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Question Hillside Bicycle Scene Animation

Discussion in 'Virtual Production' started by Harsh-NJ, Aug 9, 2022.

  1. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

    Joined:
    May 1, 2020
    Posts:
    315
    Hey there everyone!
    Now we are moving to the SHOT #04 of our first animation project, in which the main character(s) are riding their respective bicycles down a hill...
    Now my question is that how to do this.
    I made a 1 second long full rotation animation for the wheels, added a cinemachine path and cart for bicycle movement down the hill. Then I calculated the distance and using an generic speed, calculated time for that. Also calculated the rotational time period for the wheels, and adjusted the speed of wheel anim clip accordingly.

    But still, it feels like the cycle is slipping down, and at some places the wheels are going into the road (the road being uneven). While this isn't a problem, as I can face the camera on the rider, I can't get that "organic" feeling from this scene. Cinemachine look/follow cam also just shakes/jitters while the cycle moves down.
    Do anyone have any better workflows how to do this scene.
    (Then the main character just loses his control and falls into an open roadside sewage.)
    Plus I want Cycle's Pedal Rotation (I can do the same as I did for the Wheels), and the Characters Legs and Hands (using Animation Rigging's IK)
     
  2. akent99

    akent99

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2018
    Posts:
    588
    Everything you are saying is what I would try first too.

    If its not working, I would consider writing scripts for parts of it. For example, have a script for rotating the wheel (and pedals) that remembers the previous x/y/z coordinate for the last refresh, then the current position, work out the distance between the two 3D points (needs to be in 3D if going down a hill), then work out the additional rotation required based on the distance.

    Going into the road with a bumpy surface can be hard. You have two points on the bike (front and rear wheel) that needs to look at the ground points to work out the rotation of the bike needed based on those two points. E.g. if you just work it out based on the middle of the bike, that can get the front and rear wheels wrong when the ground is curved. Needs a bit of math there too. There was a "ray tracing" function I used once to work out where the ground was - so it may not be a big script, but I could imagine having a script to tweak the rotation and height of the bike based on the current ground. Bottom line, yes, its tricky unless you have done something similar before. It is harder than a character walking because there are two contact points spaced a distance apart.

    For the cinemachine camera, there are damping settings you can use on the virtual camera to remove camera jitter. Rather than put a hard local area on the look-at target, you can give it a bit of buffer space (target must be in this rectangle). It will try to recenter on the target, but if you used a tall narrow rectangle, you can get it to be more forgiving on the Y-axis to stop up/down movements causing jitter. Have a look at the properties here: https://docs.unity3d.com/Packages/com.unity.cinemachine@2.3/manual/CinemachineAimComposer.html
     
  3. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

    Joined:
    May 1, 2020
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    315
    I want to avoid any scripting part, want to do as mush as I can do with only with animations.

    I am thinking that instead of showing full downhill trip, I could just cut the camera(s), hiding wheel bumps and other issues, and then quickly accidenting the scene, completing under 30 seconds. Easy peasy!
     
    akent99 likes this.
  4. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

    Joined:
    May 1, 2020
    Posts:
    315
  5. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

    Joined:
    May 1, 2020
    Posts:
    315
  6. akent99

    akent99

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2018
    Posts:
    588
    Wow! I’m glad you only ask easy questions! (Not!!!)

    if it was me, I would
    • Work out the remaining steps for the final result (Eg audio? Video editing?)
    • Allocate each step a realistic time budget as best you can
    • Leave a buffer at the end - your estimates will probably be wrong
    • Think about the core story you want to get across - can you shorten it via script rewrites using what you have already?
    • Think about other time saving tricks like anime series - they sometimes drop back to a series of still shots - just pose, no movement, to fill in gaps - it takes less time than full animation
    • If desperate, consider PowerPoint slide with text like old silent movies to convey important points (a narrator)
    • Reuse existing shots zoomed in on face in video editor to avoid creating more clips
    Good luck!
     
    Harsh-NJ likes this.
  7. akent99

    akent99

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2018
    Posts:
    588
    Oh, and I replied above just waking up from my phone (not having watched video). Its looking really good what you have so far! The subtitles I think look good. The shots you have look good. The story is coming through clearly. I think the challenge is bringing it to the conclusion you want in the available time. I assume you have the final downhill and crash scene? Is there a "message" you want to get across? "Look before you leap" etc? You don't have to say it explicitly, but understanding the "message" you want to get across helps work out how you can shorten the video without the watcher feeling cheated or empty at the end. E.g. if you have not done the crash yet, you can make it more comic (and less work to animate) by having the character posed in some weird position and just fly through the air in that position.

    E.g. if you animated the below you just need a single shot of the body then you can even use the video editor to make him move (if that is faster). The body shape does not need to change. It makes it a bit more funny rather than painful, then a final animated shot of him rubbing his head sitting on the ground to tie it off (if you have time).

    Sometimes anime for joke shots purposely put a non-realistic background behind it, to highlight "this is a funny shot, you are meant to laugh, not cry." E.g. take a single shot of the character then make him fly across the screen in front of an image like:
    upload_2022-8-21_12-2-34.jpeg
    If you used a black and white cartoon character from the internet, you can even avoid posing the character (for that shot).

    You might even be able to find a meme clip from somewhere else to use, then end with a final screen of just text wrapping up the story. "So XXX learnt the value 'more haste, less speed', especially when a cat is involved!"
     

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  8. Harsh-NJ

    Harsh-NJ

    Joined:
    May 1, 2020
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    Yup there are more shadow friends cycling here, and they won't help jeet, but these two will do so.. the message is friendship, and how important are real friends!
    Yes! I thought of adding that CRASH anime/comic overlay then showing Jeet sitting and rubbing his head. Then his friends will help him, while the shadow friends will make fun of him.
    (This is what I have got from our storyboard artist until now , and if she doesn't make any more shots, and quickly wrap up the story, I will be fine!).
    The cat's a little big (in terms of size and attitude, both), right?