Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Run Studies

I was putting together a lecture on runs and took a minute to do some really rough studies to try to understand them a bit further. This is mostly me noodling around trying to understand the mechanical relationships beyond just doing one and having it look good. I try to do these as much as I can/need when trying to solve a motion problem. Pose and motion relate completely in animation, but I find in doing cycles, the motion itself is a kind of character, or, rather can be a really strong indicator of what's going on in the body. Runs in a way are almost an animation of a strong pose, and the character and energy applied can really be found in the little much hang time in the kickoff. What are the arms doing? Are they pumping and driving the motion like a sprinter? Or going along for the ride as an extension of the torso rotations in the case of a jog.

I did a couple of as an 18f run without a huge stride. It's more of a jog and designed to get a general sense of cadence and rhythm. No rotations yet, just a general idea and an attempt to get the y of the pelvis relating to the movement of the feet...always the first thing I try to nail down.

Next, the 18f run with torso and pelvic twist. This turned out to be the most important thing to get. It was easy to overanimate everything, but the twisting of the torso really made it feel more like a run. I started out with a lot of compression after the feet contacted the floor, but it was looking really rubbery and, well, wrong.

After this came the 18f run with compression. Whereas in a walk there's a nice, rhytmic, sinuous motion to the spine, in a run, it seems to be more of a reaction to the impact of the body from the pumping of the legs. This of course, becomes inviolate when doing a full on sprint, Where the body is held much more rigid. I'm mixed on the compression idea...I think if it's done right, it can add a lot of weight and character to an animation that by it's nature can be somewhat mechanical (ameliorated by offsetting things..having hip and shoulder rotation happen early and late relative to the body, etc). The thing I'm mixed on is that it can look kinda floppy if overused (as my example is a bit) What I was happy with was the slight offset of the y motion in the pelvis to torso...the offset compression made it feel like it was a connected body rather than a series of parts. It was still looking static so I added a minute bit of forward back in the z, which made another rhythm that seemed to help make it less static.

Next, I started taking a stab at the 14f run...more of a sprint, though the feet are completely wrong...there should be a higher arc in the front and a quick descent, but again, these are studies, and that's the next step in refinement. I changed the stride length, positioned the legs further back, and angled the pelvis forward. I should probably explore a less slouched position for the upper body. Working through them, I ended up with one with a lot quicker torso twist, added hands to show the pumping action, revised the arcs of the feet.

These are super rough studies, so don't judge! They're a great refresher for quickly testing yourself on what you actually know about motion and what's actually going on in a cycle in a way that gets the information out as fast as possible.

I hope this is useful, and feel free to add/dispute any of the above...


Naré-Krel Lis said...

This is great stuff. Class has made me think in depth about how energy moves through the body and out into the world.
And the critical way in which we analyze the walks/runs has helped a lot.

jeff said...

'energy' is a good way of thinking about it. I may steal that from you.

A lot of what helps in cycles in moving beyond just poses is how the energy of parts works with each other - a jog with a lot of Y motion will be expressed in curves throughout the body.

Isa said...

These are great! Since this is a general approach to doing a run cycle, you can still find the "core" positions in some way or another in every run. The type of run and the personality you're going to give the character will influence each pose and the timing but these core poses will always be present.

I know that what I'm saying is kinda obvious but it took me a while to figure it out, I mean; giving a character its own personality is hard so finally understanding that makes things easier.