1. AM Blog
  2. Animation Mentor
  3. Step by Step Animation Body Mechanics Demo with Jason Martinsen

Step by Step Animation Body Mechanics Demo with Jason Martinsen

by | Dec 4, 2014

Today Animation Mentor is thrilled to welcome animator, mentor and guest blogger Jason Martinsen to the Animation Mentor blog. Jason recently demoed his animation workflow process to students in his Advanced Body Mechanics class. Read on to find out how to animate a two second clip, from reference to final pass, in just over two hours.

– The Animation Mentor Crew

In my last two classes at Animation Mentor, I taught Creature Animation: Fight or Flight and Advanced Body Mechanics. I asked my students to pick a video reference they wanted me to animate for an in class demo. Here is a breakdown of the shot from Advanced Body Mechanics.

I told the class to find me a two second clip showing body mechanics. The class voted on this clip, one of them hunted it down online. They then voted I animate it with Stan, making it slightly more difficult due to proportion challenge. Hmm…next time I don’t give them that option! 😀

Original Video Reference Clip

The original video had even timing so during class I edited it to adjust timing using quicktime. I then also converted it to 12fps so I had fewer frames to distract me and would not be a slave to the reference.

Jason spent 15 minutes to edit this clip at 12fps

I then blocked out the animation during two classes talking about my mindset and how I approached the spacing, by favoring the hang time keys and pushing the poses to be more clear. Before class I set up a simple set and put in the first pose. Then blocked using a straight ahead method, a new pose every 6-8 frames.

Jason spent 75 minutes to create a blocking pass

Afterwards, I went back and added a few more breakdowns to achieve the pass you see above. I finished blocking, and turned it into auto-tangent spline and did a couple minutes just working on FK/IK switching and this was the result.

Jason spent 20 minutes to animate the 1st spline pass

I then spent half of the next class polishing it. Starting with a pass using the COG and graph editor making sure his base of movement was smooth, and working outwards to the chest, head and limbs.

Jason spent 30 minutes to animate the 2nd spline pass

It was odd to animate and talk about my thought process in each step, and something I had never done before in such detail. I found it to be an interesting challenge. Because it was a short clip and the blocking was detailed enough, the splining was quick and painless (mostly) and working on nicer spacing and arcs for the arms and legs.

See all the clips together

Hope you enjoyed the clips!

Note: This was originally posted on Jason Martinsen’s animation blog Traveling Mentor.

Jason Martinsen studied classical animation at Sheridan College in Ontario Canada. His student film, Mt. Ehn, won the “Teletoon: Most Promising Student” award. He began his professional career at Naughty Dog Studios in California, animating on the Jak & Daxter and Uncharted series. He then moved to work on feature films for Blue Sky Studios, on Ice Age II, Horton Hears a Who, Ice Age III and Rio. He worked on Planet 51 for Ilion Animation Studios and on Iron Man 2 and Paul at Double Negative. Currently Jason lives in Vancouver, Canada, where he is a lead animator at Sony Animation.

Throughout his career, Jason has been sharing his passion for animation with his students at Animation Mentor.

Related Articles