Time for anger.
These are a walk, sneak and run. To let off some steam, I made them an angry walk, sneak and run. We're animating a fight scene now for animation class. It will be glorious and arguably a better vent than getting into an actual bar fight. But I'm keeping my options open.
I'm trying out a new workflow here, essentially it goes like this:
1.) I think about the walk and act it out, feel it out and eat an entire lemon, with the peels on.
2.) If necessary I scribble thumbnails to solidify ideas and to create references I can scream at later if I forget what I'm doing.
3.) I set keys on some of the controls with stepped tangents, animators survival kit style on the extremes, breakdowns, ups and downs, BUT not putting too much into body mechanics as far as posing goes, just blocking in the attitude, so this rough pass is over pretty quickly. I do not key every control, some are just not involved in the poses that intimately. Then I pimp slap a picture of a koala bear taped to a punching bag in my shed. I do this to get in the zone, to take a break, and to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
4.) I open the graph editor. I focus on individual controls, splining, deleting static channels and getting the curves to resemble the motion I had imagined! It was important to think about it before hand, so that before I see the curves I already know how they should look for each particular channel. (Maybe in my thumbnail stage I should also sketch the graphs, so when my mom sees me working she thinks I am clever.)
While I do this I keep my camera view open, watching to see if my imagination translates well into reality. It often doesn't.
I focus first on hips, and the legs in a glance just to make sure the timing of the hips is planned to the steps. I then check that the shoulders are following through the way I would like them to, then the head. Then I do the feet controls, and if absolutely necessary set keys on the pole-vectors to keep them knees cracking correctly.
I do the arms from scratch at this stage, keeping the poses but deleting the graphs. I first animate the shoulder so it's motion is correct relative to the torso. I do this by keying only the rotation attributes and shaping the curve manually in the graph editor, the only time I click on the control itself is to select it.
After the shoulder's working, I do the upper arm relative to that, then the forearm relative to that, then the hand, fingers, battle-club etc until it acts like the arm I angrily envisaged whilst chewing a lemon rind!
This applies mostly to walks, but I know on a non-cycling shot I would plan it similarly. So try it out, maybe you'll love it. That is, if it works for you. I find it a fast and easily alterable approach, but then again I am the kind of person who would pimp-slap a koala.
A major point of this exercise for me was to produce work quickly, and I did each cycle in a few hours. The sneak was a cheat. I just modified and stretched the graphs of the walk, as well as moving around some controls that didn't have any keys on them. This way i retain the anger, but gain stealth. Perhaps my next post will be less angry, and more stealthy.
So stealthy, noone will even know it's there.