View Full Version : Animation mentor assignment

Stunt Pixels
05-07-2009, 06:11 PM
Hey guys, I thought I'd post a shot I'm working on for second term at AM. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons.... One is to open it up for comment, feel free to rip in with suggestions, or comments on what's not working for you.

Another reason is that my personal feeling is that animation is independant of the medium used to create it (this was donw with Maya), they are all ways of learning animation. But I thought I'd check what the consensus (or words from the mods) here is. I don't think this thread would benefit from being only animations created with Lightwave, but that's my personal opinion.

And the final reason is that if people think this is a good idea, I'm happy to post my older assignments so you can see how they progress with their teaching, and methods, there.

So let me know if people think this is a good, or crappy, idea.

linky (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week6.wip.v2.mov)

Oh, BTW, legally, I need to leave the Animation Mentor thing at the end of the mov.

05-07-2009, 08:14 PM
Overall, it's pretty good. You've definitely crossed the threashold into lifelike animation.

Here's a couple of fine-tune critiques:

1. In the initial few steps, you should add more contrast to the timing. For example, more of a pause at frame 58 will better sell the instability of the character. Also, speeding up one of the steps leading up to that point could be a good thing as well.

2. The point where he gets hit with the can needs a bit more as well. Add a bit more snap to the head, and make it a few frames earlier as well. Also, I think it would help if his recovery emphasized more reversal in his spine.

3. Similar to point 2, the slip and fall could use more exaggeration in the poses, and in particular, as he's starting to fall, push his hips forward more and bend his spine back. When he lands, he should land flat on his back, not on his rump bent over.


Stunt Pixels
05-07-2009, 08:45 PM
Hey Eric, great stuff! Really usefull!

I wasn't happy with his spine, so I've been tweaking that this morning. There's still a week and a half to go with getting this done, so I'm not too stressed for time, I still have a heap of changes to do, and your comments help a lot.

One of your comments just solved a major problem I was having. This is limited to 200 frames, so I sped up the first step to mix the timing a bit more, and saved enough frames to come in under the limit... Excellent! It's a good idea to spend more time around 58, I'll see if I can take the frames from somewhere else...

I'm not sure about the landing though. My wife had the same opinion as you - to have him land on his back. I'm not sure about this though. The reason being, he can't look like he hurts himself too badly or you can lose the humour. I don't want it to look like the fall kills him... Maybe I'll give it a go and see how it looks.

Thanks heaps for the comments!

Oh, just to keep this up to date, I just uploaded the just changed version. The changes were to his spine, sped up the first step, cut the scene down by 6 frames, locked down a bit of foot drift, and put a bit of overlap in his feet on the fall landing...

linky (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week6.wip.v3.mov)

05-07-2009, 09:33 PM
I don't think having him land on his back will give the impression that he's seriously hurt or killed, especially if you have him sit back up. The thing is, when you slip on something and the foot shoots forward, the hips are going to follow. It's a mechanical issue more than anything, and I'm thinking it would be pretty much impossible to slip on something, fall backwards, and still land hunched over.

On another note, I just noticed something about the can hitting his head. On frame 74 his head and shoulders are moving downwards, but the can doesn't actually hit until frame 75. So it diffuses the impact because he's already in motion. I was thinking that he should look up at frame 75 so the hit will have more bounce, and then it hit me... If you moved the can hit back to frame 54, his head would be up, he'd be unbalanced on one foot, and it would add a lot of fun to him trying to regain his balance. The whole shot would be way more dynamic. And on top of that, you could compact the timing (and lose a few steps) between 54 and 75. This would give you more wiggle room to push your timing more.

Hope this helps.


Stunt Pixels
05-08-2009, 12:54 AM
Hey Eric,

All great ideas! Very cool stuff thanks. I totally agree that the staging would work better if the can hit him where you suggested. But I don't think I can do that. The assignment was to do a drunk walk, so I want to leave time to clearly recognise the walk before I introduce anything else. But I may have to play a bit to see if I can work something similar in...

I tried the fall on his back. I tried to make it a kind of gentle "falls flat on his back", so it wouldn't look like he cracked his skull.. Still more work to do, but it's progressing.

Again, thanks heaps for the suggestions, they're a great help!

Link (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week6.wip.v4.mov) to the revised again version.

Oh, also, I have the idea that showing the sort of process with a learning shot at AM like this may be usefull to other people trying to learn animation. If people think this is good idea, or, just gets in the way on a Lightwave forum, let me know.

Actually, speaking of the progression, I may as well throw in the original blocking pass I did for this. I totally re-did the blocking, after re-doing some reference footage, and think this looks like crap now, but I was happy with this last week... original blocking (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Week5.mov)



05-08-2009, 10:31 AM
great for me... up until the slip... frame 174/5 particularly grabs my attention... His leading leg, the one stepping on the can stays bent, id snap that puppy right out straight, probs on 1... hes not controlling his foot/leg at that point, he should have shifted his weight onto it, the boom, it rolls out from under him... his foot should continue over the can, not just keeping it around the toe point... then on the frame after the leg snaps out, he should automatically be trying to save himself, by lurching his upper body forwards, so spull that spine right up into a foetal bend FAST...

Then, cos his bend has shifted his cetre of gravity, id have one, maybe 2 frames where his body rotates in mid air, probs around the stomach... hips are going up, shoulders are going down, then gravitytakes hold of the lot and SLAP... hes on his back faster than a one legged hooker.

05-09-2009, 12:54 AM
First thing I noticed is that it doesn't seem to be hit by a green cone. At 77 head already starts moving forward before being hit.

Big side step to the right from 24 to 36 seems kinda odd to me. I would expect him to continue movement from the first step. It would enhance the illusion of impact if you have similar walk before hit. This way side step before takes the attention away.

When he turns the head 105-110 head movement should not be linear from pose to pose, you need up (or down) breakdown and eye blink (unless he is very scared).

Also, I'd make him looking up (from 143 on) when he steps on the green cone to make more emphasis on him not seeing it and accidentally tripping on it. If you were looking straight ahead you would notice something green on the floor and be careful not to step on it.

Hope this helps!

Stunt Pixels
05-09-2009, 11:44 PM
Thanks heaps guys, all really good stuff. I'm going to get another pass of this out today. I'll try to integrate what I can from the suggestions here.... Then post the new pass to show the changes.


Stunt Pixels
05-11-2009, 09:44 PM
Sorry guys. There were a heap of good suggestions here, but I just ran out of time so couldn't integrate most of them. The way we are doing this at the moment is week 1 is for video ref and thumbnails of shot, week 2 is for blocking, week 3 is blocking plus (which is what I posted), and week 4 is final pass and start on the next assignments video ref and thumbnailing...

So, while I managed to get a couple in, I couldn't get them all in before I had to hand in the blocking plus. That shot now is essentially locked off, except for a final clean up, and implementing my mentor's suggestions. It's kind of annoying, cause I would have LOVED to include more of the feedback from here, but them's the breaks....

OK, the shot I handed in is here (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week6.wip.v5.mov). Basically the suggestions were:

Exaggerate the fall. Bring hips up before the down to get a nice arc in there. Reverse the spine - to a cup shape. Bring one foot up as he's falling.

Weight is wrong around 14, bring weight more over back foot.

Weight is wrong for step ion 20-28. Keep weight over LT foot until RT foot plants.

Feels out of balance around 65, guessing it's out of balance from a front on view, work the balance on the wobble.

Weight is wrong on 94, push the hips forward a little more.

Shift weight on 101 over RT foot

Bounce can back after impact with head instead of down. Going to be hard to get this looking right when it ends up where it does.

Try to get the eyes more visible around 110-130.

I'll get onto those, just thought I'd post the results of the feedback in case anyone finds it interesting.

Stunt Pixels
05-12-2009, 12:22 AM
Oops, deleted the first one I posted, and not sure what scene reflected that, so that's a dead link now...

Here's the first pass with my mentor's suggested revisions.

linky (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week7.wip.v1.mov)

I have found the feedback here absolutely awesome. Much better than I'd expected actually. One thing I was hoping with this was to give people learning animation some insight into the way things are done at AM. This week I get started on the next assignment for AM, would anyone find it useful if I posted the whole process in steps as I go, from video reference and thumbnails through to the final animation? It will take around 4 weeks all up. I know that, before this course, I had real problems knowing where to start on anything more complex than a walk cycle, and the process was bewildering to me. If I post the steps it might help newbies get an idea of one process to build a shot.

05-12-2009, 01:49 AM
It's pretty good polished like this.

I believe this can be a good place to trade knowledge about CA and having some AM students is a wonderful addition.

Also, having insights in other people workflows is a great helper in building your own.

Would like to see way you are doing a shot from start to finish.

Cheers mate

Stunt Pixels
05-13-2009, 05:34 PM
OK akademus, cool, I'll put it up all the way through as I go for the next shot. We have a shot list to chose from, and I've picked "A simple dance move". My first though was a segment from "Singing In The Rain", but I've had another idea. I have to thumbnail it to see if it will work, but it should be fun if it does...

In the meantime I'm into finalising the current shot. Working on the arcs now. We've been taught to work through the arcs from the root (hips) out to avoid sudden changes in direction and keep things smooth. It's coming along. I've also thrown in a quick, crappy, environment just for the hell of it. Latest revision is here (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week7.wip.v2.mov).


05-15-2009, 01:08 PM
We've been taught to work through the arcs from the root (hips) out to avoid sudden changes in direction and keep things smooth.

Yups, but not just your arcs, your offsets and overlapping motion too, always start at the "root" (usually the hips unless ur characters hanging from a ledge/trapeze or something, in which case its the hands), and radiate your movments out from there through the various "chains"...

Same principle as whipping a whip, or jump rope, the wave starts near your hand, and travels away.

Stunt Pixels
05-17-2009, 06:41 PM
OK, ran out of time to include all the changes I wanted to... But that's kind of the story with everything! So here's the final I did for the last assignment.

link (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Week7.mov)

For the next assignment, I've chosen a dance move. It was going to be something old school (a section with the umbrella from Singing In The Rain), but I went for something, errr, a bit more contemporary. The first thing we do is thumbnail out the key poses in the motion:


I then did a quick test with the thumbs for the timing (that's where the frame numbers on the thumbs come from).

link (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Thumbnails.mov)

The next step is to block out (do the keyframes and some breakdowns in 3d). I'll put that up when it's done...

05-17-2009, 09:04 PM
an animated stripper pole?

cheeky monkey

Stunt Pixels
05-20-2009, 08:20 PM
First blocking pass (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week8wip.v1.mov)

OK guys, first pass of the blocking for the "dance"... For people who aren't familiar with the term, blocking is putting in the main storytelling poses. So there should be enough poses to tell what's going on in the scene, and to get the essence of the motion - also, because there's so little information in the scene, it's quick to change the keys and the timing..

If it's not reading clearly, or you think certain poses could be improved, or catch something else, I'd be happy if you'd let me know...

Stunt Pixels
05-21-2009, 01:28 AM
Second blocking pass (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week8wip.v2.mov)

OK, keeping this with posting the same stuff as I post at AM, here's the second blocking pass. I've changed a few of the poses, particularly around where she swings around to change position on the pol (between 177-203). I've also added a few poses to help it read clearer...

And, since one of the main points with blocking is to work on the poses, and the silhouettes of the poses are a major aspect, I've also thrown a silhouette pass after the normal preview one...

05-21-2009, 06:54 AM
Hi Stunt Pixels,

I appreciate you posting your WIPs. It's always good to see how others animate.

Not that I've ever been to a place where women dance like this...but the one thing I noticed is when she does the splits, she doesn't take enough time to do it. I've heard that dancers would really "work it" with that move. But yeah, I wouldn't know...:devil::hey:

I know you have time constraints, but varying the pacing overall would really sell the shot.

The poses are looking great!

05-21-2009, 09:20 AM
I was going to say the same thing. When a performer does a bit they hold it for a couple of seconds to let the crowd appreciate it and applaud before moving to the next. Think of acrobats you might have seen in a circus or a gymnast (the IronCross on the rings comes to mind).
But as your character has no audience, I don't know if it applies here.

Stunt Pixels
05-21-2009, 04:28 PM
Hey guys, great comments! Now I'm unsure. Actually, one thing I should have done originally was to include the reference I based the thumbnails off. So here you go (don't worry, it's work safe, though your wife might wonder what you're doing looking at it...)

Dance reference (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/dance.reference.mov)

I understand totally what you're saying about pushing the splits, but I'm not sure if that would work for this shot. It may push the "sexuality" of it a bit far. Though, thinking about who would find a blocky animated character too sexual is a question where I think the answer would worry me...

I'll take it into account when I get a bit more refined on the timing, so I can see a bit better how the whole thing is going to flow. Thanks for the feedback!


05-23-2009, 08:12 AM
Hey, good reference :)

I think you have good poses in the blocking. Timing will play major role in this so concentrate on that. Wish you luck! Can't wait to see more.

Cheers mate!

Stunt Pixels
05-29-2009, 01:39 AM
OK, sorry guys. Been a crazy busy week, so I haven't got anywhere near the amount of time into this as I would have liked. On top of that, when I swapped from blocking to slowly go into splines, everything went to crap. Bizarre rotations all over the place. Anyways, this is the first pass of this stage that doesn't totally look like it's mixed with a car crash...

