Tadaa! G jumps off a tree

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Like a muppet, I again added more than one complication with my next attempt at animation. I’ve kept the PitchiPoy Rigify script, but spent some time bulking my figure model up to match the older child, and adjusting the rigging and edge loops for improved deformation (I think it’s improved, although it’s certainly not 100%).

Bald figfure standing on a logThe biggest new feature, though, is: HAIR! My subject was not impressed that she’s still bald, so I thought I’d just quickly build a simple, non-deforming “hat” of hair.

What I quickly did was to get frustrated with my attempts to build hair, and out of curiosity turned to tutorials on creating locks of hair with Bézier curves. Kent Trammell has a good CGCookie tutorial up on YouTube that has everything you need. I spent far too much time for the result, but certainly learned from the experience!

Another detail I couldn’t help adding was some “soft-body” physics simulation for the ponytail. At this point it’s rudimentary.

I felt as though my animation learning curve plateaued a bit on this one; I thought it would be an easy clip to bash out because so much of it is just arm rotations, but that motion had a lot of subtle individual motions in it that I couldn’t help chasing, and they really need more polish to really get across.

Now I know how to pin a jellylike ponytail on a donkey, though (even if I haven’t quite got the parameters tuned on the soft-body modifier).

I’ve made some notes on the animation workflow, over at chrisnicoll.net.

Colourful language.

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To me, the purest purpose of an expletive is to convey that a feeling is so strong that it cannot be expressed in our normal words (whether this is an accurate assertion is a different argument).

Tonight, Baby W was complaining about something, possibly that she was too warm, so I took her out of her sleeping bag. As I hastily undid the shoulder snaps, I felt myself tugging a hair at the back of her head. I braced myself as, for a brief, silent moment, she absorbed what had just happened. Then she let loose a heartrending cry that expended all the air in her lungs and kept on going, soundlessly. She loaded up on air again for a forceful scream, followed by lots of swearing.

I’m pretty sure that babies swear.

I heard it when G was tiny, and I’m hearing it again with W. Normal crying is mostly vowels. Sometimes she says the classic “waaaah” when she’s pretty upset. But when she really gets mad, like she did tonight, she breaks out some more consonants, mostly “m,” “n” and “g,” and utters strings of miserable syllables. It tells a story of shock, misery, anger and betrayal, and it goes on for a while. Betrayal being a relatively new thing to her, she feels it keenly.