Monday, April 15, 2013

How muscle mass affects animators, whether your character has a lot or none.

I thought it would be interesting to talk about how muscle mass affects the body, now in animation terms you say that mass=weight and if there is a heavier (i.e. ogre) model it walks slower... right? 

  In real life that is not so straight forward. If you take the example of the the guy with muscles in the first video, he is walking slow right? muscle if you see it underneath the skin it is in a contracted state.... contraction happens all the time to muscle although it through exercise can stay in a contracted (shortened) state. Muscle when it is like this will not move freely from contracted to a relaxed state. It looks like the man is stiff in his stride because that is what is happening the muscles don't stretch away from the body and that is why he is walking slower as he is more bulky so the mass=weight is more than weight of normal fat in this instance as muscle weighs more than fat. For the next two videos as in the first, I have tried to get the mass of all three men as subtle as possible, as in to not draw you away from noticing the muscular mass and weight not the shapes of the different bodies.

The second video is sideways....>< but I'm very sure that you can see what will be pointed out, Notice that the man has to swing his arms further and moves the torso quicker to get the momentum up to walk. Take a quick look at his legs trying to catch up underneath the body in smaller step than normal as they are trying to balance the body mass more than a person of a smaller size. People that carry more weight are not actually got less muscle as you might think because they have to carry weight with every step. It seems like the man is walking rather fast which he is, it is just taking him longer to get anywhere. As he needs to expend more energy with the action,  mass=weight in this video is with the weight of fat being more than the weight of muscle on this person.

Last video, compare this with the last videos. The man in this video seems quite fast in movement to the others since he has no mass (muscle or fat) really as he is quite skinny as you can see. it doesn't take him along time to move as the mass is not constraining the movement. Take this to note, if for any reason the muscle outweighed the fat or visa versa the action would be slower as the muscle has to move the fat and the fat breaks down to feed muscle so therefore the skinnier guy would have a harder time moving if these weren't equal.

I hope this post helps a lot of animators out there, if you have any questions leave a comment and I will try my best to answer it.

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