Here is a trail of animation analysis I’ve been exploring,
that I’d like to share.

I intend to post it as a series of thoughts, which lead into some potentially useful insights into the basics of timing and spacing, and patterns of keys in the graph editor, accordingly.This posting is the first in the series.

__The "connect four" challenge__

The basic challenge is as follows:

Take a set of four dots in the same pattern as seen on a
dice.

Consider each dot to be a key pose in a second-long animated
loop.

Connect the dots with keys that are evenly distributed both
in timing and spacing.

Simple, right? After all, both the timing and the spacing
are clearly defined. So if you key those poses at the right times and places,
you get your answer and you’re done, right?

Well, maybe. For one solution. But there are many solutions.

So the challenge is this:

Consider a variety of solutions and implementations, making
an effort to resolve each solution with just those four keys in the graph
editor.

(To limit obvious alternates, all solutions assume a same
start/finish point, a clockwise path direction, and the use of the orthographic
XY plane)

It’s an intentionally simple scenario, yet oddly enough there
are still many answers to the question. Initially, I meant only to examine the
answers in 2d form. But when I applied the answers to 3D effort, I realized
that there was more to the matter yet again, because for each answer there were
also many ways of implementing that answer in the context of rigging and animation
curves (

**Lesson**: something which seems simple will typically become complicated in ways that were not anticipated.)
When I ran the challenge through some of the most obvious
answers and implementations, I was able to confirm a variety of animation rules
of thumb. It was also a generally decent technical study good for solidifying
some basic concepts in 3D animation.

... more to come later! Feel free to comment if you'd like to have a go at the challenge for yourself (before I give away my own set of answers!)

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