To get the best idea of how you want your animation to look like, it’s advisable to find a reference.References are videos with the movements you want to animate. They can be found online or you can make them yourself. The final animation doesn’t have to be exactly like in the reference, but references help to get a better understanding of how the body should move.
There are basic elements in every movement. For example, an illustration of a workout exercise may consist of only 2-3 images, but it will be enough to make clear how the entire movement should look.
For our jump it will be the following images:
Blocking is a stage where you set the main character’s poses taken from the reference.
You can slightly change the pose of the character to make it more expressive than in the reference.
To practice creating your first animation you can use Chibi.casc scene - it’s one of the simplest models.
Once the keys with the basic poses are ready, you can add interpolation. With interpolation, character’s poses and positions between the keys will be set automatically.
Usually, interpolation alone is not enough to achieve the result needed. So it will be necessary to change the interpolation types at different intervals, edit the distances between the keys, and adding additional keys where needed.
Sometimes, you can see that the character's feet go underground before the take off.
This is because the Bezier interpolation makes the character's feet move along the arcs.
You can quickly fix this by setting Linear interpolation on the feet track. However, have in mind that this can also affect the knee and is not always a good solution.
So, if your character’s feet go under ground:
The distance between the two keys affects the speed of movement on this interval. The fewer interpolation frames between keys there are, the faster the movement will be.
Interpolation may still not cope well enough at some intervals. Also, you may want to add additional elements to the main movement.
If animation needs to be physically correct, then it’s timings will depend on the laws of physics. For example, our jump happens in ordinary Earth’s gravity, so the time it will take to reach its height will be strictly defined.
The higher the jump height, the more time it will take, and therefore the more frames.
The lower the gravity, the longer the jump will take at the same height.
Ballistics is displayed on the timeline as a black line. The start and end of this line must match the start and end frames of the jump.
Now that you have the ballistic trajectory, you can simply snap your character to it. His poses will not change, but his center of mass will move to match the points of the ballistic.
However, correct rotation during flight is also important for a realistic animation. By default, the rotation in flight is calculated so that the character's position in the first and last keys of the ballistic interval remains unchanged or as close as possible to the original.
To make the jump animation look realistic, it is important to work on both the jump interval and the moments before and after it.
The smoother the center of mass trajectory, the better the animation will look. Make sure that the trajectories have smooth lines and gradual changes in speed.
A good center of mass trajectory is a very important part of a good animation. But it is equally important to keep an eye on other parts of the character.
Finished animation can be exported in a video or .FBX and .DAE formats to be viewed in other programs.
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