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Jazzman's 3D animation thread: UPDATE: I got a job animating games!

thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
edited December 2009 in Artist's Corner
Hello! I know there isn't much 3D stuff on AC usually but it's my preferred artist forum so I thought I might post here.

I know there are some 3d/animation guys here, and feedback wise I'm really look for animation criticism above all since I want to be a character animator in the games industry.

My current status is that I quit an English literature degree to go to a 3d school instead, and that starts in September. I've been 3d modeling for around 4 months I guess and while I definitely want to get better at modeling itself that's a secondary to animation. I really want to get good before I start my game art degree in September!

Anyway, without further ado here's some animation for a character I made (not textured atm) oldest to newest!


http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=7673254360626215550

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=1282177358209340410

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-7762475667171912229

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-7458124609919536061

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=5389174236612236411

And in case you're wondering why the guy hasn't got a head that's seperate for now b/c I wanted to concentrate on the body, but here's his head (Hair texture obviously not done atm)

eldasface2.jpg

EDIT: Replaced the walk and run cycle with newer better ones

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thejazzman on
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Posts

  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Ok well not too much interest in the thread but I figured I'd keep posting a little more incase somebody who wants to give some animation crits shows up,

    here's what I did today, same character. Click the link at the top of the embedded file if you want to see it bigger,

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=4966617169941270373

    thejazzman on
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  • FabricateFabricate __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2009
    The animations mostly seem quick and jerky rather than smooth and natural

    thats the only crit/observation I can provide, as this is not my forte.

    Good luck at school though!

    Fabricate on
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    You should make him do the "Im a little teapot" dance.

    MagicToaster on
  • LoomdunLoomdun Registered User
    edited March 2009
    you should make the "Oh no he didn't zig zag snapping fingers motion.

    Loomdun on
    splat
  • RubberACRubberAC Sidney BC!Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    You should make him do the "Im a little teapot" dance.

    This is the definition of perfect advice
    do this and your instructors will just give you a high-5 and tell you you don't need no damn classes

    RubberAC on
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  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    RubberAC wrote: »
    You should make him do the "Im a little teapot" dance.

    This is the definition of perfect advice
    do this and your instructors will just give you a high-5 and tell you you don't need no damn classes

    Also, it will be hillarious!

    MagicToaster on
  • RubberACRubberAC Sidney BC!Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    RubberAC wrote: »
    You should make him do the "Im a little teapot" dance.

    This is the definition of perfect advice
    do this and your instructors will just give you a high-5 and tell you you don't need no damn classes

    Also, it will be hilarious!

    So hilarious he will become the popular kid and all the ladies will love him
    "the ladies" are also known as me and Toaster, unfortunately.

    RubberAC on
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  • r-jasperr-jasper Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    personaly i'd make my modeling and animation two different projects at the moment. if you do this you won't be caught up in trying to make your dude look cool. just d/l a very simple character rig. i'm talking very simple. no clothes kind of deal. atm i think animating a figure without a head is a very bad idea.

    all the vids are playing reaeeeeeeelly slowly. i don't know if it's just me. but if it's not i'd fix these so that the play in proper time.

    in the first play blast i think the dudes left leg straightens too much and the feet snap unnaturally quick. it's hard to tell what kind of attitude you wanted in that walk cycle atm.

    with the jump sequence i'd defienietly try using a different rig. don't worry about how the cape will look when it flys through the air. just get down to the basics and worry about the important stuff (if you want to be working in the games indutry you're going to be working with different rigs anyway. (my old 3D anim teacher now works as a games animator at chrome studios in brisbane, aust. and he says this rig named Max is very similar to the ones he uses at work. )) back to the jump... firstly there's no anticipation and transfur of weight or energy. so at the moment elfdude is getting all this forward momentum from nowhere. the jump is also very 'floaty' which is a very common mistake with 3d anim. computers are stupid we cant just let them do all the inbetweening. a jump should ease in at the start of the arc speed up through the top of the arc. and cusion at the end.

    when animating anything ask yourself; what does it look like? how fast does it move through the arc at this point? where should it cusion etc.

    movement at a constant rate is robotic and boring. an animator is characturing human movements, your animation should have variations. (fuck i hope this makjes sense. my old man took me to the local for a lot of drinks :S )

    No. 4 is better (a sneak?) if it is a sneak your ease ins and outs should be the other way around. if elfdude is sneaking or trying to be quiet. whatever, etc. he should be caustious about putting his legs on the ground. his legs should move quickly through the top of the arc and then ease into the first point of contact.

    the 5th one is so hard to try and evaluate without there being a head on that character. there are some potential issues with the feet there. but without a head it;s kind of hard to tell where the weight is being distributed. get a new rig (simple as(with a head), parent a stick to its hand for a sword) match the keys and see how you go with the head.

    there are a couple of things not too right in the last vid. just a quick note though. the torso should beind down in anticipation for those jumps.

    STRONGLY recommend that you d/l a new, simplistic rig and seperete modeling and animating, until you have a grasp of the basics. it's really great to see you looking for crits.


    edit:
    blik_v1_rev.jpg this one is brilliant. http://www.highend3d.com/maya/downloads/character_rigs/Blik-5075.html

    r-jasper on
  • r-jasperr-jasper Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    MAX! screen1.jpg

    http://www.highend3d.com/maya/downloads/character_rigs/Max-for-Maya-4877.html

    edit: fuck these are both for maya, don't know which program you're using...

    r-jasper on
  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Thanks a lot for the replys R-Jasper!

    My rig is actually a really good professional one for MAX that's been used in a bunch of adverts and game etc. I think what I'll do is have my next animations just showing the rig/bones and forget about the skinned model for now then. You're right I should stop being in limbo tying to have my guy looking cool/interesting at the same time as trying to get the animation right.

    However when I came to check this thread I had just made the teapot animation real quick so this next video wont seem like I've taken your advice hehe, but I promise the next one will!

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=5067043989685875725

    thejazzman on
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  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Oh and I just thought I should mention that you're totally right about being distracted with the cape and all that crap. I'd actually already started work on a new character that was much simpler, no loincloth, cape, etc, but now I'm going to put that on hold to work purely with the rig.

    thejazzman on
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  • LoomdunLoomdun Registered User
    edited March 2009
    omg... you made the i'm a little tea-pot dance with 100% amazing-ness

    Loomdun on
    splat
  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Right here's a walk cycle with just the rig+bones visible.

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=7673254360626215550

    thejazzman on
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  • LoomdunLoomdun Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Why is his hip so balanced the entire time hes walking?

    Loomdun on
    splat
  • RubberACRubberAC Sidney BC!Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA awesome
    His walk cycle makes him look kind of like a broadway-over-exaggerated-happy-walk kinda thing though

    RubberAC on
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  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Yeah you're right about the hips I think, I've fixed that up but I won't bother posting a fixed version b/c its such a small change that I don't think anyone would be interested.

    I'm doing more exaggerated sorts of movements now that I'm just animating the rig, I think the elf character would look pretty stupid walking like the rig in that video heh :D

    thejazzman on
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  • RubberACRubberAC Sidney BC!Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    ok understandable. It is a pretty good happy-go-lucky stroll. He's still kicking his feet out at the end of each stride though.

    RubberAC on
    raneasig.png
  • sabyulsabyul Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Wow, I never noticed this thread till now. I'm an animator, and I want to get into the games industry too (currently working in advertising).

    The biggest overall issue with your animations, in my opinion, is that you seem to be using inverse kinematics for no reason at all. This is a common issue, and it makes animation look both "puppety" and "jerky" when not done properly.

    I suggest animating forward kinematic unless you absolutely have to use IK (legs touching the ground, two hands holding a prop, etc) . Then since you'll be animating FK, you'll learn to animate "from the inside out" rather than "outside in" so you'll pay more attention to your hips and spine (where believability and sense of weight come from!!).

    Also, with FK you'll be able to easily add more overlapping action-- it doesn't seem like you're offsetting your keys enough. Remember to use pre- and post- infinity keys to offset on cycles. Remember, INSIDE-OUT. Let the shoulder hit its extreme, then the elbow, then the wrist. The more offset you have, the more "floppy" it will look (which, judging by your posing, is what you're going for).

    sabyul on
    http://www.frame-advantage.com - Specializing in high quality fighting game video content
  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Great advice Sabyul, I was using inverse kinematics in the arms on a lot of those animations. I'm now using inverse for the legs still, but forward for everything else. I like it a hell of a lot more, I knocked up this fighting animation using that set up:

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=3841703824733091606

    Is there any good reason not to use inverse for the legs?

    Also, how do you temporarily attach an object to something? For example, a sword in a scabbard, then the hand comes to it, it becomes attached to the hand. You know what I mean?


    Really glad I managed to unearth some animation people on the boards :)

    thejazzman on
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  • sabyulsabyul Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Arms are looking much less robotic already. Definite improvement there.

