Keys or key poses are drawings describing the motion in an animation sequence. That's why I like to refer to them as extrems, whether in position or in time.
I have often seen beginners putting to much keys on their shots (especially when they work with a reference video) simply because do not understand the purpose of each of them.
In a previous article, I explained a little bit the different stages of animation (See GENERAL WORKFLOW) and based on what we are looking for at every stage, I am going to explain what are the keys and how I put them down when I animate.
On this stage, you will have to define the choreography and the narrative within few poses:
GOLDEN POSE : Poses which define the narrative of a shot (They don't necessary have to be Key Pose: for example, an anticipation express more clearly how a character is going to throw a ball)
ATTITUDE POSE : A pose that represents through the whole body what a character is thinking or feeling.
Here we will have to create all the main poses to transmit to our director all the information of timing and poses .
KEY POSE : First you will have to define the important positions of the actions (the beginnings and ends of the movements). In general, the key poses tend to maintain over time.
We seek for the energy of your shot and check if the physical properties works through your rythm and spacing.
BREAKDOWN : Pose describing how the character or object moves from one key to another.
HOLD : Pose without any movement. To define those Holds I usually do a Copy Pairs, It means duplicate the Key Poses, in order to define pauses in important moments of the performance.
MOVING HOLD : They are Hold with a minimum amount of movement to keep alive the character while communicating a strong posture or attitude.
NOTE : These poses are used to break the automatic definition of the spacing from the Curve Editor.
In that stage, we check that everything is fluid and readable for our director.
INBETWEEN : Inbetween pose to define acceleration and breaking and emphasize the arcs.
Maya has an option that allows us to color the keys and avoid getting lost during the creation of the shot (I usually put my Golden Poses in yellow, the breakdowns in green and leave the other poses in red).
As you can see, we usually define the performance pose to pose, starting from the most important poses to the details, putting intermediate poses at each stage.
Characters courtesy of boutique23.com
I hope that was usefull…