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!
Check it out!