View Full Version : non-computer like to

12 December 2003, 04:59 AM
I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction towards understanding how to create character animations that don't look sterile and computer-like. You know the look, machine like......movement starts and stops without any there some way to introduce noise or radomness into the movement for more realistic motion? Or to ease in and out with the keyframes like in aftereffects.

I know this is a broad question but I haven't found alot of information out there on this topic.

Matt Leishman
12 December 2003, 05:55 PM
i'm not sure if there is any real "technical secret" to having ease in and out, and things of that nature. I think to achieve motion such as you are wanting, one needs to become aquainted with the principles of animation and implement them when animating. I don't believe that you are going to achieve this motion through some tricky rigging system.

12 December 2003, 11:00 PM
wouldn't be too sure about that

there is away to have automatic follow through or "ease-in and out" ...but I only know of a way to do it in an arm, but the basic setup shouldn't be so hard to modify to fit into legs or any other bodypart :p

it does have some disadvantages, you are more limited to certain moves with this rig than with other rigs, but hey, that's a think all rigs go through (accepting limitations)

here's a small tuto, hope this helps.

12 December 2003, 11:11 PM
holy moly~!!~~
man that is a complex setup, (for me anyway), I've only been using maya for 8 months. But thanks for the link, very interesting, shows how deep you can get into this program!!

12 December 2003, 12:03 AM
holy molly no, if u want to do character animation the best way to go is keyframe it!!! No matter how many scripts or automatic math u write the computer is still the worlds dumbest inbetweener. It'll still end up looking computer generated.
dynamics is good for cloth, hair and stuff like like that , not for limbs and body and certainly not for character animation.

Matt Leishman
12 December 2003, 12:06 AM
this is great that you have the technical know-how to develop this kind of rig.

But my main point (which i don't think I got across) wasn't that it couldn't be done. Of course it can be done - practically anything can in Maya with the use of mel and the C++ API. My other point was that probably 95% (should be 100%) of the professional animators in this industry would tell you to go back and take out all that automatic ease in ease out stuff. This is a principle of animation that an animator needs to have full control over. He/she cannot allow the computer or the rig to dictate the extent to which this particular principle of animation is utilized (or any other principle for that matter).

Like i said, the fact that you are able to build that into a rig says alot about your mel/rigging capabilities - good on ya!! But any professional animator who really knows his/her stuff wouldn't go for it (IMO of course).

Matt Leishman
12 December 2003, 12:08 AM
ahh, modi beat me to it!!! :shrug:

ya, what he said!!

12 December 2003, 10:41 AM
yeh of course I too prefer the animation to be done by hand, but I just wanted to answer his question about a special rig for that :)

12 December 2003, 03:45 AM
thanks for the reply, can anybody recomend any animation tutorials on the web that deal with non-computer-like movement?

12 December 2003, 04:32 AM
Heres the one that everyone sends me to first. I think this should give you a good start.

12 December 2003, 01:23 PM
another thing thats special to computeranimation, compared to classical puppet or clay animation, is the framerate. puppetanimation is 10 or ever lower frames per second, which means that the missing detail and subtle motion is applied by the viewers imagination. The animators have to concentrate on the rough and expressive motion, which is a good thing for learning it.
animation at 25 or 30 fps needs a lot of detailwork to become subtle or "realistic". Maybe its an opition for you to work with a lower framerate, when it works for clay, it should apply to computeranimation as well.


12 December 2003, 12:05 AM
For me, just starting with my first animations after doing almost two years of learning basic 3D, modelling and painting textures, animating is just another challenge. It's not easily done by some kind of magic rig. You need to try, and try, and try. Look around for stuff about classic animation. Don't think it was mentioned in this thread but: anticipation is one of the magic words. Look in the resource threads of the professional boards, don't limit yourself to Maya. Maya is 'just' another tool to get the job done but basically the principles of animation apply to all of them (tools).


O and the graph editor is your friend :)

12 December 2003, 03:07 AM
Originally posted by sahajyogi
thanks for the reply, can anybody recomend any animation tutorials on the web that deal with non-computer-like movement?
I'm surprised that noone mentioned John Lasseter's classic SIGGRAPH paper on "Principles of Traditional Animation Applied to Computer Animation." ( I hear that the link provided is not the complete text that was published, but it's still great reading material (and non-software specific too!).

12 December 2003, 08:28 AM
thank you all for taking the time to respond, very helpful!!!

12 December 2003, 09:02 PM
Ah... the age old question.

In fact I think we're all constantly trying to up the quality of our work... It's part of the process. Just as you think you've got there, you realize how much more there is to know!

Anyhow, I stumbled upon this R&D ( into enhancing keyframe animation with adding mocap subtleties a while back, and while it seemed interesting at the time, I now think there's no real 'easy way out' when getting character performances. It's all about getting under the skin and... like just... feeling it, man...


So as may have been hinted at before, the 'best' tool we have is to observe the world around us in minute detail and watch and learn from life. (I guess video reference can also be a useful tool of sorts)

However Bobby 'BOOM' Beck gave up HEAPS of information during his Q&A over at cg-char ( That thread contains real solid gold nuggets, I tell ya!

Best of luck!! (and let us know how you get on!)

12 December 2003, 08:56 PM
Great forum at CGCHAR!! That bobby boom guy is great. Lots of very good advice, thanks.

01 January 2005, 04:04 PM
yeah its like everyone says - you've gotta study, study and keep studying. look at everything in real life. go sit next to a motorway holdup and watch drivers in their cars, chill out in coffee shops and watch, carry a note book, make sketches, read books, search amazingly cool 3d animation forums *cough cgtalk coughcough* get it into your head man.
theres a good little script on ( called rndChannel and it basically layers an offset to any channel/s you specify on your animated model. It keeps the animation curves but allows you to make further small adjustments. I usually use it on cameras for subtle camera/handheld shake. Just a start I guess :)
good luck

corduroy jacket appreciator

hey moderators - can I have my funsize pack of M&M's for the shameless plug now? :p

01 January 2005, 08:23 AM
with the basic animation tools in most packages - usually computer-like results, or stiff motion results from the animator not doing a good study of the motion of whatever they have to animate. you also don't see many photo-realistic character animation reels, 'cause stylized animation is so much more forgiving, making it easier to get better motion with less work.

and yep it helps if you don't have a crappy rig. :)

01 January 2005, 07:10 PM
The graphEditor is your firiend. Use it a lot

When moving, say, the arm, from one position to another with IK, make sure you always create inbetween keyframes so that the arm follows a nice curve, not just a straight path. Also read Ollie Johnston's Animation Notes ( and Jeremy Cantor's articles (

Read the CG-Char, John Lasseter and Keith Lango stuff that was mentioned

Act the motion out yourself so you can feel how your body moves. Pay a lot of attention to where the weight is and how it shifts around

Buy the Richard Williams book The Animator's Survival Kit. It contains all the stuff you absolutely HAVE to know if you're gonna do animation. And the animators Bible, Disney Animation - The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

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