Body Mechanics and Shot Building Fundamentals, Part 1

Taught by Toby Winder

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
January 2020 
9 hours 39 minutes 
This course, taught by Toby Winder, is the first part of an extensive two-part offering. First, it focuses on improving your grasp of body mechanics and furthering their grasp of animation principles that were covered in ANI104. Next, planning begins for animating a short sequence of three shots. The sequence provides the opportunity to show what it is like to work on animation in a more realistic studio environment. This courses includes a further look at animating cycles and how to integrate them into a shot.

During the classes, Toby shows the animation process in real-time so you can see first-hand what it entails instead of cutting out various parts of the process. This is very much on purpose for the course. Using the fxphd player, you may tailor the speed to your liking and focus on the areas which are most important to you.

This course is taught by Toby Winder, a Senior Animator currently based in Montreal. He has been in the animation and visual Effects industry since 2006 and has contributed to many projects such as Batman: The Dark Knight, Dr. Strange, and Alien Covenant. Toby has animation experience in high-end VFX, television, commercials, and games.

Body Mechanics and Shot Building Fundamentals, Part 1
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1: Introduction and Scene/Maya setup

We give a brief overview of the course, discuss the rig we are going to be animating with, and discuss setting up Maya for animation (general layout and useful scripts/hotkeys).

Class 2: Staging: Part 1

We start blocking in our general motion across the whole sequence. We use a low-res stand-in character for quick responsive animation. We also discuss real-world examples and pipelines that are relevant to this sort of exercise.

Class 3: Staging: Part 2

We discuss possible camera work that could be used in the sequence and how we can effectively cut between cameras within the constraints of Maya.

Class 4: Run Cycle: Part 1

We start animating our run cycle for the sequence, working first on key poses and breaking down the core body mechanics of a run.

Class 5: Run Cycle: Part 2

We continue our run cycle animation, getting into more depth with the details of the run.

Class 6: Run Cycle: Part 3

Our run cycle work continues, making sure it can travel forward without slipping and other issues.

Class 7: Shot 1: Reference and setup

We will look at some references for our shot, discussing different methodologies to utilize reference and what to look for when finding a reference. We also discuss possible pitfalls with our shot and ways to avoid them, taking a sensible methodology forward into the next classes.

Class 8: Shot 1: Blocking key poses

We start blocking our key poses for the shot. We look closely at the reference and discuss how to use it as an inspiration for our animation, without totally relying on it as rotoscope animation. While blocking these poses we will keep all the animation principles in mind.

Class 9: Shot 1: Blocking key poses, continued

We continue to block the key poses for our shot and begin to add in more poses to refine the blocking.

Class 10: Shot 1: Blocking and Refinement

In this class, we continue and finish our first blocking of the shot. We then start to refine with working on the energy and movement of the largest masses first. Attempting to create smooth and appealing motion.

Class 11: Shot 1: Refinement through camera animation

We continue to refine the motion, improving weight and arcs for the body and limbs. We also start to block in rough camera motion so that we can begin to refine more from the camera’s point of view.

Class 12: Shot 1: Blending to the run cycle

The most technical part of the shot is started, beginning the process of integrating the run cycle into our shot.

Class 13: Shot 1: Blending to the run cycle, continued

We finish the process of integrating the run cycle and work on improving the blend to make it more seamless. We will also wrap up this course and prepare for the next part in ANI202.