Character Animation: Animating Weight in Autodesk Maya | Yone Santana | Skillshare

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Character Animation: Animating Weight in Autodesk Maya

teacher avatar Yone Santana, Animator & Coach

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Scene Set Up


    • 4.

      Clear Sihouette


    • 5.

      Initial Timing


    • 6.

      Responsive Anticipation


    • 7.

      Favouring Strong Keys


    • 8.

      Add Impact


    • 9.

      Breaking joints


    • 10.

      Apex 1 - Sword Constraints


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About This Class

The issue with 3D animation is that it just looks too smooth. Everyone is  capable of visually judging weight but students struggle to add weight to their animations. Stop battling against your rig and getting caught up in the graph editor! We are going to cover an actionable and repeatable workflow. That will enhance the sense of weight in your animations. 

During this class students will get a strong understanding of how to design and animate a combat scene. Focusing on creating a heavy attack that demonstrates appealing weight. We will cover the theories behind weight, gravity and momentum. Follow Yone as he takes you step by step through his thought process. The workflow includes creating key poses, timing, overlapping action, moving holds and overshoots. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Yone Santana

Animator & Coach



My name is Yone Santana and I’m a freelance animator, currently living and working in the UK. I love sharing the knowledge and skills I have picked up during my career and turning them into easy to follow tutorials. I’ve also had the great fortune of also teaching all things Maya for over 10 years at a university level.


You can find me on Twitter and learn more about Maya on my Youtube Channel.

If you want to learn the core skills to become an animator, then you are in the right place.

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Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: hi and welcome to animating with Wait a character animation class where I'll be showing you how toe unbelievable weight to your three D animations. Normally, when you learn how to animate Wait, you're pushing and lifting heavy objects and simple exercises. But I thought we could do something more fun and jump straight into combat training. You're gonna be designing your own attack animation, and I'm gonna be showing you how to make it more heavy and impactful. We're going to start off with by taking an overview of the animation that we're going to create during the class, and you can choose to follow along with me or create your own attack animation. From there, I'm going to give you a workflow that will break that animation down into bite size chunks so you can start making informed decisions about where the wait goes in your poses and how to create some great timing from the start. Afterwards, we'll dive deeper into looking at the body, and the effect that weight has on it, along with other forces on will finish off by applying the animation principles to improve the appeal and readability of your shop. So hi, My Name's Johnny, and I'm a three D character animator living in the UK Most of my work has been in commercials, and now I'm working in the video game industry. I also run a small YouTube channel where I teach all things about Maya. To complete this class, you will need access to a computer with any version of Maya and a free three D character rig. During the class. I'll be using some free plug ins for Maya, but they're completely optional, and you don't need to use them in order to complete the class. This is an intermediate level class where to make the most of it, students should be comfortable posing a character inside of Maya and having a basic understanding of the principles of animation. If you're just starting out, you might find some of my other classes on skill share more useful. Where I talk about the fundamentals of character animation, I've created this class for anybody who wants to improve their body mechanics for animation and three D character animated struggling to create believable wait for their scenes. Two D animators might find this content useful, too, as the principles I use a easily transferrable into two D animation. So during the class, follow me on skill share and you can chat with me on the community page. Remember to follow me on social media and let's create some great combat animation. I can't wait to see what you can come up with in class. 2. Class Project: Hello, everybody, and welcome to the class. The purpose of this video is to give you an overview of the animation that will be creating throughout the class project and to highlight some of the problems and challenges that you'll have as you try to apply the material of developing weight to your own animations. The inspiration for this class was that creating believable weight is a problem that all beginners struggle with. And it's also a problem that's much more common inside three D animation as Myers set up by default to create very smooth and flowing like animation. Now, if we want to create believable wait, we have to start off by telling Maya how the physics of the weight and gravity actually influences our character on. That's by creating key frames, not necessarily by going into effects and dynamics and trying to build on actual physics system. We're gonna be creating the animation for a heavy attack. And to keep things simple, I'll be animating everything using stepped keys. You can use that sword which comes along with the class, or you can also download any other three D assets, and I encourage you to try and design your own animations should you feel you have the skill level Now, In its essence, all that weight is is just how long an object takes to accelerate and how long it takes to come to a stop or change direction. I don't want to get too much caught up in the idea of physics because we're really just trying to show weight visually. Now we're gonna work in the normal method that we would animate, adding key poses, considering the spacing and thinking about our animation principles. But now we're actually gonna focus on actually thinking about acceleration on momentum of this heavy sword and how it affects the body. So another inspiration for this class was that the Ronan rig comes with this tiny child side sword, and to me it looks strange because to my eyes it looks a little bit more like a dagger than a sword. And it got me thinking that if Ronan's an 11 year old boy, then a proper two handed sword would be actually taller than here's because it's fashioned for an adult. So even if we compare the signs of both swords, you can visually start to tell that it's really gonna be much harder to lift and swing the heavy one than the smaller one. So one thing that I want to point out is that weight and animation does not need to be physically accurate. Ronan is a fantasy character on. We don't need to get caught up with the idea of if it's even physically possible for him to lift up. A sword of this size of Japanese anime has gone away with people running around with giant swords for years. I'm sure that you can agree that animation is just a little bit of fun of designed to small workflow to allow you guys to stay on track with the class and takes an actionable steps in order to improve the weight inside of your animation will start by defining some clear silhouettes for our poses, then moving on to creating some early timing for are seen. Then we'll worry about creating responsive anticipation. House of Favor. Strong keys to make the animation clearer, create impacts with your overshoots and follow through action and how to break the joints in order to make the animation more fluid. There is a pdf included with the class that you can download, and I recommend you print it and have it next to you on your desk so you can tick off each step as you go completing it. And that way you can stay on track. One piece of advice that I give you is that I've given you this. Workflow is a series of steps, but they don't necessarily have to be done in order. If you're struggling with a specific step, it's perfectly fine to skip over it and go to the next one. This might be because you haven't got enough experience yet, or maybe there's just not enough detail in your timeline yet for that specific part. To be clear, I recommend that you work in passes in your animation and go over it multiple times, refining it each time you can take off parts that you've completed, but it's an overall process that you might have to adjust little by little as you work on the animation and refine it further as we go, creating more refined versions of the animation, I encourage you to keep saving play blasts by right clicking on the timeline and saving different versions of your Sina's videos. It's a really good idea. Is a beginner to document your animation process because after working on a shop for a while, you can lose track of all the progress you've made, and you get a really good feeling when you can look back and actually see how your short has been progressing. So all you need to do now is share your work with the community. Getting feedback is the best way of improving your work as an animator, and I'm always online, and I enjoy reading all of your questions and looking at the work that you come up with. Take advantage of the skill ship projects page and share your work with other students and give yourselves some positive feedback. I can't wait to see what great projects you come up with in class. 