Leg Ball Turn (LBT)

Remember the Leg Ball Jump?

This is also the production design sketch for 'Ball With Legs: the Musical.'

You'll need to get the rig file for this one: grab the Ball with Legs, Advanced Skeleton rig (v1.1)


Refer to FOL for assignment grade value, rubric and due date

Leg Ball Turn (LBT)

    Animate a Ball with Legs rig making a 180-degree turn. The character must also take 2 full steps forward or back. You can have this happen in any order; turn first then step, turn after the step, turn while stepping, etc.  Pay close attention to balance and weight shift when taking the steps and turning. Be sure to compose your scene so that the character is plainly visible, the action is clearly staged, and the physics/mechanics are evident. 

    This animation will be exactly 6 seconds long (144 frames at 24fps) Featured principles: Staging, , Posing (Solid Drawings), and Appeal

**NO SPINS, PIVOTS, HOPS, or PIROUETTES**. I want to see the mechanics of a character just using footsteps to turn around 180 degrees. After all, that is the core point of the assignment: animating balance and weight shift in a believable way. Occasionally students look for a way to take a shortcut on this and usually it ends up looking mechanical and lazy so I'm closing the loophole!

    Pro Tip: Don't animate the Main control.  This is the large ring at the feet of the character called "Main". On rigs this is typically referred to as the master control or 'God' control. If you animate this control it will be very difficult to get the feet to properly lock down. It will also make getting a proper arc next to impossible! Use it to place your character at their starting position in the scene but DO NOT ANIMATE IT.

Pro Tip:
Show up to class and get feedback. Getting guidance while your work is in progress will be critical to achieve the best possible outcome. While it is possible to complete this task without instruction, it's much more difficult and takes a lot longer. 

    For extra challenge: If you want to have some fun with this; try to add a bit of personality and acting to the action. Maybe the Leg-ball is scared, or curious? Perhaps sneaking or angry? Act it out and shoot some video reference to guide you. 

    An additional challenge: see if you can use your animation from the Leg Ball Jump (LBJ) assignment to make a 2-shot scene together with this one.

    Motion capture Alternative: (be sure to get instructor approval first) The technically inclined are welcome to try this using motion capture (MoCap) instead of traditional keyframing. Check out online tutorials for mapping MoCap to the Leg Ball rig. Remember: raw MoCap won't be sufficient. I expect to see animation layers used to revise the data for greater sense of weight and exaggeration in the performance. Sliding feet will be especially unwelcome! I will also expect to see video of your capture session to prove original authorship.

Hand-in file parameters:
  • Movie file: type must be either an .MOV or .MP4
  • either H.264 or MPEG4 compression
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • no grid or controls visible, no resolution gate
  • File size must be < 250 MB
  • File must be named as follows:
       <Your last name>_<Your first name>_<assignment code>.<file type>
                  eg. Latour_David_LBT.mov

What I'll be grading on this assignment:
  • Are you properly shifting weight and balance in a convincing way?
  • Do you meet all the required parameters of the assignment?
  • Is there a clear and convincing sense of mass?
  • Are you effectively using the principles of Timing, Ease In/Out, Arcs, Staging and Posing?
  • If using MoCap, have you revised the data so that it works as well as key-frame animation?
a fun example by Rebeca Perez

For the demonstration I use this video below of myself acting out the scene. I trimmed this reference to match approximately to the assignment length and I've added markups in Photoshop: Red marks for key poses, blue for breakdowns, and yellow lines to indicate where I may want to exaggerate poses.

 **Don't use this video for your own assignment, as that would be plagiarism: please come up with a plan of your own.

In this next video below, I have all my keys and breakdowns and I've smoothed out the movement of the root a bit in the graph editor. Along with shooting the reference and marking it up, this is three hours of easy work. A good plan makes all the difference!


There's lots of fun inspiration out there. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Apparently, even babies can manage a 180 turn!