What It Does
I’ve used TweenMachine by Justin Barrett to help set breakdowns while creating character animation in Maya for years. The tool has recently been taken over by Andrew Widener, but it still accomplishes the same thing. It allows an animator to create a first pass of animation using stepped (no interpolation) key frames, then create breakdowns at any point between two key poses without having to switch to linear or some other interpolation.
The process of animating in passes of blocking, breakdowns, and splining is something I carry over to animation in After Effects, but it just doesn’t feel the same. Lets say you have two poses of a character: one on frame 10 with his fist drawn back to punch , and another on frame 18 with the fist extended at the end of the punch. You want to create a breakdown pose so that the punch is already almost finished at frame 12 with the remaining time being a settle in to place. To do this without a script you’d have to set all of the involved keys to linear interpolation, then move the playhead to somewhere near the end of the transition, set keyframes on everything, select those key frames, and move them back to where they you want them to be.
I wanted something like that in AE. So I set out to create DB Break it Down.
How To Use It
The script functions like a very basic version of TweenMachine. You have poses at frame 1 and 10 and you want a breakdown at frame 4 that is 90% of the way to the pose at frame 10. Simply select all the keys that make up the start pose and the keys that make up the end pose, move the time slider to frame 4, set the slider in Break It Down to 90% and click Tween.
Let’s Be Honest
I know enough about scripting development to be dangerous. This is an imperfect script and I’m cool with that! There are things I need to implement as of this writing. It doesn’t handle errors very well. It is completely unaware of what kind of properties are selected…so I’m sure it would cause problems if you tried to run it on something non transform related.
So yeah, this is the first time I’ve ever put a tool I’ve written out there for people to try out. Hope someone somewhere gets some use out of it!