3. Scene Set Up: just before getting started with creating clear silhouette ads were going to do a little bit of set up in our scene. You just need to download the heavy sword, which comes with the class, and choose a free character rig that you wish to work with. I'm also going to be adding a Web link to just so bills Ronan rig into the resource is page . Just in case you want to use the same Rick that I'm using to attach the sword to the rigs hand, we would just align the sword in the view port to the palm of the hand and close the fingers around it to make sure that the poses nice. Then you can just add a parent constrained by going into the animation tool said, and choosing constraints, parent constraint on taking the option to maintain offset If you had technically savvy and would like to know more about how to create a system that would let you change the sword between hands as he animate, then check out the first appendix video where I go into a more detailed look about how you can animate using constraints 4. Clear Sihouette: we're gonna create our key poses, keeping in mind the weight of the sword. When the body lifts up a heavy object, it's gonna create an effect on the pose. And the body has to make small adjustments to keep itself in balance. These adjustments will be visible in the hips, chest, head, even the arms. So you want to make sure that those elements were present as we go creating our poses to begin with, I'm only interested in blocking out to keep poses the initial idol pose where he's holding up the sword on the final swing of the attack. So in the timeline, I'm gonna go from idle to attack and then back toe idol, making sure that the animation loops I'm gonna go. Then after I've set this framework down to frame 22 create an anticipation pose where I can show, run and dropping the sword down before that big swing. And as I go back from the attack animation into the idol again, I'm going to describe this with two poses. And that's just a choice I made because I wanted to the return of the sword back to Idol to be a very long swing, and it just seemed wrong. Just have one pose in between because I really wanted it to drag along the ground as he lifts it up on frame 70 and then to really emphasize that he's lifting it heavily back up on frame 85. So I'm emphasizing the weight of the sword by looking at the body and seeing it as a collection of joints and levers. And really, I'm seeing where the drag and the lead is placed in each one of these poses. I'm gonna make sure that they work from the camera that I'm rendering this out from, but also making sure that it works in three D space. One very important element of thes poses is that they seem to be either flowing or in balance from all directions, because that will really help later on, when I'm trying to actually go in between those poses. So I'm trying to make these key poses as strong as I possibly can make them. Now we can evaluate how successful the poses are by looking at this a wet I'll just make sure the background is hidden, and I will reveal the lights by pressing the show lights button in the View port, which, as I don't have any lights in this scene, we're gonna only see Roland's silhouette when doing this process, I'm looking to see if the silhouette is easy to read at a glance. This is a concept I'll come back to again and again during this section by reducing the amount of visual information on screen and ensure that the poses visually clear. The things that I pay attention to are the outline of the figure to making sure that it's clear imbalance, and also that it's readable in which direction he's looking at. And I'm also looking, especially at the angle of the sword. Pay attention to the guard of the sword, and you'll always see that it's facing towards the camera. As I stepped through, you'll see that it's never parallel with the camera. This again, is something that makes it much more readable. One of the things to watch out for is when you have overlapping shapes in your silhouette. Keep the sword separate from the body like this, and you see that that little space between the head on the sword makes it better. You might have toe push your poses so that everything has its own place. But even if this motion was very quick, would have enough visual information for the audience to be able to see it. So once you've gone through all your poses and adjusted the silhouette, we're gonna apply another technique on top of it where we're going to draw a simple rectangle over the pose. This is to simplify the overall shape of the body down into a single geometric shape. However, we're gonna be looking at how that rectangle changes its shape between pose to pose. This is a great way of making sure that our key poses are not too similar to one another. As we animate, we want to create interesting changes of shape. And all I've done is at a polygon plane into my scene and added a transparent texture to it on. Then I can go ahead and actually add key frames into the overseas if I go into the Vertex selection mode and that allows me to change the shape of the plane between poses, some key framing alongside with my key poses. Now, if these poses don't have enough change, I'm gonna use that rectangle to create a shape change that I want. And then I'm gonna take Ronan's pose controls and change his pose so that it fits into that new shape that I just may. The advantage of drawing over is that it adds us an extra level of clarity. We can sometimes get confused in how the bodies moving and if it's enough shape change between one pose and another. But with a rectangle, it's actually very, very, very clear. The next thing we should be evaluating is the line of action, which is that imaginary line that goes all the way through the body and that we can trace to see the action with these simple drawings using the grease pencil. I'm also looking here to see if there is enough of a shape change from the line of action. As we go from post oppose, you'll notice that I swing the line of action to the screen, left as he anticipates, and then he slammed. Is it down to screen? Right? So between the key poses, I'm changing the line of action as we go ahead. When looking at this in relation to the weight we can see how the sword affects the shape of the spine. As Ronan swings his sword, the spine will tend to curve following the weight. Again, we'll have an idea of drag as the sword drags the hands, drags the elbows, the shoulders, the spine and even drags all the way down just a little bit to change where the hips and positioned as well we're using the line of action toe also create variation between the key poses. But we can extend. This is