Week 9 is over and that means I only have three weeks left of Class 1! This week, we had to take our blocking of a vanilla walk and convert it over to smooth tangents and polish it for a completed animation.
This process is where you can really spend an almost infinite amount of time tweaking your shot to get it to look “perfect”. However, there is a saying in the animation industry that
“Your animation is never finished, it just gets taken away from you.”
The biggest issue I ran into during the polishing phase of this animation is the same one that they warned us about during the lecture and just about all the other students I know had the same problems to work through. It was “Knee Pops” or IK Popping. With a character like Ballie it is even more noticeable because he has perfect spheres for knees and in real-life knees do not look or function like that, but because these exercises are simplified for learning purposes it’s just something we have to work with and try to get it to look as good as possible. The reason why these “pops” happen is because to really sell the walk you have to make sure you have the “straight leg” poses on both the contact and the push off poses. These really give the illusion of weight and they must be held for 2-3 frames for the viewer to feel as if it really is extending its leg. I worked and worked on this walk until the last minute and hoped to get some good feedback.
I was very excited when my mentor gave me my critique and only had some very minor changes to make to my walk! I was afraid I had too much popping even though I spent a ton of hours trying to polish this assignment, until a point where I could only see flaws. My mentor suggested I extend the legs over a longer number of frames, so that it doesnt snap out to a straight leg quite so fast. He also said I should speed up my up and down rotation by a couple of frames so that it happens sooner. Other than that, he said it looked very good, and that made me really happy!
Along with the polishing of a walk, we had to pose Stu showing “Concern”. Overall, I got some minor changes from my mentor on my pose but for the most part he said it was a very strong pose and I had done a good job portraying the idea of concern quite well.
We are coming up on our last actual animation assignment for the class and it is another two week long assignment where we create a Personality Walk. So stay tuned for more updates on that!