View Full Version : LScript Idea - BALANCE...A Character Animation Aid

Mike Pauza
09-27-2004, 08:36 AM
BALANCE...A Character Animation Aid

First of all, let me say that I'm not a character animator at all (I do want to learn), but I do have quite a bit of experience with physics based animation, and I'm thinking my idea would help character animators a lot.

THE BALANCE PLUGIN/LScript, would basically find the center of gravity (CG) for a character rig...and place/keep a null at that location. Individual bones could be "weighted" to affect the CG more than other bones...for example a character's finger bone shouldn't "weigh" as much as a bone in the torso...weight could be entered manually for each bone, or computed by the "length" of the bone cubed. BALANCE would also be able to show the CG for multiple characters and multiple objects.

So what would BALANCE be useful for???
Well, It wouldn't do squat as far as improving acting goes, but it would help the acting motion look believable:

For example, if a character is stationary, his CG needs to rest directly over his feet (unless he's leaning against a wall, outside in a wind storm, etc.)...what happens though if he suddenly lifts his hand out in front of him?...well the "Balance Null" would then move automatically out from over his feet and you would instantly know that you need to compensate by arcing his back slightly, lifting a leg, etc. The Idea is that the Balance Null would really help you keep him in balance. I'm not that up on walk/run cycles or character locomotion in general, but I'm guessing a Balance Null would be invaluable for getting the right look for moving characters, as well as stationary ones.

Other examples...a Balance Null would help you keep the CG of a character lifting a heavy weight over his feet as it should be...unless you want him to fall, a Balance Null would help you keep the CG of a sommersaulting diver/martial artist in a smooth arc around his real center of gravity (not just his root bone), etc.

Another idea very similiar to "Balance Nulls" would be "Momentum Nulls", but they would be mucher harder to understand and much harder to code...they'd be great for something like fighting characters though.

I'd be happy to do the math for anyone who'd want to develop this.

-Mike Pauza