Solving my previous deformation issue, it was time to animate the character.
I thought I would start off by creating a basic walk for the character, nothing fancy just a walk. I wanted to do this as more of a learning process, so that I would become familiar with how to animate in Maya and then build upon these skills to create far more refined and complex animations.
To start off, I completed some initial research into walk cycle gaining several reference images/ videos that I could use to help me work out the positions and angles of body parts characteristic of a walk.
- Opposite leg opposite arm
- Head moves up and down
- Hips change angle because of the weight placed on one foot or the other
Creation of Walk Animation
Below is a screen record of the process I went through to animate a walk cycle for the character.
In the video you can see that I have placed the reference images onto various planes and I’m trying to match up the position of the character with that off the image, therefore creating a walk cycle. However during the process I realised how different in size and proportion the model was to the reference images and I found it different to then match the two together, due to this difference. With the model containing a longer torso I was unsure if i should then move the body down the same amount as the women on the images who had a shorter torso. In the end I found the reference images too hard to match and just used them as a visual guide rather than an exact one.
Getting The Animation onto Unity – Baking
How to a transfer the animation from Maya onto Unity?
Researching into this question, I learnt that I needed to bake the animation onto the skeleton for it be saved, in order to be readable for Unity. I found a Lynda tutorial (linked below) that explains how to bake an animation onto the skeleton on the model, so I followed the video using the same steps for my model.
- Once baked the animation can not be changed – control rig no longer moves the model as it is bound to the baked animation on the skeleton – Remember to save the a seperate file with the baked animation on so that I retain an editable version.
I tried to put the animation onto unity and yes I got the model on there and saw it working in the inspector view but I wasn’t sure how to actually get it to work. Discussing this issue with Bobbie, she suggested I hand over the animation to her and she will try to get it working. I felt this was a good plan as she has a far better understanding of the Unity project than I do, due to her coding it. Therefore I thought she would be able to get the animations running far quicker and far more efficient than I could. Meaning we can reflect upon the animation in game sooner so I can crack on with developing and refining it.
- Hand this to Bobbie and see if she can get the animation working in unity
- Get the cloths modeled and animated – research below
I have researched into nCloth which is a feature in Maya that makes objects behaviour like materials and so if a useful for clothing. I experimented with this briefly before within my previous model however I got stuck with making the material opaque, though I have found a few more tutorials down below which better explains how to do this and so I will place them below for future reference.
Therefore in the future I will try to use these tutorials in order to make the skirt animate like a material and appear in Unity.
However this more about adding extra detail and realising to the character, whereas refining the walk is key for getting the right feel of movement. Therefore adding an animating skirt is not at top priority currently though I will work on it in the future if I have time.