One word, Maya. A name that sounds as sweet but will tear you apart if you mistreat it.
This week we were set 2 tasks, the 1st was to animate a bouncing ball and a character named cubie in 2D using Squash and Stretch, a technique that is near vital and impressive if done well. The 2nd was to animate 2 balls on maya, one light, one heavy.
I started with the bouncing balls, seemingly easier compared to the other tasks at hand. I started with the basic ball shape and using only 6 frames I drew the ball stretching out of shape (but not adding mass) in order to give the illusion of the ball stretching. As soon as the ball touched the floor I reversed the frames back to the top to make it look as if the ball bounces. Here's the final result, I had to resist the urge to paint it green and call it flubber.
Ok so cubie was a little harder as he had secondary animation in the form of a type of spring and ball, I forget the official name. I also could not reverse the frames half way as that would make the secondary animation look odd. Using the previous 2D ball animation as a template I sketched cubie out, I added stretch to cubie's 'neck' and squash to the 'body' when he hits the floor. I feel cubie turned out better than the ball bounce, as the sencondary animation added more layers to the animation. Again here's the result.
And lastly onto Maya, it's been a while since I've had to learn a new program and I have to say I really enjoyed it. Though still a complete amateur and first timer I set out to make the heavy ball. After creating the ball I keyframe it at 1 and at my desired height, then key frame the main points ie when the ball hits the ground and when it reaches the peak in the air. Maya helps to fill in the rest, however it automatically makes the animation wavey so therefore the balls slows down, goes through the floor and seriously lacks bounce. So in order to fix this I went into the graph editor which was daunting at first. The graph mapped out the the key frames and shows the time of the animation. To make the ball not slow down and have more of a bounce I needed to break the arms of each key frame and alter the curve to have more velocity. In the graph editor I could also alter the time on each key frame to make sure the ball didn't linger in the air too long or bounce too far away.
For the light ball I used the same process as I did for the heavy ball except I added more height and bounce which made the animation slightly longer. I was really pleased with the outcome of both balls.