Changed a few of the poses (primarily the opening and closing poses), added some music, and adjusted some timing - most obviously on the pole climb and moves. Still have a heap to do, a lot of timing and spacing issues still in here, but I need a beer and some food.... They can wait until tomorrow...

link (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week9wip.v1.mov)

Stunt Pixels
06-01-2009, 07:37 PM
Allright. Got feedback from last week. Here's the anim I handed in

link (http://swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week9wip.v2.mov)

I though it was looking pretty good. But, as usual, my mentor had some great feedback on things required to polish this off. This will be the last week on this shot, so I'm also aiming on getting an environment in. I might have to do an export from Maya of the animation, so I can do the environment modelling/surfacing in LW. I find LW so much quicker for that... Anyway, here's a summary of his feedback (this is paraphrased from the video critique).

Watch for little foot slides - like the one of the LT foot from 31-37.

Watch the wobble on the RT foot from 183, also be carefull with the leg hyperextension here.

Put in some overlap for all the big leg moves. But also consider leading the moves with the toes, as this would be more feminine.

Look into getting a better line of action on the arms for the closing pose. At the moment it's broken by the shoulders, try to get that a nice straight line through the shoulders.

The spin starting around 89 looks a bit skatey, like she's on ice. Work on the feet here. Also, watch the balance on the spin. Get some overlap into the spin so the whole torso isn't spinning at the same time. Maybe lead with the head, then shoulders, then the hips. This would help loosen up the spin.

Clean up the LT elbow for the pole climb. Looks awkward around 145.

Maybe have the legs slower on the raise (around 146), then bring them into the spilts with crisper motion.

The RT hand flick as the goes into the final pose would be better slowed down, possibly all the way through to 236ish.

Watch the RT foot looking broken around 102.

Now that he has mentioned these, they are totally obvious to me. I think that I'm finding this hard, in particular, because I've never tried to animate "feminine" motion before. It's really doing my head in... Oh well, the challenge is fun too!


06-01-2009, 10:01 PM
It's looking great SP! The mentor's suggestions are spot on.

A couple other things you might look at -

At 105 the left wrist looks a bit broken and does kind of a weird move to get back around the pole.

Watch the right foot arc as she spins around starting at about 80.

Keep up the good work.


Stunt Pixels
06-01-2009, 11:07 PM
Hey Auger, nice pickups! I've sort of covered them in fixing some of the other stuff. I 'm still not happy with the arc on the RT as she does the twist around, but hopefully I'll get time to fix that. Actually, I plan on plotting out all the major arcs and going over them this week, have to see how the time travels...

Great stuff though, really helpfull!


Stunt Pixels
06-03-2009, 12:05 AM
OK, then, next pass is done. This is after integrating most of Marlon's comments from his crit. I'm still unhappy with a few things, but it seems to be getting there. Again, if you see any problems, pops, glitches, stuff that just bugs you, please let me know. All input is appreciated!

Oh, also, I stuffed up and forgot to apply the final compression on the last one. That's fixed now. Sorry for the 10meg download....

link (http://www.swoon.com.au/AM/Class2.Week10.wip.v1.mov)

06-03-2009, 09:13 AM
ok here goes...

111-116... footslide... Something about the whole move, 100-120... just bugs me, soz... could be that the hip has a real quick move in there, could just be too slick and smooth... dunno, but somehow looks wrong to me... also dont like what that left arm is doing 105-110, but theres not a lot of room for options there...

looks like some kinda snap on the hand, 220-225... kinda breaks the arc... also upper arm/elbow does a very quick bank shift 226-229... kinda spoils the arc, as well as that momentary pause in the motion.

Tbh... the whole thing i find a bit too slow... id make it loads quicker.... It doesnt got that floaty look to it, not at all... which is of course really hard to avoid when you animate something more slowly, so to that end its very well done... but dunno... just doesnt sing to me i guess.

sorry for the slightly bollocks crit.

Stunt Pixels
06-04-2009, 06:58 PM
Hey man, thanks for the feedback. Really good stuff. I'm in the polishing stage at the moment, trying to iron out all the arcs, and I'll definitely take into consideration the things you've mentioned. I want to spend some quality time refining the arcs and drawing them all on screen to make sure they're smooth and stuff.

On the timing, I agree. Stupidly I did the initial timing to the video ref. I know that it's generally recommended to speed up ref footage by about 25%, but I wanted to go with a slow and sensual vibe for this one.... I too think it could be sped up, but I'm so far into it that I really don't want to go through re-timing the whole thing... Maybe I'll do that after I've handed it in.

06-05-2009, 06:20 AM
I did the initial timing to the video ref.

I thought it may be some such thing... sticking too close to real life movements.... Which is what I think throws it here... If the same animation were on a realistic human mesh, rather than a cartoon fella... it'd probs look awesome.