Animation and Penny’s Excellent Udemy Course

I have been learning even more animation with Penny De Byl’s Udemy class ‘Mastering 3D Animation in Unity.’ I am very impressed with her classes.

Penny starts out teaching you how to use raw mocap data for Unity’s Mecanim system, and adding material physics to objects to affect how the bounce or stick or slide. She goes into depth on keyframing, timelines, and tweening. She shows how to use colliders to trigger animations. She shows how the bones and joints rigging system works with humanoid models. She makes great use of Mixamo, which I have learned to love. I hope Adobe keeps this great resource available.

There’s a lot of useful tips on importing animations and fixing common problems. She shows how to add animations to characters, and to skin them to characters from other characters. She shows the problems that root motion, baking Y, baking rotation, and baking XZ are designed to address, and when you need them. She shows how to mix the translation from root animations, with the scripted translations and how to pass control of the translation around. There are so many techniques such as using anchors to align your animations, and putting animation events at the end of an animation.

Then she goes into blendshapes, which I already know a lot about, even though it’s been years since my doctorate. I spent enough hours on that project that I’m not going to forget the basics any time soon. But what I did learn was using the animation window to add blend shape trees, and strafe sets.

Another excellent use of anchors is with inverse kinematics. This time the anchor is an object the character might reach out to, or follow with his head.

All in all, I can’t recommend this course highly enough. Between this and the AI techniques course she has, I feel like I’ve learned most of what I need to know to develop a VR game. Most importantly, I’ve learned what’s hard and what’s easy. I’ve been enjoying adapting her projects to work in VR, and adding to them of course.

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