well to look at the line that the hips, shoulders and I line actually make with character as well as the character swings the weight from one side to another, the body adjusts its balance. So it's going to create almost a C sore effect where it's trying to counter balance the weight of the sword, the position of the height of the shoulders and the hips. The last thing we're gonna look at is the center of mass, which, when the body is standing up, is just slightly above the hips. It's an imaginary point that can be either inside the body or outside of the body, depending on where the weight and the balance is. But when the body is in a balanced position, it's trying to hold up the weight of its head, and in this case, we're gonna have to account for the weight of the sword as well. It's important to note that a sword's weight is actually balanced just slightly above the hilt, because there's a lot of weight added to the pommel of of sort to make it easy to swing. The mass of the head is straight in its center. So when we're posing, we should think about where these two points of mass are in relationship to the body's center of mass. So there you have it. Take some time and look at these three ways of how to make a clear silhouette by going through each step and turning the lights off in Meyer, then looking at the changes of shape by simplifying the body down into a rectangle and then study the line of action in each pose. Always remember where the weight and balance is and how it affects the body 5. Initial Timing: So now we're gonna try and adjust the timing for our animation and put it in Quite early timing is one of the principles that's quite hard to explain. Toe a beginner because it's quite elusive in the way that it works. If I was going to try and grossly oversimplify in terms of what you should be looking for in order to create good timing, it's all about placing your key frames in a way that adds rhythm to your animation. Now that's a hard thing to explain in words, but let's look at it in an example. And hopefully by the end of this section you have learned how you can improve the timing for your animation. So, for example, when we're thinking about the timing necessary to describe wait, we can see in this animation of this sword swing that the sword feels very light and the actions very quick. The speed at which something is moving is a starting point to describe how heavy it is, as lighter objects tend to move faster and slower objects appear to be heavier. Visually, a light attack in a video game might be 15 frames, while a slow attack might take 30 frames, however, is making something moves slower enough to make it seem heavy. If I take the animation and I scale its key frame so that it fills the entire timeline, you can see that the animation doesn't feel heavier. It actually looks floaty, almost a ziff. It were underwater again because my always tries to make your animation as smooth as it possibly can. However, if I bring in another animation where I've had some time to apply the workflow of this class, you can see how the weight is much more accurately described. One feels heavy while the other one feels floatie. And here I can start pointing out one of the very easy ways of starting to detect timing problems with your animation. Look at the light animation and you'll see that the key frames very evenly spaced. While if I look at the key frame of the heavy attack, you'll see that there is variation between where those key frames that placed we have areas where there are many key frames close together, making the action move faster, and areas where the key frames of further apart where the action will slow down or come to a complete stop. That's why I was mentioning the musical nature of timing. It's making sure that there are changes of beats and rhythm to the animation some animators refer to. This is adding texture, which is really just about breaking up the timing so that it isn't on a constant beat. So I've gone ahead with the animation, and I've taken the key poses and have added some significant breakdowns to them to help describe the motion a little bit further. A question I get asked a lot is, Where do I place my keys to ensure good timing? And a lot of animators, myself included. Don't worry too much about setting up their timing at the start of their work. Three D animation makes it very easy to change your timing as you work, But if you're a beginner, it does help to have some form of a road map that helps you guide where you should be placing your key frames so you avoid having those evenly spaced keys that we saw earlier. Really, the best way I know of figuring out your timing early is to have some reference, but video reference doesn't normally have the best timing. There's always a difference between something that's in video and something that's animated . It's actually better if you're looking for good timing. Teoh. Use things like music voice over or to sound out your scenes, which is to actually make sound effects of what is happening in your scene. Some people say the animators are people who talk in on a matter paid because you make sounds about what you see on screen now, although animators do tend to agree that timing with sound effects is a good idea. Something that I do myself is actually record these silly sounds, and then I bring them into my timeline. In Maya, I'll use a program like Quick Time to record the sound. And just one or two minutes, I'll act out various takes of myself swinging the sword, and I'll be making the sound effects that I would expect to see with that action. Thea. The good thing about this part is that I have a separate office of people and normally just left outside wondering what I'm doing when I'm working. When I think I've got a good take, I will review it in a program like audacity and just take the segment that I need an export it out as a Web file. That means that back in Myer Aiken, just import this sound by going into file import, and I can now see the sound wave appear on my timeline. If I do a play blast, I can see the animation with sound from there. It's very easy for me to visualize where the large impact of my hit is, because I can actually see the big spike in the sound wave. And you can do the same technique for dialogue or music, if that's what you were animating, too. So from there I'll spend some time shift selecting keys on my timeline and moving them around so that they fit onto the sound wave. I'll do this while play blasting two or three times just to get my timing in the right place, and I'll just be reviewing it a few times like that when I think I've got my keys in the right place. I will review the before and after of my timing, and I can see that the one on the right is starting to feel a lot better. timing wise, it's a bit more varied, and they think that things are in the right place. From there. I'll go into my timeline, choose my sound and turn off the sound wave on the timeline. And then Aiken Brender out of version and posted up for review for a supervisor or whoever wants to see it now, As I mentioned earlier, this is just initial timing, and I would change this time in a few times as I go