Thursday, August 16, 2012

Walking in a Straight Line is Harder Than You Think

Well hello! Week 8 is upon us, readers, and it is the most exciting one yet! We got to block in our very first walk cycle, huzzah! One Leg grew another leg and turned in Ballie, thankfully, or it would have been a really tough walk cycle (well, jump cycle). AND we have another Stu pose this week so I will need your votes to help me pick once again. But first! My revision from last week:

My mentor had a few notes about Tailor, mostly concerning his small hop from frames 47-51 and his flip around frame 36. As for One Leg, he was pleased that he made it into my shot and just had a few notes on tweaking his jump. All in all, I think this is my favorite shot I've done so far as it was definitely the most fun to work on.

ALRIGHT WALK CYCLE TIME. Our lecture this week was fantastic. We got a full blown walk cycle demo from AM's CEO Bobby Beck and tons of great info on walks. Now, unlike some of my classmates, this isn't my first go at this. I've done walks in the past so I know that they are WAY harder than you think they're going to be (I did a quadruped walk cycle while I interned at DreamWorks and it took me freaking forever to get it even halfway decent).

Our assignment this week was to do a vanilla walk with Ballie, meaning just a plain ol' no personality walk that gets him from one side of the screen to the other. As walks go, this is on the easy side since you get to be fairly systematic with it. Plus, there are tons of resources out there that map out exactly how to do a vanilla walk. And Ballie is essentially just a pair of hips with two legs so there's no need to worry about arm swings or overlapping spine/neck/head motion or anything like that. Here it is:

Now keep in mind this is still in the blocking stage, as per our assignment this week. So, since there's only a pose on every third frame, it looks a little choppy but hopefully you still get a solid idea of what the walk is going to look like when it's done. 

Okay, onto the fun part. Our pose this week is supposed to communicate "physical strength". In a sense, this was an easier assignment because it's not an emotion like the past ones have been, so Stu's lack of a face didn't pose as much of a problem. On the other hand, Stu's distinct lack of muscles made it hard to communicate strength without some kind of prop. In my sketches, I did some exploring, doing some poses with props, some without, some with superhuman strength, some poses out of comics books, some from photos, and some out of my head. Here is what came out:

I also decided to add in the silhouettes with this week's poses, because I think it's even more important to have a strong (heh) silhouette and line of action for this particular assignment, again, because it's not an emotional pose and it needs to read right off the bat (and as you can see from number 9, I'm still feeling the gymnastics love even though the Olympics have ended). 

Something I dwelt on a lot while doing these was whether or not it helped the pose if Stu was struggling to push/lift whatever prop he had. In some cases it seems like that would take away from the pose immediately reading as "strength" by making Stu seem weak and unable to move the object, but in others it seems to help the overall reading of the pose. Since I'm still unsure, I'll let you decide! Here are the Stu poses I came up with after getting a bit of feedback from my classmates:

You know the drill by now, right? Which Stu or sketch looks the strongest? Vote away!

And don't forget to come back next week when I'll have a finalized walk cycle and another round of poses for you to vote on! 

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