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Character animation: looping and stopping the loop

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Nicolas Jullien
Character animation: looping and stopping the loop
on May 2, 2018 at 1:21:52 pm

Hi guys.

I'm using after effects for character animation and there's a problem I'm facing all the time. I'd be curious to hear some thoughts about it!

Very often I 'm animation something (say a walk cycle). It's complex, there are a lot of keyframe and it surely is going to be looping many times... but surely I will want to insert changes here and there, or I want my character to stop, do something, then start walking again.
And it's always such a pain to do these... Copying the keyframes many times and putting them at the right place can be very tedious...
The other solution is to precompose the walk cycle and loop the comp but then I can't do any changes happening at a single time during the walk, and also it's a pain to synchronize the end of the walk with something else...

Do you guys have nice solution for these situations or do I have to accept my fate as an animator?


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Eric Santiago
Re: Character animation: looping and stopping the loop
on May 2, 2018 at 5:25:53 pm

Why not create libraries and just use layers.
Even in Maya, I tend to create the same and just plug-in loops/actions.
But in Maya we Trax.
Just watch your keyframe poses at start/end for each layer.

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Character animation: looping and stopping the loop
on May 2, 2018 at 5:29:01 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on May 2, 2018 at 5:30:29 pm

Sorry, but as far as I know any changes to a looping cycle will require painstaking work, and a library of poses, turns, etc. will help a lot. You still have to make them, however.

But it IS a lot faster & easier than traditional cel animation, if that's any consolation.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Steve Bentley
Re: Character animation: looping and stopping the loop
on May 2, 2018 at 9:43:29 pm

What about doing your precomp thing but instead of using loop (which is a one trick pony), use enable time remapping. You can stop and start the animation at any point you wish. If you keep a table of "key" frames you can just type in the value to a new keyframe and that position or part of the animation will appear at that keyframe, no matter where it was in the timeline.
You just have to get used to moving clusters of keyframes so that you don't change the speed (assuming this is important). To my knowledge there is no tool yet in the curve editor to tell you when the difference between two keyframes is exactly the right angle to give you a 1:1 speed between the nested and outer comp. This would be nice as we use the enable time remapping for everything but we always risk changing the speed of the nested comp or having duplicate frames show up if the ETR keyframes are too close or too far apart.

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