Thursday, October 09, 2003

There are some great tools in XSI for animation! The synoptic view is amazing! Simply put it allows you to take a snapshot of a character and assign hotspots to areas that you will need to select often to animate, for example a character's wrist, just click in the synoptic view on the hotspot and the correct object in your scene is selected. No more zooming in to see and select the right thing. I learned about this by doing Tutorial 8 "The Walk Cycle - Beck Takes a Walk". You will also learn about Transformation setups which allow you to create your own default settings to tools associated to your selection, so in the case of a wrist, you know you want to animate the translation in XYZ, in view mode, so you can set it up so that when you select the wrist in the handy-dandy synoptic view mentioned above, XSI will switch to Translate, XYZ, view mode.

I've also done the tutorials 9, 10 and 11 all about Animation. I'm not sure that I'll use the Mixer for the Moose's animation, however I will be using shape animation for his eyebrows and possibly for the cigarette smoke path. If you are new to animation and XSI, you probably want to run through Tutorial 5 before doing any of the others, so you'll get the basics down first.

I spent a bit of time outside of XSI planning my animation. On paper I've listed the primary, secondary, eye and prop animation that I need to create for the Moose. Under primary I have lower jaw, head and arms. Secondary animation includes antlers, chest, stomach, and foot. Eye animation includes blinks, closing eyes, bugging eyes and eyebrows. Prop animation includes cigarette smoke, cigarette amber, cigarette roll, newspaper, and newspaper smoke and fire. I have started creating custom property sets and proxy parameters for all of these parameters. Each of the different categories will have its own property page, and of course the first animation to be done will be the primary animation. This will allow me to keep one property page open when animating, rather than hunting and selecting and keyframing, then hunting, selecting and keyframing. Tutorial 5 will show you how to do this.

Although I have a leica reel, I had not yet prepared dope sheets and because I've made so many traditional animated films I didn't feel I could just start animating ... I felt kind of lost without the timing sorted out on paper first so I have broken down the timing (to the second, not yet to the frame) for the moose's actions. I've also saved the audio for the first part of the film and will use that for the specific frame by frame breakdown (which is kind of what I would have done if I were doing this traditionally .. I would read the sound track on a Steenbeck and indicated at exactly what frame the cough was at and how the cough itself would be broken down... but I can do this directly in XSI ... well I'm hoping I can!).

No comments: