I am happy to say, that the production phase for Ara’s Tale has started. That means that I am now actually starting to animate the individual shots.
It was quite some work and major headaches to get the template scene files and models ready for action.
First I checked again my setup from my previous research for having a simple rough cloth ( without the simulation) for animation preview and when the animation is finished to actually turn on the cloth simulation. It turned out that I had to modify my setup a bit.
The dress is linked in from the model file but I have local copies for the rough dress and the cloth simulation. The rough dress is driven by Aras rig and the cloth simulation is only parented to the main bone of the rig and the rest is done by the cloth simulation and collision.
Next I ran into a bug when using proxy armatures for rigs with action constraints. After saving the scene file with the linked armature all action entries from the action constraint fields were gone. I learned that if I protect the bone layers in the model file this prevents this problem to occur. Alas, it also prevents to add custom constraints in the scene file.
What I had totally ignored was to setup a camera rig. I soon figured out, that this was something to have and came up with a first solution, where I have a camera with bones for main position, camera position, camera point at and lens value. In combination with a follow path constraint I think it will pretty much cover all the shots I have to do.
Speaking of shots, there are a total of 42 in it. It seems like there lies an universal truth in this answer … 🙂
I have chosen as first shot to animate the second one in the movie, where the camera pulls back from the closeup of the cage and we see Ara carrying the cage while walking a path. I have read somewhere, that you shouldn’t start animating with the opening shot, but I thought I give it a try nonetheless.
What I learned so far, is that animating is hard and tedious work. And I have yet to find a workflow which suits me and gives good results in an acceptable time frame.
What I also plan to do, is try to reuse certain parts of the animation in other shots. Shot 3 from scene 1 e.g. is just Ara walking with the cage along the path seen from front. I hope to reuse the walking animation I have now for shot02 with just added head movements and some tweaking.
You can see here the first production animation done so far for Ara’s Tale. This is version 1 and for sure not final as there are quite some rough edges to it. I may leave it though in a not totally perfect way and go on to other shots and come back later.