I finally got around to doing some more animation. This time, I was concentrating on the actual character animation, rather than materials, lights, or rendering techniques. In this animation, Aiko 3 sidekicks Hiro 3, and he goes flying in an exaggerated way, like you might see in anime or cartoons. I keyframed Aiko's sidekick and Hiro's flight through the air, but I used Poser Physics to create the animation for him hitting the ground. My main goal was to combine keyframing and Poser Physics to produce a nice result, and I think I succeeded.
My first instinct was to use Poser Physics to simulate everything from the point Hiro got kicked, but it turns out that this does not work very well. To simulate the impact and result in Poser Physics, you must put a primitive in the scene and keyframe it to hit Hiro. This works, but if you make the primitive hit Hiro hard enough to send him flying, then the figure explodes (a common problem in Poser Physics simulations). I decided that I just needed to simulate the part of Hiro's fall where he actually hits the ground. The fly through the air does not need to be complicated, but when he hits the ground, he needs to bounce and collapse, ragdoll style. I tried just letting him fall from just above the ground, but that did not cause him to hit with sufficient impact, so then I tried letting him fall from the maximum height of his flight path, but just straight down on his back. This was the correct approach, because this produced a simulation of him hitting the ground in the right position with the right velocity. All I had to do was trim off the last piece of animation and use it at the point where Hiro hits the ground in my sidekick animation. It worked wonderfully.
Also, I exported that bit of animation where Hiro hits the ground as an animated pose in Poser, so now I can reuse it over and over. At first, I did not know if that would work, because he is oriented in a certain position for all of those keyframes that were created by Poser Physics. It turns out that this is OK, because the body transformation does not have any keyframes, so I can just rotate and translate the entire body as a whole and the rest of the animation follows. Excellent!
If you were a fan of Megas XLR, there is a new show on the air that you must watch: Motorcity on Disney XD. Why you ask? Well, the answer is that its creative staff has significant overlap with Megas, and it shows. Motorcity's creator, Chris Pyronski (@ChrisPrynoski), was supervising director for Megas XLR, not to mention being the creator of MTV's Downtown and co-founder of the animation studio Titmouse Inc., which produces Motorcity and lists on thier website the creators of Megas XLR, Jody Schaeffer and George Krstic (@GeorgeKrstic) among their talent. In addition to this, George Krstic is one of the primary writers for the show.
Motorcity's similarities with Megas XLR are very clear both in its art style and sensibility. The main characters are hot-rod lovers, like Coop. There are even elements to the show that seem to be deliberate throwbacks to Megas, such as a character, Jacob, that is clearly reminiscent of Goat and a bobblehead on the dashboard of the main character's car that always makes me think of the hula girl on the dashboard of Megas.
Motorcity is not the same kind of show, however. Megas XLR was a parody of Giant Robot cartoons, amongst other things, but Motorcity is a straight up action show with elements of both comedy and drama. The setting of Motorcity is a future Detroit, where an evil billionaire, Abraham Kane, has created a new "utopian" city called Detroit Deluxe, built over the old city. In Detroit Deluxe, everything is sparkling clean, new, and safe, but this is in exchange for living with an Orwellian loss of freedom. The heros of the story are the band of freedom fighters living in a makeshift fortress in the old city underneath, called Motorcity. They fight to awaken the citizens of Detroit Deluxe to what they have lost and break the control of Kane. Of course, this involves lots of action and over-the-top car chases in their super hot-rod vehicles. Its exactly what you would expect if the makers of Megas XLR decided to be more serious.
As of now, Motorcity is playing Thursday nights at 8:30 PM Eastern time. If you love animation, be sure to check this one out. Also, if you have never seen Megas XLR, you are really missing out. You can purchase it on the XBox Live Marketplace, or iTunes.