I decided to include and animate only one alien, to the right of the shot where the composition feels more empty around the central cocoon. I feel that when animating in Maya with the automatic easing animation curves, it is easy for movement to be slow and laboured. I wanted to try a dynamic animation, meaning some of the alien's movements are very fast and sudden:
There is a sense of anticipation at the start of the sequence where the alien very slowly turns to scan its surroundings. Suddenly it sharply snaps its head to a full turn as if startled by something. This adds to the sensation I discussed earlier, of the feeling they are being curiously pulled in, yet being intrusive adding to the suspense of the shot. Note that when the alien jolts the opposite direction, there is a sort of kinetic chain principle working up from the ground. First the hips drive leaving the upper body slightly behind to catch up. One could argue that the head would instinctively lead if startled, yet I like the idea that the alien is very attuned and dialled in to its surroundings, continuing to to scan the original area where a threat may lurk, whilst preparing to snap around simultaneously to catch out any flanking manoeuvres. With the fist controls, I added expression in the hands. The hands often signify when the alien is tense, for example when the creature inhales and lifts its shoulders, the fists clench. Perhaps the animation could have been improved if I had have included some more follow through action in perhaps the arms with the sharp aggressive turns. Also, with the first quick full body turn (kinetic chain movement), there is a slight jerk in the middle of the animation which I could not seem to solve in the graph editor. Another slight floor is when alien turns back to face the actor in the cocoon. The creature slightly over rotates and then readjusts. This could have passed as the follow through principle, but looks jerky and unrealistic. I am also aware that the right thumb seems to have broken and moved moved into an irregular position. However, I am hoping this will not be too noticeable in the low-lit distant final shot.