10: More Actions == More Fun!

We now have a centipede that is willing to walk the line we set up, moving his legs in a nicely synchronized fashion. That's nice and all, but he still seems a little ... dead, maybe not very interesting. Let's spice that boy up!

First, we're going to create a few Actions

Blink: This is a 10 frame action that just involved bringing down the eyelids quickly and then bringing them back up. I put a small delay between one coming up and the other just because it looked better, more suited for the style of the character.

MouthWaggle: This is a 2:20 frame action where I just moved around the mouth parts (mandibles). I keyframed about 9 times and left the last keyframe a copy of the first, so it'll cycle cleanly.

Wave: This is a 2:00 (60 frames in my case) wave with the right leg of the HeadSeg. We're going to overlay this on the walk to have him wave part way through the walk down the path.

Now a couple constraints. We're going to have the eyes jump from their default position (more or less looking in front where he's going) to look at the camera, making eye contact. First scrub through till the centipede is in a place where the centipede might have just spotted us. To pick a time, say 08:25 in to the anim. Now, let's add some constraints that will take hold as of this frame.

Left Eye: Constrain the Left Eye to Aim At "Camera1". To do this, go to Skeletal Mode (F8) in the choreography window. Choose the Left Eye bone, Right Click and choose New Constraint->Aim At then pick the Camera1. This will make the Left Eye always look at the Camera.

Right Eye: Constrain the Right Eye to Orient Like the Left Eye. Use the same process as the previous. This constraint will make the Right Eye point wherever the Left Eye points. This will make out centipede always look like he's looking at Camera1.

Extra Camera: Go back to 00:00:00. Create a new camera in the Choreography. Constraint it to Orient Like HeadSeg. And another to "Translate To" HeadSeg. Next hit 'T'ranslate to move it and 'R'otate to rotate it so it points back at HeadSeg. This is a handy way to have a Camera always looking at our centipede. It's a handy tool to debug things and make sure they look decent since we'll always have an easy view on the centipede. By the way, by hitting '1' on the Keypad, you can toggle between this camera and our main camera to see what they see.

Time to apply our Actions.

Drop four or so Blink Actions on our HeadSeg. Go to each's Properties and edit the Start field in the How to Execute box. Leave some time between them, having the blinks happen as the centipede moves along the path. In my case, they start at 4:04, 5:15, 6:25 and 8:00. Keep the times between Blinks somewhat random since you don't want it to look robotic.

Now drop the MouthWaggle Action on the HeadSeg. In this case, we will have it repeat. Go to the MouthWaggle Properties in the Shortcut to MouthWaggle under Shortcut to HeadSeg. In the Repeat box, use 4 since our current choreography runs around 11 seconds and our MouthWaggle action runs about 2:20. That'll keep his mouth parts moving!

Finally, drop the Wave on the HeadSeg. Edit the Start time to part way through, say just as he approaches Camera1. In addition to the General tab on the Properties page, behind that there is another tab called Blend. This will control how the Wave Action lays overtop the underlying Walk action. In our case, it'll work just fine to leave it as Replace. You can also choose Cross Blend (with a % field) and Add.

We're just about at the end now. The next page will talk about rendering out and creating your animation as well as have links to my final animations.

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