Character animation

Im new to blender and followed the BsoD tutorial. I finished with the bones and am about to start doing the animation part. But before i started i wanted to see what animating a character is like. I tryed to make him jump but when i pressed alt a to see the product it was very unhuman. If i were to jump in the air it would look nothing like that. It was very rigid and unsmooth. Is there away to animate smoother or is it something you develop over time?
How do you tell a character to grab another object and hold it in your hand?

there are free bvh files you can import that are rigged;they track more fluid motion sets
go here :

haha kidding

Is this what most people do?

dont think so, character animation takes a shat load of time. ide go to keith langos sight and do his tutorials, i dont no the link,

I still can’t animate a walk cycle worth a darn! It takes time. Look at videos of people doing what you want to animate.

Don’t be afraid of crude movements at first, Just add more key frames to smooth things out.

Above all, don’t get discouraged - just keep doing it and you’ll get better. That’s the way it is with everything!

k where is keith’s site?

note:havent tried it too lazy to look it up

you could askjeeves where it is

It’s developed over time. If you flesh out the primary actions first then add the secondary actions to smooth it out, like movement in the hands and head, pushing the chest out for the jump folding the shins and feet under. The refine the secondary actions again so you get movement in the fingers and the face during the jump.

Basically work out big then go smaller each time. Pro animators usually get 5 seconds of film-quality CG animation a week on average, so take your time

Wow never knew it took that long just to animate. But ya how do you tell a person to grab and object and wield in their hands?

did u try saying please?

I dont quite understand what you mean, are you saying im rude?

Nah he’s having a joke with you, LOL :smiley:

to do that you need to do one of either two things. You can either place a bone in the object separately and manipulate the hands around it and move the objects bone accordingly, very painstaking and time consuming OR you can place a small bone above the palm and create a copy location constraint on it everytime you want to move it about.

But if you’re serious about doing animation in Blender, get the ‘Introducing Character Animation’ book, it’ll tell you everything!

another thing is, just cus there isnt a blender tutorial about ur subject doenst mean u can grab a free maya tutorial about wat ur wanting to know and not apply it to blender, i have seen one for 3ds max i think that is how to grab objects and they show u a trick where u can totally bypass the whole grabbing thing, pretty cool

K, thanks guys, ya i bought the animation book, ill look into that and into the 3d max tutorials.

I’ve only just started to get into animation myself, doing a course in Maya so I don’t know for sure how this applies to Blender. To grab an object, you should be able to keyframe an object / hand parent relationship so that from that point if you move one, the other is affected. Usually, this is done with IK so that moving the object around causes the hand to follow it (you animate the sword he his holding to make it look like he’s waving it around) For this kind of rig, you need tracking objects for the elbows to point at (like what were made with the BSoD tutorial eyes) so that the elbows don’t go all over the place.

As far as making your jump look natural, it can take ages. As has been said, work on key poses first (standing, squat down, leap up at point where toes just lift from ground, leap up at max height, leap up where knees come up just a bit at this same height, falling where first part of foot touches ground, falling where whole foot is on ground, lower squat with arms back, squat with arms circling to regain balance, standing straight again) but try to get these key poses absolutely right each step of the way. On each key pose, I would normally keyframe everything in the character even what doesn’t move… so get them looking good. They you go back and add minor inbetweens (make the arms circle, not move straight etc). Timing can be a bit of a cow, and therefore video reference where you have frames mapped out is helpful.

I would recommend The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams if you want to look at what makes good versus bad animation.

Yeah totally Lancer, that is THE best book on the subject because it’s unbiased and doesn’t focus on a disney-esque or warner bros style of animation. Richard Williams is from the old school and there will never be another person with as much knowledge on the subject as him for a long time. Except maybe John K. but thats a different story… If you can sort out your walk cycles, you can do any other type of animation, it’s the foundation of ALL good animation.

Think of animation in the same way a sculpter works on a block of stone, they chip away the big chunks off to get a general shape that they’re happy with and looks about right, then refine refine refine… Be hostile, if it still looks like shit keep at it until it does look right. Focus on different areas in relation to others, do they shift correctly? Also having an anatomy book to understand the skeleto-muscular structure and knowing how each and every part of the body moves and in what way is vital to all good animation!

Good Luck!