    You seem to be really into keeping channels clean, as your spine seems to get back to 0 0 0 rotates at every opportunity. To get nice action-oriented stuff, especially for games, you really have to use the spine and hips to sell the poses. I suggest muting the channels of the arms and just making sure that the spine and hip movement can sell your action first.

    If you're animating FK, you should be doing this anyway because the arm positions (and rotations, depending on the rig) will be affected by their parents.

    One easy thing to do is determine which leg has more weight on it. it is almost NEVER 50/50. Try it out on yourself-- if you stand with most of your weight on one leg, what happens?

    - Translation so the hips are moved over to the weighted hip
    - Rotation so that the weighted hip is HIGHER than other one
    - Counterrotation through spine so that the shoulders either have the opposite orientation, or are straight

    Feel where the weight is going and use that to inform the hip animation. Use the spine to get the emotion of the poses and and to complement (and counteract) the hips. Arms and stuff are really just decoration in relation to that other stuff.

    Keep on truckin!

    sabyul on
    http://www.frame-advantage.com - Specializing in high quality fighting game video content
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    AHahahah! Oh man! I love that tea pot! I give you an A+!

    MagicToaster on
  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Been away a few days but I'm back now and knocked up this run cycle. Not 100% happy with it but I didn't want to spend a million years on it so I called it quits for now.

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=1282177358209340410

    thejazzman on
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  • r-jasperr-jasper Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    looking good. the only problem i think i have with it is that it doesn't look like his right arm reaches the top of the arc at all.

    r-jasper on
  • LeggraphicsLeggraphics Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Hey dude. I like the run cycle. Great improvement from your previous posts.

    I know its hard to get animation right. I use maya and the playblasts never run smoothly enough to tell that it is working properly before you render it.

    I would say that especially on your earlier posts the animation just isnt smooth enough. I'm not sure your bone rigging is the best either? have you done a few tutes on bone rigging?

    Rigging of the legs, ankles and feet are one of the hardest things because they need to hit the ground correctly. The best way of rigging this is having a bone point at the knee, heel and then ball and toes and then to have IK handles between them. Linking it like a triangle between the ball joint and the knee so it flexes and bends and the foot will flatten out when it is stretched to its full limmits.

    There are some really good tutorials I have done from Simply maya on this which I was given through my uni course. I wouldn't recommend doing it illegally because I think the people who make these tutorials deserve the money but most of them can be downloaded off demonoid.

    Another thing- I am un-sure what program you are using however I am sure that 3D max and Maya have the Animation curve editors which you can use to smooth out your animations. In the curve editor you get to see your keyframes and the curves surrounding them. you can then adjusts the curves as you would in photoshop or illustrator using a pen tool.

    Please note that the following paragraph is not just advice from me but also advice I have got applying for 3D jobs.

    Another tip I would give is that if you are after a job in 3D work. Stick to either modeling or animation. Both are separate jobs within the field unless you are working for yourself or a really small company. You are best to concentrate and hone your skills in on the one part of it you love. If it is modling use other peoples bones or just display your work using a turntable sort of approach. If it is animation, animate other peoples models you can download for free.

    Keep up the good work mate

    Dom

    Leggraphics on
  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Yeah the stiffness of the legs/ankles in the earlier animations posted is less the rig and more me not having a clue what I was doing. The whole curves editor thing is something I need to learn pronto, I've been sort of vaguely aware of its presence but haven't taken that leap at actually getting a tutorial, but I'm going to do that right now.

    As for paying for stuff, this is a really serious venture for me, and I've already up-fronted a lot of money for animation school, so I don't mind dropping some money on stuff like the gnomon art school tutorials and stuff.

    The whole focusing on 1 aspect thing is really bugging me because the gist is, I want to create characters, but you're totally right that in a development house that job is split up completely between different teams and there's no point stunting my advancement by spreading myself too thin.

    I think I'm going to throw my hat in with animation (which I believe is the hardest discipline within game art to actually secure a job with D:) because it feels like that's the right direction for me, but you might see me posting some models in the thread sometimes because I still enjoy that on a personal level just like I might throw up some pencil sketches and stuff.

    Anyway, very nice to have some discussion, I'll update later with what I'm working on :^:

    thejazzman on
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  • bombardierbombardier Moderator mod
    edited March 2009
    I am not giving anything useful to this thread but I am giving a bit :^: to your avatar.

    That skeleton is a dick.

    bombardier on
    ?username=bombardactyl&theme=dark
  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Here we go, I'm not 100% happy (again) but I'm ready to leave this one be, partly because I want to try something with the curves editor stuff,

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-1051191798809493151

    thejazzman on
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  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Many of these animations just don't seem to have a very realistic flow to them. That last one looks like the hand not-in-use is just flailing about aimlessly, rather than helping him balance, or something.

    In the first animations, the jerkiness was mentioned...but I also noticed that there was a permanent "bend" in his cape. For a more realistic cape-in-motion, maybe you could look up a bunch of videos of flags in the wind, or clotheslines, or something along those lines.

    NightDragon on
  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Tbh with the cape it was a mistake to try and animate it by hand with bones, if you look at something like darth vaders cape in soul caliber 4 its all done with a procedural cloth physics thing so it just does its thang without any assistance. Frankly I don't know why I didn't try and do that instead, I was playing shadow of the collosus a few days after rigging the cape guy and was like 'huh, they have cloth physics in this PS2 game, why did I think animating the cloak by hand was a good idea D:'

    And yeah I agree a lot of them don't have a realistic flow to them, but I don't know what to do about that other than practice and use as much reference footage as possible.

    I did specifically have a problem working out what to do with that arm in the last animation, to give a bit of background, the animation started with him using a sword+shield, then I decided not to make it so complicated so I took away the shield, and decided to have both hands on the sword, THEN I realised that would require using inverse kinematics for the arms, and the animation guys in the thread had said to try and keep it in forward kinematics while I'm learning, so the arms ended up at a bit of a loose end, I agree that it looks bad.

    Anyway, as much input as possible on the later animations would be good, in fact I might just scrap some of the animations in the OP since I have much better walk/run cycles to show making them obsolete.

    thejazzman on
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  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Here's a sketch of the same character in some of the earlier animations I posted, just thought I'd stick it up in my little corner of AC since this is what I based that character model off. Not specifically looking for crits but if there's anything useful to input then go ahead.

    eldassketch.jpg

    thejazzman on
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  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Ok did this today trying to get better flow. It's my first attempt at having 2 characters in the same scene, and my first attempt at a reaction animation. I'm actually really pleased with it (until I look back tomorrow with fresh eyes and realise how bad it sucks heh)


    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-9183304053704489820

    thejazzman on
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  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited March 2009
    You're doing a lot of work here and I commend you for doing so much in such a short period of time- really shows that you're willing to work at it, which is awesome. On the other hand, at this stage I'd suggest putting less emphasis on getting a lot of different animations done, and putting more time into each individual one. Breaking down the animation on paper, taking video reference, etc- really tighten the screws on the production and work on getting things believable, rather than letting it go just at the point where you can tell what's going on.

    Some other people brought it up already, but the lack of the sense of weight and force is really hurting the believability in most of these animations. Every time a part of the body is moved in order to do something (say, hop forward), the rest of the body has to be responding in order to catch that weight upon impact, otherwise would be falling over all the time.

    Let me try to illustrate with my awesome Bruce Lee moves (lightning kicks of death too fast to register on camera:
    jazzman_animbreakdown.jpg

    Also, and I know everyone else is saying "SMOOTH SMOOTH SMOOTH", but really smoothness is something I'd be inclined to worry about at the end of the day, rather than the start. You really need to step back and concentrate on your basic poses before getting too caught up in making it 'nice'.

    I'd guess from what I'm seeing that you're working straight ahead and not pose-to-pose, and I might suggest moving to pose to pose for awhile just to get in the habit of making sure all your poses read well, and figuring out when you should hold a pose, rather than keeping everything in constant motion.

    Try just blocking out your keys just one frame after another, keyframing all the controls on all of them, for this example:
    Frame 1) Balanced Pose
    Frame 2) Push off with Heel
    Frame 3) Mid jump
    Frame 4) Leg stretched in anticipation of connection with ground
    Frame 5) Leg connects, begins brace
    Frame 6) Torso halted at lowest/furthest position, leg fully braced
    Frame 7 (optional)) Secondary animation on other parts of the body following through, hair/clothes etc. In the meantime, hold main action.
    Frame 8) Push off/bounce with heel
    Repeat, etc.

    After you have all those poses working well, then you can select all the controls, and spread out these frames on the timeline to get your basic timing down. Copy/Paste poses to indicate pauses, possibly go into curves and set everything to a linear curve to keep things simple while you hash everything out.

    From then, you can polish the whole thing by tweaking the curves editor, tweaking/offsetting keyframes on individual parts, adding secondary motion- in other words, get the smooth flow effect the others are talking about. But now you'll have a much more solid basis of weight and posing to build off of, rather than trying to get it right AND keep it smooth all at once- that's something some really experienced people can do right, but I know I sure can't. :P

    But yeah, this is a good start and I think you'll really start to make a lot of progess if you keep sticking with it like you have been. :^:

    Angel_of_Bacon on
  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Ok was away for a couple days, did this today to try and practice something with a bit of weight to it. It's not 100% there but I think I'll show it and see what feedback I can get.

    Btw, TY for the great post bacon, sooooo much more useful to get the whole works, suggestions, visual instructions etc rather than some throw away comment about making the animation better generally, ty for such an effort dude

    I tried to show reactions through the body to movements in other limbs and I started off setting up the strong key poses then going back for all the inbetween stuff. Anything obviously wrong you see please do mention it.

    http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-5306252592334380790



    Edit: Fucking Google video killed the vid, uploading to youtube

    thejazzman on
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  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Forum wouldn't let me edit

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlVonjDPL7c


    Youtube made it skip a bunch of frames so it looks really jerky where its not : / bleh.

    thejazzman on
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  • FabricateFabricate __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2009
    If that hammer is really that heavy I think it would fall farther back over the dude's head and pull him with it

    exaggerate more I think is what i'm getting at.

    Fabricate on
  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited March 2009
    Just glad you're finding it useful, sirrah :D

    Better, but some things about the action don't read quite right yet.

    - If you bring back such a large weight like that, you would need to have your feet aligned one behind the other, not straight on side to side. You need to rear leg back there to brace against the weight. While it is possible to counterbalance such a weight by leaning the rest of your body forward, it's an unstable position where you're likely to just topple backward. If I tried to duplicate the action of bringing a hammer back as you've got it, I'd probably lose balance a bit and have to spend a few seconds steadying myself to make it work- if you actually showed the loss of balance and struggling to regain it, that would be a great spot to add some more character to the action, if that interests you to do.

    -In any case, you want to add a pose to have him catch the weight after bringing it back, before the action of moving it forward. Right now, it's too smooth from the bring back->come down, and you're not giving enough time for the pose inbetween to read, give the guy a split-second moment of thought/anticipation before executing the action.

    -The swinging forward action would have more impact if the hammer sped up a lot more on the downswing. Right now there's some variation between the initial action and the downswing, but it still seems too close to a constant speed

    -Getting the guy back in the original position- right now it's very awkward how he gets back up, and destroys the sense of weight on the hammer. Lifting an object that heavy, the action is going to be anticipated by the centering the weight of his torso between his feet, and using that weight against the weight of the hammer to bring it up, and once it is up and firmly in hand, THEN he can bring up the hammer with the weight of his body, lifting it up with his back and legs. Right now it's more movefootandbringuphammer, rather that a sequence of logical, discrete and purposeful actions. Performing that action is going to require more time and coordination than you've allowed for in the time you've specified here.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Yeah I think both those posts are correct on all counts. I'm gonna make some adjustments and repost the hammer later on today (hopefully) rather than jumping onto the next idea that catches my interest.

    I definitely think spending more time to really get a solid sequence produced will pay off more than what is essentially doodling.

    Back in a few hours

    thejazzman on
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  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Ok here's the amended hammer animation, I tried to work on everything you pointed out bacon (and Fabricate) Let me know if it's improved any :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD5jO_tfs_8

    thejazzman on
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  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Personally, I think that is much better. :D Good jorb!

    I'd suggest making the feet move back a bit faster...it seems he's just casually walking back, but he would have to step back pretty quickly to counter his upper half being thrown back by the momentum of the swing.

    I guess another way to describe it is that this clip seems to have pretty "even" points in time where something happens...and equal durations in time that each action is taking place. Frequently in this type of animation, you may see something like:

    Person struggles to lift hammer. Relaxes (pause). Person struggles again. Sudden lift, sudden step back, [pause after catching balance, stays there a bit], hammer goes over head, speeds up a bit as it's falling, quick footwork as it hits (which you have) and slow recovery (which you have).

    The rhythm of the animation and the timing is also something essential that would be good to tweak here, a bit. I think what you have now is a good improvement from the last part, and if you're not tired of it yet, tweaking the timing may make it even better. :)

    NightDragon on
  • thejazzmanthejazzman Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Ok sweet, I'm glad it looks better to somebody who wasn't staring at it for like 3 hours.

    I'll stop browsing kotaku and get stuck back in!

    thejazzman on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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