Per­for­mance and Act­ing: Cre­at­ing Be­liev­able Char­ac­ters

An­i­ma­tor and con­cept artist In-Ah Roedi­ger helps you get un­der the skin of your character in her Maya master­class

ImagineFX - - Art Tools Hardware & Training -

Pub­lisher The Gno­mon Work­shop

TPrice $49 he PR prob­lems for com­puter-gen­er­ated an­i­ma­tion come from its name. Many peo­ple as­sume the com­put­ers do most of the work, but in fact CG an­i­ma­tion re­mains a painstak­ing field. In-Ah Roedi­ger’s video shows the skill that’s de­manded of pro an­i­ma­tors, as she de­picts a character act­ing out a pas­sage of pre-recorded audio.

In-Ah starts by gath­er­ing her ref­er­ence – or rather, cre­at­ing it. She lis­tens over and over to the audio loop, first get­ting a feel for her character, then act­ing out the character’s move­ments. She also makes sev­eral passes at lip-sync­ing the speech from sev­eral cam­era an­gles. The un­der­stand­ing of your character you gain through do­ing this is use­ful for all artists, not just an­i­ma­tors.

Then it’s into Maya, the queen of an­i­ma­tion soft­ware, to work with the character model. Don’t ex­pect a be­gin­ner-friendly run-through of

For­mat DVD/down­load

Web www.theg­nomon­work­ Maya’s an­i­ma­tion tools: barely any­thing is ex­plained, and the character In-Ah uses is al­ready mod­elled, tex­tured and rigged. InAh’s fo­cus is the de­tail of character an­i­ma­tion. She’s op­er­at­ing on the level you as­pire to once you’ve mas­tered the ba­sics and can as­sem­ble a walk cy­cle.

You’ll see In-Ah follow a stan­dard pro­ce­dure of block­ing out the big move­ments, be­fore re­fin­ing and re­fin­ing again. One ex­tended pas­sage, for ex­am­ple, fo­cuses on cor­rectly pac­ing eye blinks and the move­ment of the eye­ball be­neath the eye­lid. To­gether, th­ese tiny de­tails es­tab­lish a character you be­lieve is real and has her own per­son­al­ity.

Per­for­mance and Act­ing is gold dust for an­i­ma­tors – it’s full of clever tricks and tech­niques. And even if you’re not an an­i­ma­tor, In-Ah will in­spire you to take the time to un­der­stand your char­ac­ters, and show the ded­i­ca­tion that goes into craft­ing ev­ery sec­ond of big-screen an­i­ma­tion.

In-Ah be­gins her tu­to­rial by act­ing out how the character might be­have, build­ing a li­brary of ref­er­ence to show how she moves and talks.

Work­ing with splines en­ables In-Ah to ad­just ev­ery as­pect of the an­i­ma­tion un­til

the per­for­mance and tim­ing is spot-on.

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