Basic body mechanics for animators.

In this video I demonstrate some very simple physical principles, showing how forces act on our bodies and how we can animate them

In dynamic movement the body is aligned so that forces are applied in the most effective direction ( like a sprinter on a starting block ).

Our legs are the biggest muscles in our bodies. But we know that it’s hard work to change direction quickly ( unless you run into something ). With big changes in speed the body needs to be co-ordinated, its structure aligned properly and its movement synchronized (like a karate punch, or a cartwheel). If this alignment or synchronization is off then we simply fall over (like a gymnast teetering off balance at the end of a difficult move).

Animating to the beat

I’m working on an animated music video.  I thought I’d share a bit of simple maths to help get footsteps on the beat.

bpm / 60 = beats per second
FPS / beats per second = frames per Beat

So if the song is at 150 bpm this would would be

150 / 60 = 2.5 beats per second

PAL is 25 fps so…

25 / 2.5 = 10 frames per Beat

Bear in mind that whilst most dance tunes have a computerized fixed tempo. Folk and jazz will mostly likely vary in tempo.

I have a tap tempo app for my iPhone that I’m using to calculate Bpm. I just tap along to the song and watch the bpm display. For the tune I’m working on there is a slow but steady increase from 150 bpm at the start to 160 bpm at the end.

3dsMAX motion capture utility

For more complex interactions or changes in tempo you might try and use the motion capture utility. This allows you to wire MIDI inputs to a Motion Capture animation controller.

Organised Keyframing

Organised Keyframing: A method for 3d animation.

A few years ago I sat down with my friends from AvP and we went through our individual approaches to animation. My hope was to pick the best ideas to create something we could teach new animators. What we discovered was that over the years and with very different backgrounds we had all gravitated to the same idea.

The idea was this…

Keep it Simple

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Facial expression references

I’ve worked on pipelines and tools for facial animation rigs for about 7 years now. In that time a lot of has been written about Facial Expressions and Ai. In this article I summarise the reference’s I find most useful for illustration, performance and character rigging.

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