Contrary to my idea of reusing the animation from shot 02, I started doing the walking animation from scratch. Its a good thing I did this, as I have learned a lot during this shot.
I studied the advice given in Richard Williams’ book ‘The Animator Survival Kit’ ( which I should have right from the start 🙂 and used this to get Ara walking up the bridge towards the stairs.
Until now I wasn’t quite happy with the footroll mechanism I had built for Ara, but as it turned out, I just used it in the wrong way. Reading carefully through the walkcycle basics I started to use the footroll control in a different way and to my astonishment it worked quite well.
What I have learned too, is that more planning is required before starting animating a shot. This time the planning is for the actual acting. I have to know know what will happen in this shot to lay it out correctly. This is certainly an area where I will have enough opportunity to practice.
I was not quite sure how the workflow is for layering actions over a basic animation. I tried to use the NLA editor for this but in the end went back to do it all in one action as it gave me the best control and more important overview over the animation.
Another point I discovered was, that the lookat control for the eyes was nice but not really usable in the animation. The control was parented to the head, so that if you set it once, the eyes would always stay fixed in respect to the head. This is not what the eyes are doing in reality. They focus on something out of the reference of the heads coordinate system and stay locked on it. For this to work I had to rework the lookat control somewhat. Ii am still not completely satisfied but for this shot it is sufficient.
And, I couldn’t resist to test my theoretical cloth workflow on this shot. Better test it early than be sorry after all the shots are animated 🙂
See here for the current version of scene 1 shot 3:
And, btw, I will certainly redo scene 1 shot 2 from scratch with all the new knowledge I have now regarding walkcycles for Ara.