My Balls – Week 6

First lesson in Maya today! I already knew the basic steps thanks to my previous classes at 3D Dojo but it was great to refresh my memory. Our lecturer, Alec, walked us through the key commands and features we would be using during this first year such as the graph editor and dope sheet. Then we moved onto the fun stuff; making bouncy balls!

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Our first task was given to us this morning: make three bouncing balls of different mass and weight. We’re also doing this in teams; I’m with Thomas Drake, Michelle Beggs and Eoin Monaghan. I’m really excited about this part of the course and looking forward to doing some animating!


We need to do some research into the twelve basic principles of animation, this week focusing on timing and squash and stretch in particular. Alan Becker has a fantastic YouTube channel with a playlist of the Twelve principles of animation:


So our first Maya project is to create three bouncing balls.

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We looked at the possibility of space hoppers, rugby balls, golf balls etc.

We didn’t want to do anything too fancy so we decided on a bowling, tennis and a beach ball so we can focus purely on the animation.  Michelle took these videos as a reference for our team to use:

Unfortunately, none of us own a bowling ball so we took to Youtube: 

Alec also gave us these links: 


I think the bowling ball will be the easiest because it’s big with a large mass so there’ll be very little squash and stretch if any and a low bounce.

The beach ball has a low mass so even though it’ll be roughly the same size of the bowling ball, it’ll bounce higher (and slower) and have a little squash and stretch also.

However the tennis ball will be tricky to get right. It’s mass is in-between the two so there’ll be more squashing and stretching and it’ll also have a high bounce. It could easily end up looking like a water balloon with too much squash or an extreme ping-pong ball with too much bounce.

From what I learnt about squash and stretch is that it’s used to convey the weight of the subject. The most important thing to remember when using this technique is that the subject being manipulated doesn’t lose any volume, so it’s shape must compensate.


Throughout this task I found that I much prefer the graph editor to adjust everything over the dope sheet or time slider. Forget about tidying up the time slider – if the graph editor is clean and tidy then I’m happy!

I also learnt a valuable lesson – when your happy with your animation, leave it alone. I have a habit of going back and trying to make things better when they don’t really need it.

Por ejemplo, these are my tennis ball playblasts from throughout my animation, re-animation and correction attempts:

I’m starting to think my first go was the best. I’m aware that the balls stop quite abruptly as well. I also think the bounces of the last two are not springy enough, then too springy like as pointed out before a ping pong ball.


So these are the playblasts of my animations:

When it came to animating the final ball (beach ball) I found I was much faster and more organised in approaching it.

 

 

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