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Greeting again,

Wondering your collective thoughts on....

I have 4 characters carrying a 5th character (constrained) on their shoulders.

What's he best way to have these folks walk through town?


- set up path for each character to follow?

- animate the environment and leave the characters stationary?

- establish 1 character as a lead and constrain the others to follow?

- something else?


any advice appreciated.



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A lot will depend on your layout and camera (and I'd say you want to animate such complex shots to the camera).

Not knowing more about that detail I will suggest the following ala 'divide and conquer'.


I would animate the major movement first.

To me this is the group of four characters.

This might best be accomplished by adding a Null to the scene and then constraning the four characters that will be walking to that Null.

In this way wherever the Null goes... that main mass will go.


As a test I set this up and it worked quite well. Where I ran into problems in overlaying additional animation on top of (generic) walk cycles.

This might not be a problem if you are animating each of the characters' walks from scratch.


You *could* attach an additional Null to each Walker's shoulder.

In this way the carried character's appendages will be automatically animated.

This was a second problem area I ran into in my test as keeping the fifth character in line with the primary action can be a chore.

But that is the key (IMO). The carried character is all secondary action to the main movement (ALTHOUGH!) it's no doubt very important that that fifth character be visible in a way to bring focus toward him/her. Note that I don't really know where the focal point in the scene is... I assume the intent to be to suggest that these four are carrying the fifth to a specific location. I further assume they aren't under duress and aren't in a rush... nor are they carrying the fifth on a chair set on top of two poles. There is a lot we don't know here.

Is the carried character conscious for instance? If he's dead weight that presents a different animation problem than if he's looking around or directing the other characters.

The basic approach though remains much the same. Animate the main action first and then add secondary action afterward to support it.

That primary action *could be* that of the fifth character but I didn't test for that.

I suppose that could be mostly just a reversal of constraining to Nulls.


The carried character though... his follow through from the primary action... that of moving up and down primarily... is key to selling the whole thing.

Keeping all characters in readable silhouette is also a challenge and the full solution rests with the intent of the shot as it plays out in your story.

The pass-throughs in the attached obviously need attention. ;)


In the attached I ended up adding a second Null that is constrained to the first which the fifth character is constrained to.

In this way the main mass (four characters) can move and drag along the fifth but the fifth can move subtly moved via that second Null.


I'm not saying this is the best way... and the project file may just be confusing because I smashed things together quickly and didn't delete stuff that wasn't working... but there ya go.



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I thought I should try the two null setup again and this is the results.

It's a no frills (i.e. no secondary animation) rabbit run where four rabbits carry a knight off the battlefield.


Other than the setup itself the only thing adjusted (animation-wise) was the rabbits ears (to differentiate them a little and to suggest direction of movement).

The characters are stock (from the library).

The run is stock (from the library).

Only the Primary Null is 'animated' by moving it in the Z axis.


Of course the fun itself would be turning such a thing into a performance... a clanging hand on the ground... a sense of heavy lifting on the faces of the rabbits... background explosions... a story being told with the characters.


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