Sunday, 1 April 2012

Animating Balthier

The Scene
Firstly I had to begin by creating my scene. The scene is a very simple scene as I felt that it was necessary to spend more of my time on the animating than on the modelling of the scene itself.

The scene is made up of a tree that I created in one of my other modules and that I have imported into this animation, the sword and the stone.   

The background to all of the animations was white. I chose white because I felt that it would bring out more detail within each of the animations and allow the view to see more detail on the facial expressions.  

Creating Key frames for animation

To begin animating my character I had to create individual movements and key frames.

For each of the scenes I followed the storyboard and printed off all of my research and screen shots of the videos that I had analysed in order to gain better knowledge and a clearer understanding of how the body functions when performing actions.

For each of the movements that I had to create in each of the scenes, I had to adjust each of the biped parts manually. Ensuring that I was always using the ‘autokey’ ensured that for every movement that I made on the character a new key frame was generated.

Using the Autokey tool:

Moving biped parts to create animation:

This was a lengthy process to ensure that my character behaved in the way that I wanted him to and to ensure that each of the biped parts moved in correspondence to my research.  

To make the animating process easier I used the ‘hide’ tool on the skin so that the biped elements were more exposed. This would make it easier to select the biped parts and move them to create different animation techniques.

Using the Morpher modifier

Once all scenes had been created and all of the body movements within the scene were correct it was now necessary to animate the facial expressions that would go with the actions of my animated character.

To begin with I had to create a number of copies of the master head onto the scene. I made ten copies of the heads for each of the scenes.

On each of the heads, I adjusted the polygons to create separate facial expressions. My character does perform any talking and so only requires the use of facial expressions to expel his feelings and actions to the viewer.

To turn these different facial expressions on individual heads into one animating face I had to apply a ‘morpher’ modifier onto the master head. (The master head was the head connected to the biped model).

Once the morpher modifier was applied I could now pick the individual heads with facial expressions in the scene and apply them to the morpher modifier.

Once all the heads were selected I could now begin to perform animation of the facial expressions. This was done in a very similar way as to animating the body actions. For each change of facial expression I adjusted the settings within the morpher modifier and using the ‘autokey’ this would create individual key frames for the changes.  

Once I had created facial expressions at necessary points along the timeline and in conjunction with the body animations and script, I was now ready to begin to render each of the scenes.
Rendering was performed in the following format:
1080 x 720 Uncompressed AVI (Maximum quality for use later in Adobe Premiere Pro)

The facial expressions that I commonly used within each of the scenes can be seen below:

Cheeky Smile


Closed Eyes


Left Eyebrow Up








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