cmiVFX has released the brand new Animation Layers and the Mixer Techniques video! Learn to master the tools that make your life as an animator easier! Few tools are better at improving and speeding up your workflow than the Animation Mixer and Layer system in Softimage. These tools allow you to quickly and easily repeat your walk cycles, blend between a walk, run, stop, idle, or any number of combinations of animations. With an almost limitless amount of control, you can easily shave hours, or even days off your production time, and make changes quickly and fluidly. Chris demonstrates the power of these potentially complex tools using provided files so you can follow along.
From The Mentor
You have finally mastered the walk cycle. Congratulations! You are now ready to take the next step (no pun intended) in your development as a professional animator. Learning to work in a production environment means that you need to master the tools that are designed to make your life easier. Few animation tools are better at helping improve and speed up your workflow than the Animation Mixer and Layer system in Autodesk Softimage and Maya. These tools allow you to quickly and easily repeat your walk cycles, blend between a walk, run, stop, idle, or any number of combinations of animations. With an almost limitless amount of control, you can easily shave hours, or even days off your production time, and make changes quickly and fluidly.
We will take you through the complex set of tools, building the skills in a series of progressive steps. You will begin by using the flexible and powerful Animation Layer tool, and making subtle (and not so subtle) changes, giving the walk a much different feel. Once you master these sets of controls, you can quickly build a large library of walk cycles from a single “master” cycle. Create a set of ogres, old men, children, runway models, and superheroes in no time at all!
Next we will explore the powerful world of non-linear animation. Using the same basic sets of controls as the video editors use, you can quickly and easily blend together these new walk cycles, and even transition to runs, jumps and other physical animations with ease. Use the powerful transition tools to blend, and slow down and speed up the animations with the time warp tools.
Then, take the finished animation in the Mixer and add another Animation Layer on top to add an extra level of polish. Your work will stand out from the rest of the pack, and allow you more time to refine the final look of your animation. In this business, it’s all about getting the best quality in the shortest time, and mastering the Animation Layers and the Mixer is a huge step in getting your work the final approval.
VIMEO VIDEO LINK
Animation and VFX Instructor Christopher Tedin offers this workshop on Softimage Animation Layers and the Mixer. This lesson presents production-proven techniques to combine, change and add the final finishing layer to your animations in Softimage.
NOTICE TO VIEWERS:
(While beginner in Softimage will derive benefit from this lesson, it is intended and presented for intermediate animators primarily.)
Here at cmiVFX we maintain a current training library for the latest versions of popular software titles. When it comes to high end CG and VFX training, there is only once choice... cmiVFX! This video is also available a-la-cart in our brand new HTML5 player system.
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Here is a brief introduction to concepts of cycle animation, and talking in general terms about the structure of a walk cycle. This chapter talks about form, balance and weight shifting.
Next, we take the walk cycle and add an Animation Layer to it. We talk about how to set "zero" keys, and create offsets to add a different character to the walk cycle. Specifically, the masculine walk is converted into a more feminine walk using simple rotations. We also talk about how to find these offsets in the curve editor, and how to make changes to the final cycle.
Introduction to the Animation Mixer
Moving on to the Animation Mixer, we will show you how to store clips from existing animation files, and inserting them onto the tracks in the Mixer. We will show how to blend between different clips using various techniques. We also go over the process of exporting and importing clips from disk to be used in different files.
Animation Mixer and Layers
In this chapter we combine the Mixer and Layers and show how fluidly both systems work together. After combining several clips into the tracks, we will use the layers to tweak the final result.
Mixer Tips and Tricks
This chapter will go over some of the more useful shortcuts to the Mixer and each individual clip. We will discuss how to extend each clip, slowing down and speeding them up, as well as trimming each one's length, and creating a relationship between the clips. We will also explore how quickly you can cycle and "bounce" clips to repeat walk and run cycles. .
FInally, we will demonstrate the power of the "Time Warp" feature, which allows you to speed up and slow down the movement of a clip, or a series of repetitions with a single interpolation curve.
About Christopher Tedin
Born in Sitka, Alaska, Chris started his career as a painter and sculptor. He has been working as an illustrator, graphic designer, and most recently as an art director in Chicago, Illinois. He has been teaching game design and animation for over 16 years. His students now work as animators and professional game designers at Blue Sky Studios, Digital Domain, Aardman/Sony, Microsoft, and as freelance independent artists. Many of his students are now college teachers themselves. He started in the early days with Strata StudioPro, then 3ds Max version 1.0, Maya 2.0, Softimage 3.8, Houdini, before finally settling on Softimage XSI, beginning with version 4.0 Foundation. Chris still sculpts and paints and teaches full time at Tribeca/Flashpoint Academy in Chicago.