Flat horizons are one of the curses of 3D animation - nothing gives the game away faster than a blank, flat ground plane extending into infinity. One of the most common mistakes made by junior animators is to animate a character on a flat ground plane - the sort of situation that occurs only in 3D - never in nature. After all, in life, our horizon lines are broken up by landscapes, buildings, trees - the jumble of modern urban and rural life. Watch the short video above for some tips on how to avoid the curse of the flat horizon.
|Interior shot by Joris Van Lear|
Fill your landscape with stuff
Once you create a set, you are going to need to fill it. But be careful - every new polygon slows down Maya. You don't want to add so much stuff that your scene becomes impossible to animate. So, stick to low-poly buildings and objects, and avoid complexity.
Create a ramp
One simple way to solve the problem is to bend your ground plane behind your character, creating a ramp. Then you just light the character itself, and the background will fade away into nothing, with no horizon line. Lighting like this is very simple - but it can work very well.
|Joris Van Laar|
In a cartoony world, you can bend the rules. Animation Apprentice graduate Joris Van Laar shows how it can be done - check out the still image on the right, taken from one of his shots completed at Animation Apprentice. Joris has bent the horizon line in a playful, cartoony way that works visually and aesthetically.
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