Tutorial: Walking a Centipede Along a Path -or- Building Complex Animations from Simple Pieces

Tutorial Walking a Centipede
Version 1.0
Last Updated October, 10, 2001
Animation Master Version v8.5p
Tutorial Level Beginner

In this tutorial, I'm going to cover a whole slew of things. I'll detail them below, but the basic gist is that I'm going to show how from simple building blocks in Modeling, Actions, Materials and Choreography, we can start with a very simple set of things and build towards a fairly complex animation. The entire Project is only 200k, the final animation about 1.06Mb. From that, we'll generate 10 seconds of animation that will consist of our centipede (pictured above) walking across the screen, legs in a nice sequence, blinking, eyes going from fixed in front to looking at the camera, mouth waggling, and even a nice wave before exiting. Not bad!

From an organizational perspective, I'm going to break this in to several pages and sections. You'll find the contents with a simple description below. You can go through a page at a time or just go directly to the section you're interested in. I'm going to assume the audience has a basic familiarity with A:M (I'm running version 8.5p+ for this tutorial) but I am going to go in to a fair amount of detail, hopefully enough to allow you to either just follow along or to create it from scratch.

Note: Probably the best way to do this is to download the Project file here and load that up in A:M and we'll go through how to go from zero to the result. Alternatively, you can get a copy of the final animation here (1.06M Quicktime - Sorenson compression), and if you see something you'd like to know how to do and if so, follow along!

  1. Introduction
  2. Keyboard Shortcuts and Recommended Tutorials
  3. Modeling - Modeling the pieces for our centipede
  4. Rigging - A *very* basic rigging to accomplish what we need and no more
  5. Basic Walk Action - 30 frames of strolling
  6. Choreography - Creating a place to perform
  7. Paths - Our actor needs to know where to go
  8. Model Reuse - Can't just have a head walking along
  9. Ease - Just easing down that path!
  10. More Actions for fun and flavor - Now let's give our actor some character
  11. Summary - Rendering, animations, final words.

Okay, well, that's quite a list for just a 200k Project file, so let's get started!

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