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Proposed plan of Body Mechanics Boot Camp

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Body Mechanics Boot Camp won't be a "10 weeks to a new career in animation!" kind of class. Our goals are narrowly focused.

As i have interacted with forum members over the years I've noticed that many are not using A:M to their advantage for animation and are often lacking in animation fundamentals they need to get good results.


I'm envisioning maybe 10 exercises over 10 weeks with the aim of introducing proper use of the A:M tools and developing your eye for better motion in your animations.

We'd start with a bouncing ball because that is a key entry point for some animation and workflow fundamentals. Hopefully we'd get up to walking characters because that also encompasses many animation process essentials.


We can't cover all of animation in 10 exercises but my hope is to get you to the point where you can begin to make sense of the vast amount of expert animation advice out there, like the books by Richard Williams or Preston Blair, and not be derailed translating it to a CG environment like A:M.


A typical session might go like this:


We'd start by looking at everyone's work on the assignment from the previous week. I would go through each one and pick out the details that are working and not working and identify what needs to be revised to meet the goal of the exercise (and you will bring that revision in next week). I may very well ask class members if they can identify something gone wrong in a classmate's work.


It is very useful to see each other's work, and see it critiqued even though you're all doing the same exercise. That's why i want to do this as a skype session with everyone online at once.


The latter part of the session would be devoted to the new assignment. I'd explain it and why we are doing it. Why it works, why it's useful. Perhaps show some examples that illustrate the concepts. I'd also do at least part of the exercise myself live in front of you so you can see it being done, and being done in A:M. Time permitting, we may have one of the students try it live and perhaps catch any misunderstandings about what to do.

It will take you longer than it takes me when you are doing these things for the first time. You will need about five or six hours of clear time during the week to get your own work done, preferably in one or two sittings rather than scattered 15 minute bites. Assignments would typically need to be turned in to me the day before our live session.


Although this isn't a collaborative project like "Tin Woodman" it's still important that everyone get their part done on time so we can all examine it in class. There's a lot of learning that comes from seeing someone else try to do the same thing you just tried to do. If you don't have your work done we are all poorer for it.

If you are interested, get your entrance animation in by Dec 31!



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Things we won't be studying in this class...


Modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering.


Those are all important fields in themselves but they won't figure into our projects.


The models for the exercises will be supplied and the rendering details will be as simple as possible.

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