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For my third exercise in animation with Blender, I chose what I thought would be an easy clip of my subject jumping off a log at the playground. The idea was that the animation would be simple and would provide large-scale movement to test a ponytail with one of the physics modifiers. This didn’t turn out to be the case. I fell into the “awkward valley” of too much effort for too little polish.

I made a GIF of a part of my screen to demonstrate the foot pivot switching in the PitchiPoy Blender animation rig. After all the cropping and skipping of frames, the final animated GIF is 1.5MB. The source .mkv file, with all the frames, and 1440p resolution, was 1.6MB! Whether this was an appropriate use of a GIF, given its size, I’m not sure. We’ll see if my web host ever complains.

For my second exercise in animation with Blender, I used the PitchiPoy rig, which is an option with Blender’s Rigify script. The difference I was really curious about for the moment was the foot rig (more rambling about that in my earlier post). In FK mode, the foot can pivot around the ankle, and in IK mode it can pivot around the toe. This lets us use both pivot points, using FK->IK and IK->FK snapping to switch between them without the bones gaining a net translation with repetition.

I have an old ambition to try 3D animation using Blender. There are many levels at which this can get complicated (have a look at the end credits on a high-profile animated movie), but I have a pretty good casual hobbyist’s feel for Blender’s modelling and rigging features, so I felt equipped to learn the missing bits to posing and rendering something simple. I used a very simple character model, consisting of very few mesh points – I started with rectangular prisms (specifically, this being Blender, cubes) for all body parts, and tweaked the corners, and added vertex loops to make some bits bendable.