Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The 3 Bounce Ball Part 2: Block-in

1. Now it's time to block in your main keys. Move the ball where you want to begin the animation and set a position key (shift + W) on frame 1. I turn on auto keying at this point, but that's my personal preference. If you don't turn it on, make sure you're setting keys manually where necessary.

2. Look at your breakdown sheet to figure out where to set your next key. Move the timeslider to that frame. Move the ball. Set a position key. (Shift + W). Repeat until you've blocked in all of your hits and apexes. Don't set squash and stretch keys yet. Save your work with the 0X suffix.

3. After setting your rough position keys, check that your keys are positioned in correct relation to each other. Your apex keys should be in the middle of your hit keys. If they're not, the ball will not bounce evenly and realistically. To check the position you can use ghosting.

4. To ghost the ball, first make sure you've set Maya to use the Animation menu-set. If you don't, "Animation" will not appear in the menu bar. Now, with the ball selected, choose Animation > Ghost Selected > Options Box from the menu bar. If you select custom frames in the Ghost options, you can set a higher number of ghosts. I chose 20 so I can get a good view of how the keys and apexes relate to each other.

5. Use the ghosts to examine the ball motion checking that the hits and apexes are where you want them to be. If they're uneven and screwed up, fix them by moving to a keyframe and repositioning the ball. Scrub the timeline back and forth to update the ghosts. You should have sharp, angled Pong-like bounces with perfectly even spacing. That's the linear tangent in action. Robotsville, Daddy-o.

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