Remember Dariusz? He’s the modeler extraordinaire and Game-U Accelerate student who’s teamed up with instructor Michael L. Dariusz takes Game-U’s daily modeling challenges to heart, creating speakers, NES controllers, clocks, Overwatch logos, bottles, pokeballs, batteries, and even a Lego R2-D2! Now he’s branching into animation. See his newest project!
Creating animated digital characters (say, Baby Groot, for instance) starts with a 3D model and proceeds to rigging and animation. Animation is movement, but what’s rigging? Well, picture a puppet. To make the puppet move, puppeteers add joints and strings to its rigid “skeleton” so that they, from above, can use the strings to raise or lower various joints. A humanoid puppet with a simple shoulder joint and a string attached to the end of the “arm,” can reach, wave, or swing that arm depending on how the puppeteer moves its string. Computers use the same principle! Rigging adds digital “strings” to the model, which the animator can later manipulate using keyframes. Each keyframe specifies a different movement. When strung together with other keyframes, it plays in sequence to create complicated animations. A model as simple as a bouncing ball doesn’t need full-on rigging to go with its keyframes, however, so for this first project, Dariusz, with Michael L.’s help, only added keyframes that make the ball go up, down, and up again. But since motion affects human perception of shape, Dariusz also grouped his ball together with the squash/stretch tool. The model appears longer when in transit, but expands sideways when it strikes a hard surface, emphasizing its mobility. The result – bouncing! Dariusz still has a few hiccups to iron out, but as an animator, he’s off to a great start.
Thanks for sharing your newest project with us, Dariusz! You’re quickly becoming an independent modeler and soon-to-be animator, and we’re excited to see your progress. Keep up the good work!