Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm At It Again Ya'll

More poses! I know I'm a little behind on a post, but two weeks ago we blocked in a walk cycle, and last week we had to finish it, so I was a bit busy! I'll be making another post about the walk cycle, so this one is for the poses!

So we are still focused on movement and motion, this is a body mechanics class! This week I tried to stick mostly to martial arts poses. I love fighting! Some of these may look like breakdancing, but they are actually capoiera fighters. It's a very interesting fighting style that's based off of perpetual movement. I did get a couple sports ones, and in the end, I chose a soccer one and a fighting one. And I know we exaggerate a little when sketching out poses, but this guy literally made this pose. 

Gah, I can't find the picture now of course, and I didn't save it, but I promise! He was way off balance, but because of the momentum he had from the kick, he was still fine. I'm sure he stumbled a little as he tried to regain a normal balance. But motion can keep something off-balance still seem grounded. And I love poses like this. Basketball players running for a layup. Someone kicking an apple off of a knife. Kicking a soccer ball. All of these actions result in fast, shifting movement that can cause someone catching random frames to get very strange poses that are impossible to recreate unless you are performing that action yourself. Or you're using a character in 3D, like me.

While it may not completely have the momentum as the actual soccer player, it definitely feels like Stella just kicked a ball. And I like to think that even though she's off balance, clearly, she still feels "balanced" by the action she's taking. you can tell that she's mid-kick.

Ouch! I think the selling point for kicks is that you notice the extreme counter-rotation between the hips and the shoulders. When performing a spin kick, your torso seems to lead the kicking momentum. Then, your legs and feet take over and snap out at the target, leaving the torso to follow or twist the opposite direction. It's similar to an arm swinging forward on a walk. The shoulder leads the action, but once the arm passes the shoulder, it takes over. I tried to capture this snapping motion of the kick here in the character to the left. The one on the right I had a little more fun with, and might have been less successful with if only because "just got kicking in the face by someone's heel" reference isn't as easy to find. Haha.

As for the walk cycle, I'm going to touch it up for the next couple days while working on my poses for this week. I got feedback from my mentor, and I'm going to take more time to clean it. I had to rush it last week because of work, and I didn't get the result I wanted. But I promise, it'll be an interesting post!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's a New Semester!

Hello out there to anyone who happens to stumble across this one! Haha.

So it's a new semester at Animation Mentor, and I've begun the Basic Body Mechanics class. This time, my mentor is Ray Ross, a really cool senior animator over at Blue Sky! He's worked on a bunch of their movies, and most recently has worked on Epic. He's also really close friends with my animation idol, Jeff Gabor. All the excitement for this semester!

So one thing I wanted to do was start getting better at actually blogging through my processes for animation and AM. To do so, I thought I'd start with my first week's assignments!

This week was a simple "get back into the flow" kind of week, and we just had poses to do. However, we had the opportunity to use this as a test run for one of our new rigs, Stella. We are all about the full bodied stuff now! Stella is a really cool and fleshed out rig with a lot of opportunity for different animation styles. Once again I have to find a way that works best for me.

We start off testing the waters by doing poses that describe motion or movement. Immediately this brings two of my favorite reference materials to mind: fighting/martial arts, and dancing. Both of these activities are exceedingly motion heavy, and you can get some pretty crazy poses or find some pretty limber people. So as with any posing assignment, we start with sketches.

Here you have my sketchbook pages dedicated to exploring motion. I started by looking up people flipping, and then decided to delve into sports, martial arts, and dancing. Practically all of the page on the right is dancing, minus the last two poses in the bottom corner. I found a couple good reference shots of runners. I remembered going to the gym in my last semester to try and sketch people there playing sports, and recalled that there were some pretty crazy poses when people were moving full speed with a basketball during their games. A lot of basketball poses are the furthest thing from symmetrical, making them a great reference source. Sometimes, they even appear completely off balance, and you find yourself staring at what's in front of you going "how is this even possible?!"

Next I moved on to dancing, and by far got most of my material there. Dancing comes in many forms, from jazz, to African, to contemporary and hip hop. A good source I found was So You Think You Can Dance. I was Youtube-ing for a good hour and a half just watching dancers and pausing videos for quick sketches. Some of my favorites were of course the Hip Hip and breakdancing poses. However, the difference between poses I found in Hip Hop routines and Contemporary routines (my second biggest pose source) was that Hip Hop poses appeared more angular and had more breaks in them, while Contemporary poses and moves much more easily flowed together and their line of actions were very smooth and carried through the entire body.  So the first chose I went with was of a dancer with arms and legs that just perfectly accentuated the LOA, and then I went with a runner because I felt that the sketch had more movement in it than most of my other poses.

So after posing them out, and then getting critique, here are the results!

Originally, I had way too much bow bending in the poses, so I toned it back to give Stella some more straight lines and angles; gave her back some bone structure.

So what do you think?! Coming up next week: Full Bodied Walk Blocking.