Course info
Mar 28, 2008
3h 8m

Learn time-saving animation techniques, the mechanics of quadrupeds, and a flexible workflow to creating convincing animations in XSI. Contains over 3 hours of project-oriented training. Perfect for intermediate artists. Popular highlights include the following items: mechanics of quadruped animation, quadruped anatomy for animators, reference images, ghosting, captures, copying and pasting keys, working with character key sets, timing and spacing, follow-through, achieving believable weight, translating cycles forward, navigating Animation Editor, modifying F-curves, snapshot curves, cycling animation, animating arcs, in-betweening, and editing slopes. Software required: XSI 6.0 and up.

About the author
About the author

Delano works avidly as an animation author at Pluralsight. Starting his career at animation studios like Shilo, Delano has developed a strong passion for his talents. His animation and rigging background help him teach and create some of the most-watched training on Pluralsight.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Project Overview
Hi and welcome to Animating Quadrupeds in XSI presented by Digital-Tutors. An official Softimage training partner. My name's Dewayne and I'll be your instructor as we learn techniques for Animating Quadrupeds in XSI. In this training, we'll use exercise innovative animation tools to create a galloping horse. Animated quadrupeds can be quite tricky and it's important as animators that we have a good understanding of how various creatures move. And a horse is no exception. So we'll learn ways to make this process much less daunting and more enjoyable while learning several animation techniques, like using helpful reference images to achieve realistic poses and motion, modify function curves and slopes to correct fluidity, working with snapshot curves to help optimize animation, and in the end obtaining a greater understanding of equine mechanics. We have prepared a ton of exciting information for you that I don't want to make the process of animating quadrupeds an unenjoyable one. With that, let's say we go ahead and get started by preparing our scene for our animation. The scene is called, "Horse Gallop Start" and it's located in the project files directory on this training disc. And to mention something briefly about this rig, this is from our Rigging Quadrupeds training. And if you're interested, we do go over several topics that are not only used for quadrupeds, but for your rigging process in general. So, again I'd recommend you checking that out and with that let's go ahead and get started by just setting up our scene to get it ready for our animation process. So first things first, let's go to File and we'll go down to Preferences, and make sure that these are going to be set. So we'll just need to focus on our animation section. We'll right-click and Restore so that your setting are going to match mine. Now we will be using Autokey and we'll make sure that this going to be set on any value changed. Now when working with Autokey, you want to be very responsible to make sure that, if you're just testing a pose out, okay and you don't want to save a key then you'd want to turn off Autokey. But if you're ready for animation and you're moving your character around, moving your controls, you can go ahead and leave on Autokey. So just be very responsible with this, because if not you can accidentally tweek a few things in your animation that you did not want to. Now, with Save Key, this is going to determine what is keyed when we're animating. Okay, so I'd like to leave this at Marked Parameter so we can just select Parameter to Key On. And either press K or have Autokey take in to effect, which is going to be very handy for speeding up the animation process. So that's the reason why we're using this, Autokey that is. But for our Save Key, we can leave this as is for now. We will be switching it temporarily to make sure we have a key on all of our characters or all of our objects. What we will change here is the SOAP Orientation Constraint. Let's switch this to zero orientation. This helps us to very quickly get things like ease-out's and ease-in's. So we can leave that set on. Great and with everything else as is, we can go ahead and close out our Preferences. Our next task is going to be to make sure that we do set a key on all of our controls, so that Autokey will take in to effect for us. So, to start out, on frame one, we can just make sure that we go to our Save Key command preferences. Right next to our character key set menu and just switch this to character key set. From there, we'll want to make sure that we go to our top character key set note, horse, and just make sure that, that is set. And on frame one, we'll just press K. And now we can double check this. Let's go to the Kingpin, in which we'll also make sure that we're using. And we can just select a few of our controls and yes we do have keys on all of them. Great, and if you notice we did also have subkey sets. Okay, we won't really be getting into these, but you do have them available if you were to ever do anything further with this rig as far as animation is concerned. Great, and this is also a topic that we do discuss in the Rigging Quadrupeds. We also do have our Introduction to Rigging and Animation available if you need. Okay, so once we have set a key on everything, we can switch this back to Mark Key Parameters. Let's make sure of that so we don't set a key on everything as we continue to animate. Because that's going to have a clutter of work that we'll have to deal with in the animation editor. So we want to try to key as comfortably as, as cleanly, If I will, as we can. Because that's going to help us to, again, have a much more comfortable process when tweeking the animation in the animation editor. So let's make sure that Mark Key Parameters is checked on. Great, now another thing we can do is make sure that we're using the right manipulator mode. So for the Move tool, let's right-click and make sure that, that's going to be set to Global. This is going to assure that as we move forward in the Z, that we'll only move in the Z and as we move up in the Y, we only will have a key set on the Y rather than everything. Now, just to quickly show you this. If we were to right-click, go to Local, and let's say if we were to go to our rotate, manipulate or rotate, our hoof back and then go to our Move tool. Notice what's going to happen, alright... It follows the orientation of the control object. So this was to move forward. Notice, we're going to have keys on both Y and Z. And this is not really going to help us to animate cleanly and organized. So, again let's just make sure that, that's going to be set to Global. So we can just Undo back those moves. Great, alrighty, and as far as the rotation is concerned, if we go to our Rotate tool and right-click, let's go ahead and switch this to Add. Add is going to assure us exactly how or what axis we're rotating on as we move our control object around. So I really like to use that, I find it more convenient. Okay, and with that, of course we want to turn on Autokey, so that's going to take into effect for us. And lastly, just a quick topic here. If we go to our Transform menu and go it's Preferences, I do have the Click Outside Manipulator set to Select Tool. So we can quickly get to selecting different objects, and animating on them. With all of these things now done, that finishes this lesson. In the next lesson, we're ready to start animating.