Hi my name is James Salter and I’m a student at Gnomon School of Visual Effects. I’ve been drawing with anything I could get my hands on for as long as I can remember. You name it, I’ve probably made a mark with it. My combined love of traditional drawing, theatre and computers eventually lead me to a career in animation. I recently graduated from Gnomon and here are some of my animation tips.

Inspiration

I’ve been a fan of martial arts since I was introduced to Walker: Texas Ranger as a kid.  I am fascinated by the combined strength and fluidity.  Add to that a marathon viewing of the Kung Fu Panda movies and I had a good kick in the pants to animate my own martial arts shot.

Research

I started by searching on YouTube for reference of the specific moves I had in mind; a jab/cross combination, sidekick, and a kip up.

Once I had gathered my basic reference, I began looking at tutorial videos and articles for each move.  This helped me to understand better the body mechanics and gave me a head start on the key poses.

I find that when I let Maya interpolate my key poses, I do not exaggerate enough

Blocking Key Poses

Using my reference, I did a series of thumbnail sketches to lock down the gesture of each pose.

key pose

At this point, I finally moved into my Maya workflow.  I posed all my key poses and did a basic timing pass.

Posing In-Betweens

posing

I worked in stepped mode during this phase of animation.  I find that when I let Maya interpolate my key poses, I do not exaggerate enough.  Working in stepped mode makes me think about my poses and actions, and I consciously design each movement.

Related link: How to model and texture anime fanart

Splines, Arcs, and Clean-up

I worked in stepped mode until I was happy with the flow and timing of the animation.  About one pose every two frames.  I then switched my animation curves to spline mode.

arcs

Using a program called EpicPen, I plotted my arcs and tweaked my poses to have a good flow. Next, I did a final animation pass to add small details and polish.

Wrapping It Up

Finally, the animation was complete, and I could spend some time on the presentation.

I rendered this scene using Maya’s DirectX 11 shader in Viewport 2.0.  This allowed for real-time rendering, which saved me a lot of time during my busy class schedule.

boxing

You've successfully subscribed to Discover
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Great! You've successfully signed up.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.