Dope Sheet
- For this example, we will stick with our "Mr. Lowercase - I" character. If you need this scene, download it here.
 

Mr. Lowercase - I, ready to be animated
   
 
The first thing we want to do is position the character so that his leg (poor guy) is on the grid line. Starting out this way gives us a guide for the rest of the animation, so we know where the "ground" is located.

If you click on the character now, you may notice that it automatically (depending on your settings) selects a bone. First, you must disable Auto Drill-Down Select in the Options menu.
 
 
  Once you have done that, select the character (easy to just click "Skeleton" in the Items list) and position him as shown below.
 
   
  Now is a good time to point out a caveat of animating with Motion Studio. Any time you make a change to the character, and you want to keep that change, you have to click record in the dope sheet. (Motion Studio disables trueSpace's Auto Keyframe Recording. So, for instance, if you were to change the frame now the character would pop back down below the gridline.)
   
  Go ahead and expand the Tools section.
 
   
  ...and click the record button (red dot)
 
 
  You'll notice there appear to be two keyframes in the Dope Sheet. Since you have recorded on frame 0, you may erase frame 1. To do this, simply select frame 1:
 
   
  ...and then click Erase.
 
   
  I will point out that some may prefer to instead ignor frame 0 and start recording on frame 1. Either way seems to work.
   
  Now we are nearly ready to start making this guy move. But before starting, we need to set up a couple of things. Go ahead and re-enable Auto Drill-Down Select:
 
   
  Also (and this is optional) go ahead and get the Dope Sheet positioned in a way that will make animating easier.
   
 
   
 
 
Here is how I typically configure my Dope Sheet - yours may vary.
   
  Alright, on with the animation part! To keep this tutorial simple, we'll be animating a simple hop.
   
  Go ahead and select the very bottom joint. Next, expand the Joint section and click Nailed.

(NOTE: in Motion Studio, you actually select and move the joints. Bones just basically sit between the joints as connectors and are not actually acted on directly)
 
_
   
  Pose the character so that he's crouching / bent, ready to spring...
   
 

You'll notice how part of the character penetrates the ground. This can easily be prevented with a "foot" bone that would bend such that the bottom part of the mesh stays flat against the grid.
   
  Using the Next Frame button in the Dope Sheet, move forward 5 frames and click Record.
 
   
  Pose the character so that he's at the tip of the jump, just before the feet...er..foot leaves the ground.
 
   
  Using the Next Frame button in the Dope Sheet, move forward 2 frames and click Record.
  Your Dope Sheet should now look like the following...
 
   
  If you want, go ahead and click the Play button in the Dope Sheet to see how this looks. It's only 7 frames but it is very important to play, play, and replay the animation as you add keyframes, to see how the entire motion is building.
   
  In the next frame, the character's feet will leave the ground. Select the bottom / foot joint and again click the Nailed button in the Joints section.
 
_
   
  Now you want to move the entire character up and away from the grid, making sure he is headed in an upward/forward (to the right) motion.
NOTE: Since this is a simple character, with few joints, you can easily move him by clicking the head joint and dragging the whole works. In a more complicated character, or with a larger move, it would be best to disable Auto Drill-Down Select and move it all that way.
   
  Here is how mine looks so far:
 
_
   
  Next we will move the character up up and forward (mostly forward) in a bit of an arc...
   
 
_
   
  Then a couple more frames forward, just before contacting ground...
 
_
   
  ...and a single frame for the actual contact... (on this frame, go ahead and nail the bottom joint)
 
_
   
  ...and a couple more frames for the character to begin landing recovery...
 
_
   
  At this point, I would go back and finesse the keyframes, fine-tuning the sequence.
   
  Click HERE to download my final hop animation.
   
   
   
   
   

Back
 
Next