|Everything comes from the core|
When a character turns their head, you might not think this motion comes from their core, but in fact it does, and you need to make sure that the action is motivated from the character's core, else the motion will feel robotic.
Avoid keyframing individual body parts
One of the most common mistakes made by junior animators is to block out a shot on stepped curves in Maya, but only to key frame parts of the body, such as the head, or the arms. Whenever you move every body part, you have to start with the Root control, sometimes called the Centre of Gravity, or COG. No part of our body can move without instruction from the central command. Put another way,
everything in the body should move with every change of pose.
What drives what?
An animator colleague from DreamWorks used to ask his students "what drives what?" In other words, when you create motion (such as a head turn), ask yourself - what actually drives it? It all comes from the core. You might think, if you turn your head, that your body isn't moving. But in fact, it does move - just a little bit - and it is this motion which drives the head as well.
Start with the Root
So, when you are blocking out a shot on stepped curves, make sure that whenever you move a part of the body, you also move the root control, even if it's just a little bit. That way the motion will always feel believable, coming from the central core of our bodies.
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