dsmax. Jonathan Abenhaim a professional animator, runs through his animation process in recreating Ryu’s StreetFighter V idle here. In fact I do believe the Jaego rig was originally created by Jonathan too, if you’re interested in the 3dsmax version of Jaego, you can find him on Jonathan’s gumroad.

Maya Jaego rig created by TruongCGArtist.

More walk practise, this week with Spider-Gwen:

Second time using this rig, previously I stated she needed much more rig/mesh refinement to hit those extreme crouch poses. What I forgot to add; the exaggerated proportions made it cumbersome posing her, it was tricky to judge what looked and felt right. For example, her palms are really long.

Aside from that, much like the Mery rig, Spider-Gwen has extra knee controls for easy knee pop fixes, loving these fine tuners and I’m beginning to think, that for me personally, these are a must have for all rigs.

Spider-Gwen rig created by Alex Salmar

Deadpool don’t dab, he just Vossi bop:

After the Prince Charming moves, I figured I should venture slightly more into dance style animation, get out of my comfort zone a little more. Also this would be a chance to finally sample that Deadpool rig I’ve seen floating about.

Generally speaking, whenever a beat is involved, the timing is constant for the most part, so when animating, the spacing between key frames is also constant to match. For example, the WalkingEgg animation I did a while back, by just making the WalkingEgg bob up and down to a small section of the tune, when looped for longer, it would still sync up perfectly with the remainder of the music.

With Vossi Bop, either I’ve overlooked something or, the beat is purposely irregular on this tune, whatever the reason, I had to approach it more manually, making sure all the key frames coincide with each beat. Time consuming to do, but it did make the motion feel a little more organic. The main purpose of this exercise, was to get into the frame of mind of animating to a beat, hoping to do dance animations in future posts.

What I love about this Deadpool rig is the IK/FK arm joint visibility channels, making IK/FK switching achievable without the need for a script, even though it does provide you with one, fantastic job by Kiel Figgins.

Deadpool rig by Kiel Figgins

Vossi Bop by Stormzy (I used Instrumental version)


Walk practise again, this time with the Mery rig:

Where creating walk cycles are concerned, I most certainly encounter knee pops, for me it’s primarily one of two things:

  • Over stretching the legs.
  • That weird three frame ‘bent knee, straight knee, bent knee’ scenario; the heel makes contact with the ground (knee bent), foot flattens to the floor on next frame (knee straightens), next frame weight comes (knee bends again.)

Luckily for me, Mery is one of those rigs that contains an extra knee controller perfect for alleviating knee pops. Straight knee? Not a problem just make it bend more, too much knee bending?? Fear not, just straighten it out more. This is the first time I’ve used such a controller, really impressed by it, as without it, it would be a combination of adjusting the position of hips, stride length, heel lift, ball lift etc… to achieve the same thing that the knee controller does so easily.

Gonna miss it the next walk cycle I do, and the rig is missing such knee controllers.

Mery rig created by José Manuel García Alvarez and Antonio Francisco Méndez Lora.