Students & Faculty continue work on the Zoom In! project over the summer. Their latest production blog (reproduced here with permission) is brought to us by Emily Zink which discusses the nuance required to achieve a convincing run cycle in animation.
Zoom In! is an animated video designed to introduce K-3 grade students to the fundamental concepts of nano-science. The video is being made by students in the School of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University with support from Department of Physics and Astronomy and sponsorship from the American Physical Society.
Now that we’re knee-deep in animation, it’s safe to say that we’ve had both successful days and somewhat less successful days in the animation studio. There’s nothing like that feeling of watching a perfect shot play before your eyes after several hours of painstaking minuscule movements, but sometimes we don’t get so lucky. There have been days where we worked really hard, with less than fruitful results. Our biggest challenge so far has definitely been Gwen’s run cycle.
Almost every fellow animator I’ve spoken with has agreed that the hardest movement to execute in animation is the run or walk cycle. The first day that I attempted Gwen’s run, this was the result:
What I now affectionately call, “The Angry Stomp,” it’s easy to see that Gwen is definitely…not running. I needed some serious backup...
After attaching Gwen to a rig and with the additional much needed help of Jimmy on animating and Amanda on masking out the rig in post, we created a significantly better run cycle.
Switching gears to smoother days, my most successful animation thus far would definitely have to be when Gwen tries to brush the dirt off of her dress, immediately after this run cycle.
It’s a really cool feeling to see something that you know is artificial look super realistic. These kind of “YES!” moments are what keep me motivated as an animator, as any animator can attest to. Sometimes, after long hours of animating in a tiny cluttered room, we start to get a little burnt out. Our solution? Making Gwen do creepy things.
It’s very easy to turn this sweet, innocent nano-scientist into a nightmarish demon, but of course we only do so with the highest taste in mind.
So far, the animation experience has had its ups and downs, but nothing that I haven’t eagerly welcomed as a new challenge. I always look forward to the next session, and can’t wait to see the final project in the future.
This post originally appeared on the Zoom In! production blog on July 26, 2013. View the original here.