Over yesterday and today, I began the falling sequence for the Marmot and Mongol characters, and I used the group's animatic as reference from 0:46 to 0:51. The Maya scene that I was given contained the cliff scene, the two character rigs, the chicken leg model and the camera that would be used to render the shot. This camera also had the camera movements.
Before beginning the animation, I made several amendments; first of all, I moved the characters into the starting position of the camera, so I could see how the animation would look in the shot. The camera was already animated, but I had made the decision that I was going to animate all the poses first and then apply the falling later. In order to create all these poses and see how it looked through the camera, I created a duplicate camera, but then I deleted all the movement from this new camera. This meant that I could animate each key pose, but the camera would remain in position.
Another thing I did was create a curve that I named the Gravity curve and I then parented both the character rigs to this curve. This curve would be used to actually animate the falling, as well as the moments when the two characters rotate in the air. I could have done this manually, but this would be quite laborious.
Here is how the animation looks so far.
Towards the end of this bit of animation, the Mongol tries grabbing the chicken leg (which has yet to be animated falling), before the Marmot climbs on top of him and fetches it. In this piece of animation, I made many alterations to the timing between when his legs swing around, and when his head turns to notice the falling piece of chicken. It still needs a bit more work and I think the pose where he first notices the chicken needs to be held for longer.
I also need to put more effort into the weight of the Marmot trying to hold onto the Mongol's hand, as well as his facial expressions.