along as I add more keys. The more visual information I have, the better my timing decisions convey be. But most of those adjustments will be small, just adding small pauses or speeding up certain sections. For the most part, all the major beats pretty much remained unchanged as I worked through the shot. The biggest change in timing normally comes when you're very close to the end and you're at the Polish stage because as soon as things go into supplying, you do need to adjust your timing a little bit. So feel free to experiment with some sound effects. Could be music, voice over or sound effects. These could be sourced from the Internet, or you can make reference yourself. It should be something that you do quickly because it's just a quick plan that can help you guide you through a shot. 6. Responsive Anticipation: So without timing in place, I can take the animation and work exclusively now in the 1st 25 frames focusing down so I can create some responsive anticipation. This anticipation is all about the reactions of the weight of the sword and the effort that the body and the muscles need to exert in order to make the attack in video games, you won't have much time, if any, for anticipation. But as a general rule, remember, the heavier the object, the longer the anticipation needs to be to show Wait, What we're really doing is showing the building up of momentum and a release. Remember, the longer the anticipation that stronger the attack. So as I go about creating my pose, I'm gonna be thinking about lead and follow. As I move the hips first, which parts of the body will drag well, the drag will move up through the spine chest and end up at the sword and the head. If we think of the joints of the body is a chain. When we pull on one part of the body, other heavier parts of it will drag behind. So in this pose, while the hips start moving the head and the sort of gonna try and remain in the same place . So skip ahead to where I've blocked out all the major poses for the anticipation. And you should notice that the timing for the anticipation is much longer than the time it takes for the release of the attack from frame 6 to 28. And this will help our attack feel responsive and powerful. That contrast between anticipation and release you'll be amazed by how much you could make your attacks looks quick and dynamic as long as you create this buildup in the anticipation , let's look of a no overview of of sword under the effect of gravity. As we start the anticipation, it starts moving very slowly as it starts dropping, and then as it reaches the bottom and the arms stretched to catch it, it has to change direction before it comes up slowly again. The major influence here is the effect of the sword moving against gravity. However, on the other side we have the driving force, which is the body's hips, and if we see a nice offset between the sword and the hips, we're going to start seeing that effect of weight. Even as the sword is dropping, we can see the hips starting toe rise up. It's leading the action, the hips a guiding the movement of the spine, chest, shoulders, arms, hands right down to the tip of the sword. It's important to realize that the heavier the object the character is lifting, the more of the body has to be involved in actually moving it around. If you look at this small detail, even the foot comes up for a few frames, as it has to stamp down in order for Ronan to lift his sword above his shoulders. As Ronan moves, he could be in balance or off balance. The little step, as he takes his part of the attack, happens when the sword drops in the anticipation. You'll notice that Ronan is in a very straight position, but off balance, his body needs to counter act this weight and to do it, he's going to take a step forward so the leg gets involved in the action. Notice how the body straightens itself to get the sword as high as possible as soon as the sword is lifted up than the body can relax and gravity and the swords momentum contain over . It's a principle off a heavy attack that it's a controlled movement, lifting the weight of the sword and then releasing it. The anticipation requires the body to exert energy, and the attack is that actual release of that energy always remember that there was more effort at the beginning of the motion than at the end. So when you're designing your attack, consider that lifting always takes more time and effort as the body fights gravity and this should be reflected in your timing and in your poses. The attack itself will be a quick, fluid motion, taking advantage of gravity and making the spacing larger and larger. As it's released, We're also going to use the same type of thinking as we go from our attack pose back into the idle pose. This is also another response of anticipation. As we go between frames 55 85 you should start seeing the lead and follow of the body. But notice that again, we're gonna be using the sword in a realistic way. We, Ronan, will first start moving the sword very close to the ground and then with that momentum, use it toe. Lift the sword back over his shoulder. So, in summary, to create responsive anticipation, you have to find out what is leading and what is following in the motion. Which parts of the body of fighting against gravity and where is that moment of release? You can create contrast by having a longer anticipation and a shorter attack, and this will make your animation seem more fluid. 7. Favouring Strong Keys: So with the anticipations in place, we can start now thinking about how to favour strong keys while animating. You can run into the idea that you have to keep everything moving all the time, while actually animation looks better when it has moments which are more still. And then other motions which faster in this section we're gonna focus on choosing where are good moments of the animation toe? Hold the action and where the motion should be faster. So start out with identifying three parts of the animation where I can add a moving hold, and that will be a small pause at the beginning of the animation, which will last 8 to 10. Frames will do a small hold before the swing of theater tack and after the attack is completed, Here's another time where we can slow the action down and add just a little bit of recoil to the animation. So I'm gonna just my timing at a little section at the start of my animation. That's just eight or 10 frames long, which is a little pause before the action begins. This isn't really necessary for video games, but as I'm rendering this out as a video that I'm going to share on skill share. It's better for us to have a small pores before the action starts of the audience convert you it. Now, this little paws over here, we're gonna have to add a key frame to create this moving hold. Three D animation has the tendency to look dead if it comes to a complete standstill so well into the animation, you just have to place a drawing and have that hold for a few frames and three animation. We need to create a little variation of the first pose and the last pose. And I like doing this by selecting an element like the hips pricing plus on my keyboards to make the rotation gizmo larger. And