Skating Spider Slip
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Skating Spider Slip

This spider's first time on roller skates leads to a complete disaster.

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Update - 13 Jan 2022

With some final improvements in some places, here is a render of my work:

The changes from the last update are very minor. Looking back at it now, I do have some major points in mind like the fall having the potential to be more dramatised via the inclusion of the back slamming onto the ground, but all in all, I am very proud of the outcome and I hope everyone enjoys it.

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Update - 14 Dec 2021

I finally reached the stage where I would animate the arms properly. They had not been properly spaced out since the blockout which is why they were very restricted in movement prior to this update. All six arms each required animation in the shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers. I started out with subtle wobbles and offset waves in order to create movement that flowed. My aim was to contrast the dramatic behaviour of the skates, and keeping the arms more stabilised in some places rather than flailing them around. My teachers mentioned that the arms needed to have more rotations in the final fast slip prior to the jump-fall, which I tried my best to add without losing the sense of stabilisation.

Other details that I touched on were the stray keys at frames 108 and 109 that led to a single-frame pause, which would look like a lag in the animation. This happens right after the 360-degree spin, and in order to simplify my graphs I decided to reset the rotations at the end of the spin, which was why I kept these stray keys in until the very end of my animation process.

Facial expressions where another detail that I had yet to implement, other than some basic blinks. I made sure to stretch the eyelids at the majority of the extensions as a way to expand on the ups and downs of the animation.  I also removed the dizzy eye roll after the spin because it did not really add anything to the scene, and lasted for such a small amount of time that it really was not worth keeping. I accentuated the movements of the jaw at certain moments, as it would get quite excessive for the spider to have its mouth wide open at the exact same spot for so long.

Update - 11 Dec 2021

Since my first post, I have updated the positioning of the animation and I have splined it. I corrected the movements of the feet and knees, ensuring that the legs didn't glitch drastically. I have edited everything except the six flailing arms so far, and they will be my next step to ultimately completing the scene. I am proud of what I have so far as it has moved on a lot from the blockout and flows nicely.

I was critiqued to change the object from which my spider pushes off at the beginning, hence the placement swap of the lamp and the desk. I also significantly altered the body's positioning in the first slip so that the centre of balance is more reasonable and realistic, although I haven't received feedback on whether or not this has been fulfilled yet, so it might still be a bit extreme.

Update - 5 Dec 2021

To begin the project, I came up with a few ideas following the brief and decided which one felt most suitable to me. I devised a storyboard of the following concept:

I was also successful at blocking out the entire scene using references to ice skating videos and old Mickey Mouse cartoons, in which the fluid movements guided me through the animation. I made a list with all of the poses I wanted to include, meaning that my blockout needed to include the high and low points of every action. I also tried constraining skates to all 8 limbs of the spider, but in order to cover up the hands/feet and wrists/ankles, I had to make the skates quite big, which ended up making the 8-skate spider look too goofy and difficult to animate with expression, so I went with the 2 skates on the feet only.

However, I was given some feedback mid-blockout to make sure all of the actions were visible to the camera that was pre-set in the Maya scene. I had to make sure the skating spider would ultimately land in the middle of the frame as this is where everything needed to happen. With that in mind, I moved the scene around and ended up with the product below.

My next steps will be to correct the IK-FK conversions of the arms, as well as ensuring the movements of all the limbs do not happen at once. Leaving one or two frames in between each arm's movement will lead to a more organic motion, which is what I aim to achieve. I hope to have plenty of new progress by the next update!