Monday, 23 February 2015

Maya Tutorials: Walk-cycle and rigging the legs


    Rigging and fine-tuning animation is a vital part of animating a character and after almost a month of anticipation I'm finally glad to take the first steps into this phase of bringing things to life. Aside from getting used to a compressed construction grid and some of the tools for customising joints, these lessons felt fairly smooth. While at a glance the mechanics are fairly simple, it certainly hit home all the minute details required ot make the act of walking believeable: The tilt and sway of the hips, the slight back-and-forth sway from the body trying to balance are all little details that make something believeable.
video

    When making figurines I always felt a little annoyed, and a teeny bit fascinated that in making humanoid figures they could never stand up unless propped up by something like a rock-solid cloak, full-length robe or or dress. One of the issues with presenting  my final project for my BTEC in Art and Design was that the model couldn't stand on his own and I had to either prop him up or have him held up by wire or string. It was intriguing to include a slight forwards-backwards wobble in the animation as it demonstrated that even when standing in a neutral position, the human figure is upright only though constant application of minute counter-sways in order to offset the lean caused by unbalanced weight since the human body is essentially a sack on two rods not within the ground and slightly bent in the middle. The means to readjust their standing position is something models don't have and supertall skyscrapers are beginning to have pendulum-like counterweights built inside them to stop them from toppling in a breeze. It is as they say, "you cannot fully appreciate something until you are deprived of it" - in this case, the ability to stand up without any external help. And one of the reasons the body tends to flop and collapse over itself when made unresponsive via death, sleep deprivation or getting knocked unconscious.

It really goes to show how minutely complicated the human (or indeed any living) body is.

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