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Ball and tail comparison

I’ve been working on a simple tail whip, using the ball and tail rig from Animation Fundamentals in Blender, by Beorn Leonard. Actually, it’s not a tutorial as such, he’s just using a simple tail whip to demonstrate the pose-to-pose workflow, as opposed to straight-ahead animation. Anyway, I took it upon myself to do my own version, and ended up with a few. The first, shown below, is more or less as he did it. It’s a bit dull, somewhat lifeless. The tail curves nicely enough, and settles back into position, but it’s not a very realistic movement beyond that.

I tried to expand a little on the final flick of the tail, such that it doesn’t just slow into the final resting pose, but overshoots its mark slightly and then quickly settles back.

It doesn’t work though. There’s something quite unnatural about the final flick; it seems as though it’s jumping too suddenly from one pose to another, almost as though it’s skipping several frames or something (which it’s not). It looks almost like the last segment of the tail is broken or something.

I’ve tried various attempts at a solution and just can’t make it any better than this. I guess I’m just not good enough yet (sob). (Or maybe what I’m trying to do isn’t a valid movement?) I’ll move on and come back to this one from time to time, and hopefully with time and experience I’ll be able to create in Blender what I can see in my mind’s eye.

I’ve also been watching a few basic tutorials from Jason Ryan, which are very good. I came across his name several times on one of my random youtube searches for other folk’s animation tests and thought I’d check him out. (These are the ones I’ve watched.)

I like how he demonstrates almost everything in simple 2D drawings rather than 3D. I think the basic principles of animation, which were formulated back in the 2D era, are sometimes best understood in simple 2D terms. It’s significant that the tests I’ve uploaded are all essentially 2D. In fact, looking ahead at the rest of the stuff on the Animation Fundamentals course, most of the final animations are essentially in 2D, with the main movements being across the screen from left to right.

I do have a tendency to watch too many tutorials before I try something myself, though…



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