Hey all, I just finished this little scene to test a character design for an upcoming short. I haven't edited the rigs out yet but I was hoping for some general feedback since I haven't done much character animation.
To me, the jump looks a little unnatural and working with the character's cape was a nightmare since the mesh I used to give it form was very rigid and required creasing in order to bend. The cape contributed the most to the chatter throughout the scene because of the difficulty I had working with it and its tendency to hook onto the other props/objects.
I like the character, and your stalk forward to the trash can is great! (For me, a walk with a rig rather than tie downs is really difficult, and you pulled it off.)
The jump is hard to follow because the cape kind of obscures the leg action, so it's hard to see clearly the force applied to propel him up. But I think the problem is that the foot goes from being outside the can on one frame, to inside on the next, without having gone high enough to be above the rim. It is like it passed through the can. Or maybe scrolling through, I'm not seeing every frame. But I can't spot it on the live play-through either. So it could do with a higher jump, more slow-down at the apex of the parabola, and a frame or two with the foot visible going over the rim.
(By the way, a smooth rim on the top of the can, like the bit at the base but narrower, would make it look more like a trash can. Sorry, it's staring at the rim through 3 replays watching the foot that made me notice it. Adding details is probably going against the deliberate simplicity of the style.)
I'm animating a Little Red Riding hood puppet at the moment, and with cloth hood, cape, and dress, the chatter is worse than yours! Puppet moves smoothly, fabric looks like it's stuffed with epileptic mice! The edge of the cape and hood have wire, and chatter a little bit, the dress and the parts of the cape without wire are worse. All I can do when I see a move on fabric that I can't put back is to try and follow through with it frame to frame, so it looks smoother and maybe like I intended it. Otherwise, I just try to tell myself it's part of the "charm" of handcrafted animation. At other times, I've animated fabric blowing in the wind for the whole shot (Death's cloak in The 7th Skoll) because I knew I would make it move whether I liked it or not.
Mouse is nice too, even though it slides around it has character to its movements, and in that small size it works perfectly.
I agree with Nick. Give some floating time at the top of the jump and possibly even more pop to the hop. Maybe you could try the timing out with a "bouncing ball" until you get the feeling you are after. Then make the hips do what the ball did. The top half of the character will then follow through and drag behind depending on the imagined weight of the materials.
Another method would be to film reference of yourself doing the jump, or watch reference of someone that jumps the way that you are wanting the character to jump. A parkour athlete or basketball player may work well.
Thank you both for the feedback. I find the idea of tracking the arc of the hips like I would a bouncing ball very useful!
I honestly like this a lot. The cape must have been a major nuisance to deal with but I think it came out looking pretty natural so kudos on that
Dunno if this might help with the cape, but I made one using two thin layers of cloth and dressmaking interfacing to glue them together. This has the effect of stiffening it up but still allowing creases and folds. I put wire round the hems.