For our second lesson of animating with rigs, we were given the choice to either continue our original projects or start a fresh, personally, although I could have refined my last one further I was mostly happy with my sack animation and was dying to try and get my hands on a more complicated rig that I manipulate multiple parts of to show and improve on principles like follow through.
Looking through the rigs available I chose a squirrel and got to work looking through several videos of their movement and general behaviour to give some inspiration about what to animate, when looking at the actual model I noticed that movement would be hard to replicate as the model does not exactly replicate a squirrel, not having arms or legs and all, but instead is quite blob like. In the end I decided to do a simple short jump animation.
The animation starts with some simple squash and stretch as it squashes down ready so jump with some follow through with the tail going down at a slightly delayed rate, the animation the continues and has some anticipation as he gets ready to jump and some appeal in the way that his ears and mouth twitch in a rodent like way. He then squashes further to to put an effort into the jump, he then stretches into the jump with his mouth closing further to act like gravity is acting upon it, with it also opening at the top and on the way down with even more stretch when he lands to show the impact. All throughout the jump the tail reacts at a delayed rate to show follow through with a flick at the top and bounces with the impact.
For the animation I used pose to pose animation and used the staged animation option throughout to get the movement and time down correctly first. I also only animated one part of the squirrel at a time, starting with the body, the ears, mouth then tail in the end.