I'm going to create some counterbalance changes by rotating the hips in one direction, then rotating the chest in the opposite direction and then rotating the head in another direction, almost like three rocks trying to balance on top of one another. This animation is very subtle, but it will really help to keep your character alive. In these moments of pause, I'll have to adjust the hands and the sword as well as part of the moving hold by having them dragged behind in account of the swords mass and it wanting to stay in the same place opposing the movement. If we want to slow in action down, it's always important to remember that an audience will not be able to see an action that is shorter than four or five frames. So it's OK to give yourself enough time and space to be able to see that your action is clear on screen. How can we do that? Play blasted and test it and see if it feels right. So I'll move onto the next moving hold, which happens just before the swing of the attack and looking between the two poses that I have on my timeline, I'll see that they're very similar. If I use Tweet Machine to add a 50% breakdown in between them, I can see that the action is starting to look wrong now, these motions or subtle as well. But it's time to look at the body mechanics and really make sure that things working. If it's hard to read the action just in stepped, it's perfectly fine to select the key frames on the timeline right click and go into tangents and choose order tangents so that we spine just that section of the animation. That way you can see the body mechanics much clearer. Instantly I can start seeing a problem with the wrists. I can see that the hands are locked almost in the same position throughout the three keys that we have over here. We're gonna have to change this to make the arms, actually lift the sword up at the top of the ark and then have it come down. So we'll start off by changing the position of the wrists so that the action is not only a rotation in frame 28. I'm gonna lean the spine back to favor the previous frame and braise the hands up to their highest point, jumping back down to frame 25. I'm gonna look at the arms and just lower them down a little bit to emphasize the ark of the motion going up and down. It's important to look at your animation in context and flip between the three key frames constantly to see if the animation is flowing in the correct way. If you ever need to adjust areas like the arms and shoulders, and you can't find the right controllers. A great tip is to just click on the wire frame mode button in the View port menu, and that way you can see the controllers and select them from inside the geometry. Now it's time to get the hips involved, and instead of having the hips moving on a clean arc, we can have him go down a frame, and this will add a slight bounce after we've made the foot stump, which is a great way of creating a little overshoot and having it respond upwards, are really at this point, noticed that I should have worked with the hierarchy in mind, and I should have worked from hips to lower spine to chest down to the hands because any changes I make to the hips will affect everything that's further up. The hierarchies of the elements that I changed in the hands. I'm gonna have to adjust them again, but that's animation for you. Once I've made my adjustments to the lowest spying and chest, it's time to have a look at what is happening with the head again. The head has toe overlap with the action. It's got a little bit of intention of looking in a specific direction, but we want to get the idea that as the chest is moving, the head is dragging ever so slightly behind. I find it very useful to look constantly a tip of the nose and use that as a point that you contract through space to see if the head is following a nice arc. Still, when doing these adjustments, it's a good idea to do them from your camera view, but also to have a look at them in the perspective you as well. Once I think things are in the right place, I'll go ahead and create a play blast and just check to see if the motion is feeling smooth . And it also helps to remember that this section is blind for this area. So we'll move on to add another moving hold after the attack, adding some more timing in this area. Just to be able to make sure that there is enough time for the action to settle now, this moving hold is a little bit complicated because it has toe have enough recoil so that it looks like the body is slowing down after the attack, but it also has to be rigid enough that the body doesn't look like it's a spring and just bounces going poem. So I decided to try and keep the animation athletic by focusing on the frames between 41 55 trying to do in just three pose changes. Now this section, I think, needs a little bit of more subtle animation than what I'm comfortable doing inside of stepped. So I made a note of it, and it's something that I'll address later on inside the Polish phase. It's perfectly fine to make a note of thes things and leave them for later. As some of these effects, I tend to find easier to do once I'm in the graph editor. And when I'm adding that level of Polish, all I'm really trying to do in the stepped mode is emphasized how the body comes to a standstill. The next way that we can start creating slow emotion is when we start creating seasons and he's out in our animation and we shouldn't only consider that these moments should favour. As a general rule, the key poses we set up at the beginning, I'm gonna be using a plugging that's called BH Ghost, which allows me to create an outline of my character in three D space, which is really handy if I look at my key pose on Frame 58 is the post just before he starts lifting his sword up again. Now, if I want to emphasize this pose, I want to see it for more time on screen. But as there's already motion here, I can't use a moving hold. I will have to take the previous key frame on the following key frame and ease in to the existing key pose. So what I'll be doing is selecting the controllers and moving the hips, spine and head so that they are closer. Imposition to the key pose again. I want this motion to seem fluid, so I'm gonna be flipping between the three different poses now, by easing in and out off a key pose, you're really allowing the viewer to have more time to see that pose clearly, while the action is still playing. So on my timeline, my key frames are set at 64 Andi 79 I have a transitional pose set at Frame 72. Now, this pose will be very quick and I don't want to focus on it. Too much time again. This post will be felt. No scene. So what happens to frame 68? The key frame between my key pose and my transitional post breakdown. Well, I will always favor the key pose. So I'm gonna take Ronan's pose and friend 68 move the hips and spine again towards the key pose, making sure that it is easing out of this pose. So look on my timeline and I've highlighted which of the key poses in red over here. And those will be the areas that I want. The adjacent key frames marked in yellow Teoh, ease in to those keys. So remember, went planning your animations, look for those strong poses and find the areas where you can create moving holds so that your action is not moving all the time. And when trying to decide where to create, eases in and eases out, you might find that most of the time it is the key poses that you initially set in your planning that you should try and favor over off the poses 8. Add Impact: the animation is now looking clearer since we've added are moving holds and easing ends and outs. But now it's time that we can start adding more impacts to the animation by creating overshoots and looking at the follow through action. If you animate something moving and it stops, it's important that it all doesn't stop. At the same time, the body builds up momentum and we have to think about where that energy goes to. So we're gonna add some new keys in between the area where the attack stops between frames 41 55. With these two frames, what we're doing is we're adding Mawr visual information to describe the loss of momentum after the attack. The energy that comes from the sword is being dissipated through the spine. Aun, we're adding just two new frames to describe. When things stop moving, the energy that flows through the body will mean that the hip stopped moving first and then the chest, and lastly, the sword will have just little bit of shake left to it. By adding this subtle little shake, we can make the end of the attack look more powerful. As we're describing how the action comes to a stop. We're paying attention as well to the overlapping action, making sure that different parts of the body moved at slightly different rates. This also depends on where the weight is placed. A good area where we can observe. This is at the end of the animation. As Ronan finishes his swing and goes into his idol pose here, he'll have to make an adjustment to his weight. And this is a good area where we can add some overlapping action and also add a little bit of an overshoot instead of going directly into the Idol were pushing him up so that he actually has to drop down to go into his final pose. This is a great way of adding some more natural type of motion, and we should be observing that this respects the arcs as well of the motion. What we're gonna do is that we're gonna add two new poses between the overshoot and the Idol animation toe. Better describe the overlap in action as the body comes to a stop, who will lean the body back and have the hips favor the idle position while the chest and the heads will drag favoring the head position off the overshoot. As we take this post, we can also exaggerated by stretching the body a little bit in the final pose, the hips have almost reached their final destination. We can take advantage and squash the body a little bit by bringing the spine controls closer together on what we're creating isn't ease into the last pose. The chest and the head will still drag behind slightly on. This will allow each part of the body toe overlap and come to a stop. This is a faster way of stopping without having toe. Have a large amount of follow through animation and have his spine wiggle to a stop when thinking about overlapping action, it's important to do another pass on the sword as well. The position of the sword will normally be dragging behind the main action or accelerating ahead of it, so it's gonna have its own path and will have to clean it up as best as we can is a few techniques to make this easier, But even in blocking, it's good to have an idea in three D space where this position of the sword is and we're tracking both the hilt and the tip of the sword. So there you have it. We've created a nice sense of stopping and adjustment of weight at the end of the animation . So when you want to improve the impact on the stopping of heavy objects, you should always think about adding follow through action to make sure that not everything stops at the same time. Remember that overlapping action is that different parts of the body will move at different rates, depending on their flexibility or their mass, and by adding overshoots, we can create organic looking motion that moves in a more natural way. 9. Breaking joints: So after improving our impacts, we're gonna look at improving three idea of visual flow by looking at the area where the attack is happening. And we're gonna add some more detail in here as it's such a quick motion, we're going to focus on the breakdown pose of Frame 36 where we're not actually going to describe the hit. What I mean by this is that when you're creating fast attacks, you should never really have point where the sword actually contacts the target it's trying to hit. It's always better if the pose is slightly before hitting or after hitting, because that will give it a nice sense of follow through as it goes through the swing. To do this, we're going to go back and add an in between. Between the breakdown and the key pose on, we're gonna ease out of the previous frame, will be looking at moving the hips first, respecting the hierarchy, and this will be the first joint that we try to adjust and break. Breaking the joints up is just ensuring, first of all, that everything is moving as a separate unit, and we've spoken before about how hips, chest and had formed different parts. We're really gonna focus on the rotation of each of these parts to make sure that they're all offset from one another. Now, the second part of breaking things up is that we can also break the actual limbs as well. To be able to create an appealing pose for Ronan's arms. I'm gonna turn on a property in his elbow control, which is called Pen. Most rigs will have something similar, and that means that I can move the elbow round in three D. Space in the arm will stretch following that point. This makes his arm look like piece of spaghetti. But the important thing here is that I'm breaking the joint here in order to be able to create a more visual line of the way his arm flows. Because the great part about breaking joints is that it adds a little bit of visual flow. It's better to respect the line that the arms make and make that appealing than to respect the anatomy of Ronan's arms, so work beyond the limits of your actual rig. We're going to apply this workflow also to the breakdown pose again as we come back. We're gonna make a slight adjustment to the pose and add a bit more drag to the spine and then push the arms out. You'll see how they hyper extend and stretch out and perfectly straight. This might be anatomically more correct, but we want to add a little bit of a curve again. So I'll grab my elbow pin controls and push them again, some creating a slight curve to the arms and making sure that that shape works well from my camera view. Well, then go ahead and add the final breakdown. It's perfectly fine when you're adding breakdowns to create them at 50%. But we can also check in the graph editor if we need to make any subtle tweaks to any parts of our body adjusting the spine, we're going to favor the final key frame, which means that where again respecting the rule that we were before, where we tend to favor the strong poses. This is the way that you can have animations which are really short but still feel strong, heavy and powerful. It's always