Continuing from my work last week, I created more animation tests and began to model environment assets. I have already created simple walk cycles for both characters and I decided to create a more in-depth animation with one of the characters this week.
I decided to animate the dog in greater detail as practice with a quadruped is needed more than a typical person. I created about eight seconds of animation of the dog walking, jumping up, and jumping down. The biggest challenge of a jump animation, and most animation in general, is ensuring that the weight looks right. If the weight is believable, then the whole animation looks that much more real. The importance of weight is exaggerated in a jump specifically. Therefore, I put most of my effort into the moments when the dog left the ground and the moments of impact after the jump.
The workflow for my animation was to block out the major moves of the dog’s root and legs/paws first. Then, I added motion to his body, neck, and head. After these looked good enough, I refined the motions and added more in-between keys for the root and legs. Finally, I animated the tail after the motion of his body was already laid out. This hierarchy of work definitely simplified the process of properly capturing weight and movement in the dog’s body. It also allowed me to confidently create secondary motion in the dog’s ears and tail.
As for modeling environment assets, I worked on plants this week. Each member of the team modeled at least three plants for our animation so that we can quickly create a solid bank of unique plants to populate our scenes with. I modeled a curly, vine-like plant, a fern, and an exotic flower this week. I also spent time to create some basic rock formations to help fill out the environment.
Next week I intend to continue with environment assets, create matte paintings for the skies, and refine the shot-by-shot thumbnails of my scene. This is in addition to the weekly animation tests.