• Sydney McPherson

The Chase - Process Work

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

Here you can about my process to approaching my final animation assignment in my Character Essentials class!

For this assignment, the goal was to learn to take risks in how I move my character around the scene. Cover lots of ground and get used to exaggeration! Since our character needed to run, dodge, and jump over obstacles, I knew I wanted some kind of dramatic chase scene. I have always been enamored by olympic gymnasts floor routines and their control while flipping mid-air. I wanted to channel their confidence and weave that into my character's mindset.

I began with some storyboards, which is actually rare for me! I'm excited to continue using this type of workflow for planning really involved shots like this one. Boarding this out helped me decide what I wanted the camera to do and how the character could use the space in an interesting way. I went with a single vault over the first obstacle into a recovery, then a fast run, round-off in to a backhandspring, just before the character exits the frame. All this while laser blasts enter from off screen!

The next step was creating a layout with rough animation. In the back right corner you can see the rig I went with; Rocket Girl a great rig created by Vladimir Mokhov and Stephanos Shino. After this I went through the long process of finding reference footage for all of the jumps and flips. For this I used parkour and Olympic gymnastics videos!

I blocked out the animation mostly on 2s. The actual round-off backhandspring needed to be on 1s. Keying every frame was how I kept the controls from moving randomly throughout the scene, giving me strange in-betweens. As I progressed, I began to exaggerate, switch up the timing, and overall, deviate from my reference video.

I usually block using stepped mode, however for this particular animation, I decided to animate in auto tangents. Since the character turns upside down and her X-rotation made it to the 300s easily, animating in auto helped me catch gimbal lock early!

As of today, I just finished my second pass which you see below. I have a full page of feedback and so it's time to push poses, refine spacing/timing, and really get the energy to come across better!

I'm new to blogging like this, so hopefully as I continue, I'll get better at documenting my workflow and remember to do more incremental playblasts.

I'll be sure to keep you updated on my progress!

Sydney :)

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