9: Ease and Action Offset

This is where the meat of the tutorial is. Everything else led up to this magical moment, so on to the fun!

So, what do we need to get our centipede to walk the path as we want him to? First, we need each of the segments to follow the one in front of it. Second, we need each of the Actions applied to the segments to lag the one in front by a bit. That should get us very close to what we want.

Go to Basic3Pt->Shortcut to HeadSeg->Choreography->Shortcut to HeadSeg and pick Constrain to Path "1" (Path1). You should see the image below. Note the Ease Channel, the slider at the bottom of the Properties. The Ease channel is a way to say how far, on a given frame, you want the model to be along the path that was specified. With the Current Frame Field at zero, advance the Ease channel slider so that the HeadSeg moves far enough along the path to leave room for the other BodySegs.

For each of the other BodySegs, do the same thing, advancing the Ease at time 0 so that each BodySeg is right behind the one in front of it. The slider only seems to advance by 1.0% at a time, but if you need the accuracy, just edit the Ease value. In my case, at time zero, the HeadSeg started at 11% and the last BodySeg started out at 3.4%. Now, advance the scrub bar to the end of our animation (11:09 or whatever). Now repeat the previous step for the HeadSeg down through the BodySeg(5), advancing the Ease channel for each (not the Ease channel in the Walk action!) so that at the end of the animation, the HeadSeg is at the end of the Path1 and each BodySeg finishes right behind the one in front of it.

If you scrub through now, you'll notice that we now have a complete centipede, with a HeadSeg and several BodySegs (you could have more, but this gives us the idea). The remaining problem is with the legs. They don't follow just behind the one in front. How do we get this effect?

Pretty easily, actually. With the Current Frame Field back at zero, go in to each of the BodySegs and edit the Properties for the Shortcut to Walk. The HeadSeg Starts at 00:00:00. Make the first BodySeg Start at 00:00:02 or two frames later. For each of the following segments, make it Start two frames later than the one in front of it. One upshot of this: for the first few frames of the animation, the legs of each following BodySeg will take a few frames to get moving. So, I'd recommend having the Path1 start off camera for long enough for the legs to get moving. In my case, the last BodySeg got moving after 10 frames.

Now, we could stop there, but let's do one more section to add some life to this creature for very little extra work. Go to the next section to add some more Actions that will help liven things up.

Previous Home Next

Mossor.org Home | Desktop Studios Home

This document maintained by webmaster@mossor.org.
Material Copyright © 1999-2001 Darrin Mossor