favoring the anticipations and leave in the actions to be really, really, really quick. If you have enough ease in and ease out. The in between is almost filled in by the viewer's mind. Now, with all the poses in place, will do little adjustments to the head and make sure that it's flowing fluidly between each arm, the same way that we're looking at the arms as a line. We're looking at the spine and the head as another dynamic line, and we can move the joints around in order to make this motion as fluid as possible. So with all this extra visual information, we can right click on our timeline and create a play blast. And hopefully, if everything is working correctly, we should see a nice flow to the attack. So when we're breaking joints were purposefully breaking up different sections of the body so that they add visual information to the movement, it's important that we are prioritising the dynamic shape off the broken limb over the accuracy of the anatomy. And if you put these elements in different sections of your animation, especially when the movement is fast, it's a really nice effect that can add a lot of great visual interest to you seen. So that's it. That's the last step. The workflow now's a good time to review each one of those steps and see if they're present inside. Your animation. If you're struggling with a specific step, is perfectly fine to go back and review one of the videos again and put that into your final work. I remind you to share your work online because it's a great way of improving your animation , and I'm also adding a few videos as well that talk about more technical problems in the appendices. I can't wait to see what you come up with, and I'll be looking forward to see you in the next class. 10. Apex 1 - Sword Constraints: so we're gonna create a quick way of using constraints and custom attributes to switch the position of the sword between the hands. Now, this is gonna be useful for creating certain animations, but it's just a good way of technically setting up something. So you've got more flexibility if you want to make more complicated animated scenes. First of all, we're gonna place the sword in the characters hand by, position it roughly in the right location and curl in the fingers around. It would be a good idea, but I'm just going to skip over that tip for now for doing it quickly. And then I'm going to create a locator, make it nice and big in the screen, and then I'm going to align it with the script to the right hand so it's aligned with Ronan's wrist controller. Once the locators in place, I am going to duplicate it on position, the duplicate on the left hand again aligning it to the wrist controller, and then I'll create 1/3 duplicate, which I will position on the back, roughly, aligning it to the place where I want the sword toe hang off his back. I'm going to give identifiable names to each one of those locators. So left hand lock, right hand lock and back lock as well, because that be important later on. And then I'm gonna use parent constraints to constrain from driver to driven the relevant rig controls to the relevant locators. So, for example, I'll select the right wrist controller and shift, select the right locator and do constrain parent constraint while maintaining Offset. Remember, when you're creating constraints to turn on and off the blend parent option inside the channel box or else the constraint won't appear to be active. So I'm gonna set the blend parent to zero, and I'm gonna move the sword towards the left hand, opposition it roughly in the palm. And I'm going to repeat this process of connecting constraints to the sword from the relevant locators for the left hand, and I'll do the same thing on the back as well. So in the end, the sword will end up with three constraints, each one connecting it to a relevant locator to the hand or to the back. Now that we've got the constraints set up, we need an easy way of turning on different constraints. Because if you turn all the constraints on at the same time, they create a blend of all three constraints together, and the sword just goes crazy. So what we're gonna do is we're going to select the controller that I've made for the heavy sword, and I'm going to go into the channel box and look for edit, add attribute. We're gonna create a custom attributes now that will hold all the possible names for what the sword should be doing. Type of attributes will be an animal, which is a list on Will call it soared. Constraint. Now we're gonna give this list four properties off our hand El hand and back. So we've created our customer attribute, but we haven't got a way of connecting it with the constraints that we just created. So I'm gonna go into the animation tool set and create a set driven key by going into key set driven key and set and choose the option box. This will allow us to connect the attributes from the constraint to the attribute And to do this, we need to select the constraint in the channel box and we will copy its name by pressing control. See, then we'll open this top menu at the top that looks like a box and will choose select by name by pasting the name into the text bar and pressing Enter. We can select the full constraint, and it's going to appear in The Attributes editor, and this will allow me, then to put it into the central and key menu by pressing the load driven button. Then I'll select that sold control in the View port and no press load driver and set driven keys will allow me to select different attributes. And I can connect them together with a key, which is effectively a little saving of data. Now we need to choose the sword constraints custom attribute to appear in top menu, and then we'll shift select the name of the three locators at the bottom menu, which is what the constraint is driving. Now we're gonna need to go through every possible combination of our attributes, So we're going to go in the channel box and we're gonna set all the values to zero for off , impressed the key button and then will go looking for the right hand property and then will go down into the locator and set its value toe one to turn on that constraint. After you've done this, press, the key button on will repeat this for the left hand, turning on the left locator and turning all the other values to zero and then doing the same thing for the back, selecting the back attributes and then selecting the back locator as being on with a number one. If you do make a mistake, redo your correct section and press the key button again. Once you've put in the correct values, it should overwrite any other properties that you saved. So once this is finished, your system is set up and ready to go. You can now use your custom attributes, and the sword should jump between the different positions of the constraint. It's a good way that you could have a character carrying sword on his back, and then he could reach back for it. Turn it toe hand and it will jump into his right hand. And then you could have him flip it over to his left hand by going into the off position, adding some key frames and then creating a left button. But I'll leave you to experiment with it. I hope you've enjoyed this section