We’ve had some Character Animators ask about the weird jump they have noticed at the start of their animation. Even if they drag their take to start before frame 0, there is still a weird jump!
What is going on here?
When the playhead starts running along the timeline, the puppet has to calculate things like dangle, the head angle, default triggers and physics. So even if you don’t do anything – the puppet can still jump as it calculates the start pose.
If you have a recording with your head starting at an angle, the ‘jump’ will be more noticeable, as the puppet finds that starting position and ‘jumps’ to the recorded angle. With puppets like the Toon Loons, the arms may have a little ‘jump’ as they find their default rest pose.
So whatever you do, you are always going to have that little ‘jump’ as your puppet settles.
This isn’t anything to worry about – and easy to get around.
The quickest way around this is to adjust the range of play back. If you look above the timeline you should see a transparent white line. Click on that and it should get brighter. You can now drag this line along and also move the start and end-point.
You can also right click and use various options to set the work area start and end point based on your playhead position.
Now if you hit the spacebar – your animation will only play within that work area range. It is a good idea to allow at least eight frames for your puppet to settle. I usually give at least ten frames.
It is also important to remember when you import your audio, not to start on frame 0. Shuffle it along by 15 or so frames to allow your puppet to settle – and then a few additional frames because you don’t want important dialogue to start on the very first frame. You want a little breathing room!
If you export to Media Encoder, Media encoder will carry over the same work area range for the clip it renders.
Another approach is to render out the whole clip, then when you edit each shot in your editing application, you just trim these start (and sometimes end) frames. These are often referred to as handles.
Leaving handles on your renders just gives you that little bit more control when you are assembling your edit.
In this tutorial we explained the weird JUMP that some people have noticed in the first few frames of their animation. We covered how you can set the timeline range as well as the option of editing with handles to get around this issue.