Your online Softimage Educational Resource

The blog has been online for more than 4 years and there’s still not a single post even remotely related to the delicious brew called coffee… Perhaps it will someday, but in the meantime you can read the articles about Softimage. Most of the material are tutorials and Q&As I’ve written for 3D World Magazine sometime between today and 2003. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate sending me an email.

Thanks to Letterbox Animation Studios for hosting all the scene files.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tail Motion

Step 1
The truth is that it will be a whole lot harder setting up the simulation than doing it by hand. While the motion may appear complex due to all the action going on at the same time, it’s in fact really easy to recreate in XSI. From the Create > Skeleton menu chose 2D Chain and draw a chain with 7 bones or so in the Front viewport. Now, select all the bones, press [C] to activate the Rotate Tool and press the Add button in the Transform Panel.

Step 2
Cycle the animation
Rotate the bones about -15 degrees along the Z-axis and set a keyframe at frame 1 and another at frame 50. Go to frame 25, rotate the bones 15 degrees in the opposite direction and set a new keyframe. With the bones still selected, press [0] (zero) to open the Animation Editor. Select all the fcurves and from the Curves menu chose Cycle. Now all you need to do to achieve the nice overlapping motion is to offset the animation for each bone.
Step 3
Offset the animation
Select the second bone (named bone1 by default) and enter 5+ in the Frame Text Box. Next, select the third bone (bone2) and enter 10+. Select the forth and enter 15+ and so on. Once done, press the Loop button and playback your animation. Please note that offsetting the animation with a different number of frames than 5 will have a great impact on the overall motion, so make sure you take the time experimenting till you’re happy with the outcome.

The project files used in this tutorial can be found at: