I finally managed to have some time to work on this practice shot. And I just finished the first blocking stage.
You will find some clipping, problems with the constraint of the document, and no facial animation yet because I am planning adding those in the next stage (a.k.a. Pass).
Props and Constraints:
Normally, I would go to either cgtrader.com or turbosquid.com or other websites to look for a free prop or model, but this was so simple, I made the "documents" prop myself.
Simply, create a cub and resize it, set the UV correctly, and apply the texture that you want.
The more complicated part was constraining the prop model to the hand. Usually, I just connect the object to the controller of the hand and that's it. But this time, because I was using both IK and FK, I followed the tutorial below, which makes things much more simpler.
Note: You will need to adjust the position of the prop every now and then as the rotation of the finger joint changes.
I had a problem with letting go of the prop on the table and continue to move the hand freely without influencing the prop. So I duplicated the prop and keyed the invisibility of both the original and the copy, and on the correct frame, I replaced the constrained prop with the unconstrained one. No one will notice ;)
Use your reference:
The reference video I shot was incredibly helpful in a lot of things. It helps with the timing and reminding you of your acting choices. But it also helps with showing how the body moves in certain circumstances. If you want correct body mechanics, use your reference video.
(Sorry about how blurry the video is).
Also, you should definitely take a lot of references from the masters of the craft. Read as much as you can, and in most animation books you will find a lot of illustrations and examples of how the body moves and why. So Check out some of my favorite animation books here.
All of my tangents in the pass are "Stepped". And it is completely optional how you choose to do your blocking pass. Some people like to block in "Spline". I tried blocking in both Stepped and Spline modes, and I find that blocking in Stepped is faster and it makes me focus on the more important parts of the animation first before focusing on the secondary stuff and the details that I can work on later.
So choose how you do your blocking. Unless of course your studio tells you how to do your blocking pass. In this case.. well.. do what the studio tells you. Always do what the studio tells you.
I will probably move to Spline in my next pass.
I am going to fix any problems in the body mechanics, any problems in the prop constraint, and I will add facial animation (not lip sync just general facial animations) and more detail in the overall animation.
This will be done in Spline.
So watch out for more soon!
And please contact me anytime and I will get back to you as soon as possible!