How do you do the blocking animation?

I know that maybe it is a dumb question, but i wanted to know your process on making the blocking pass of a character animation, i mean, working on the poses and timing without doing the interpolation. I jost wanted to know if there are more than one way of doing it. Thanks in advance.

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If i understand correctly, you want to set up your scene so that you can remove the interpolation between keyframes.
In 2.5 you can set this as a default action by going to User Preferences>Editing, then under “New F-curve defaults” Choose “constant” from the Interpolation drop-down. That will set it so that there is no interpolation by default.
To change keys that you have already set, go to the Graph Editor, F-Curve Editor, and select all keys that you want to remove interpolation on and press shift+T, Constant mode.
In 2.4 you can change existing keys in a similar way, by going to the IPO editor, selecting the curves and press Curve>Interpolation mode>Constant.

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yeah, you’ve understood correctly. There are another ways to do it? just for curiosity.
Thanks for the answer.

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That’s it. You use Constant interpolation.

As for technique, some people just block the major poses. Others (like myself) also block in anticipation and follow through. I’d read from one animator (can’t remember who – worked on Transformers iirc) that he also blocks his overlap at this stage too! Seems a bit extreme to me, but I’ve never animated for a major motion picture, so what do I know? :slight_smile:

Edit: On more thing – at the blocking stage, I set a key on all control bones for a pose regardless of whether or not they have actually transformed. It prevents unwanted and surprising “floats” once you release everything to Bezier interpolation.

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Harkyman, i prefer the same, blocking anticipation and follow through; it gives a better idea of the timing of the actions. And setting a key for all control bones is really useful, as you say. Thanks!

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I block in two passes: blocking and blocking plus.
Blocking plus is when I add breakdowns and include overlap.
If I do the blocking correctly, by the time I switch on the bezier splines, there is very little polish to do.

While I also use constant interpolation for blocking, another technique some people use is called “twinned pairs” this basically involves leaving the splines on and making two keyframes for each pose: an in and an out. This can help with moving holds and defining pauses.

Another technique is to ignore timing and do all your keyframing on ones, then space them out to twos, then do all your breakdowns, and then start playing with timing in the dopesheet. This separates the process of making poses and doing the timing. I haven’t tried this technique yet, but it seems like it’s worth a try.

Basically there is no one process that works, and it’s up to you to choose which method suits you best, but while you are learning, it is definitely worth trying as many approaches as possible.

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I use the “twinned pairs” method as freen suggests as the constant interpolation can cause problems for me later on and I see no real reason to use constant just to switch back to spline based once you are done with stage 1 blocking. I also just space out each pose on 10s (up arrow hotkey) until I get most of them done, then I fool with the timing. Of course all of this requires sketches and an idea of the timing you want, you can use reference footage. (a good idea)

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Basically there is no one process that works, and it’s up to you to choose which method suits you best, but while you are learning, it is definitely worth trying as many approaches as possible.

yep, i think so.
I was doing some simple animations and a lot of motion graphic, but by now i’ll start learning some advanced character animation, so i wanted to know how do you do the animation process in Blender.
Thanks freen!

Here is a great article on this subject. Worth the read.

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definitely, worth the read. And the VTC of keith lango are really a great deal. :wink:

I remember reading that several years ago. It’s a good intro to one work flow that works well. The only things I really disagree with on a personal note are the 2006 update to his overlap method and the use of linear interpolation in the middle. For overlap, I prefer a hybrid approach – building it into your breakdowns, but still using key offsets at the beginning and end of actions in the appropriate fashion for force hinting. Also, I don’t see the need to use linear interpolation during the middle section. He refers to how long a motion takes as the “Transition time”, where as I look at it as “motion velocity”. They lead you to the same place, but via a slightly different concept. It seems like he assumes that if he gets the transition time right, all will work out when you break out to Beziers and you can tweak it in F-Curves. I like to see the ease-in/out while I’m working on that step, because it informs the velocity of each motion.

A lot of people don’t know this, but you can flip poses with CTRL+PageUp and CTRL+PageDown. That means you can flip you’re poses in a generic timing. I see a lot of people time things on tens, then flip them with up/down arrows. But there is a better way! :slight_smile:



I initially block every pose on each sequential keyframe (1,2,3,4) etc
Flipping from one pose to the next, to see if the shapes work well together and I’m getting good contrast. Make sure everything flows. Overlap, follow-through are all include at this stage, albeit in basic form. Then i concentrate on the timing… spacing those poses out.
Then i fill in the gaps, controlling every frame like it was my very own. I let the computer do very little.

blender 2.5 Question:
Is it possible to “move every keyframe after the cursor +1 or +10” Or “move every selected keyframe +1 / +10”.
Say, SHIFT + Right Arrow = move keys one frame right, SHIFT + CMD + Right Arrow = move keys ten frames right. Left arrow does the reverse.

Sorry to hijack this thread, but it’s a blocking shortcut I use ALOT in maya.

If not, sounds like a great excuse for me to learn a little bit of python and get stuck into creating a little animation toolkit for myself.


@tropt: that’s exactly one of the approaches I described above (post 6, third para). Seems like a good one, but I’m not sure how it would go in a production when you are handed a layout shot with a camera move and rough character timing.

Also, you can drag all keys after the cursor by selecting all your keyframes, pressing “E” (for extend) and typing the number of frames by which you want to extend. You can also press E and drag the mouse.

It’s quite a flexible technique. Instead of having your poses on every sequential frame, you position them roughly in time to match the camera/layout. When flipping through your poses, you just flip to the next keyframe and ignore the gaps. It’s a good technique for me, because I find posing to be such an involved process… it’s a relief not to worry about timing and just concentrate on getting some great dynamic shapes. When i move onto timing… i just concentrate on getting that part right, knowing my poses are pretty solid.

Thanx so much for the E(extend) shortcut. Just added it to my animation quick reference guide.

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When I block my poses is using auto-keying, is there a fast way to not have to select all bones (pressing “a”) and than manually key all bones at once?

I just want all bones to be keyed as soon as I move one bone at a certain frame.

Hmm… maybe by pressing I in the action editor?
Otherwise, investigate keying sets.