View Full Version : My First Character Animation - Need SERIOUS Critiques

09 September 2004, 07:51 PM
Greetings everyone! I've wanted to post this for some time now but was unable to due to FTP access problems but finally I got it to work.
What we have here is my first ever character animation. Sure I'd done some playing around with IK/FK concepts before, but never with a character. I used the CAT plugin for 3D studio MAX for animation (which is great!) and I'd really like to get some SERIOUS criticism on this animation. It might be to early to ask for this sort of advice but I feel I will really get the basics down if people like you take the time to analyze my work and tell me what I should pay special attention to, what I should watch out for, etc...

Here's the link: Right-Click "Save Target As" (

Btw, I know its really short but I tried to get as detailed an animation as possible in a wide range of movement. Also, the palms deform slightly when he twists them around, the matter is being discussed with the creators of CAT. It has something to do with scale controller problems...

09 September 2004, 08:48 PM

The animation actually looks pretty good. The main thing that is bothering me, is that it's not completely clear what the character is trying to do. It sticks the pencil in something, which is nicely animated, but then it drops it or something. That animation is just not very 'readable.' After that the animation doesn't do much for me. It's not quite clear what's going on and every movement is happening at a constant rate. You might want to add a little more anticipation to the movement.
But it's a nice start for a first animation.(even though I encourage everyone to learn handdrawn animation first.)



09 September 2004, 09:11 PM
When he lets go of the pencil, It doesnt fall at all, It just "floats" there.. Need to let it fall a little till he catches it

09 September 2004, 10:06 PM
I hope I get this correct: He's trying to stick the pencil in the ground, but it's too heavy and it falls back? Please confirm this, so I can give more SERIOUS comments

Just some comments:
-He sticks the pencil in the ground. For that, makes some huuuuuuuuges head motion as if he's gonna do something really heavy and really big, but then, without any effort, he easily sticks in the pencil as if it weights nothing. It's not bad! But it needs some tweaking, it should look more heavy.

-In general the whole weight of the pencil is odd. He sticks the pencil in the ground as if it weight nothing, but then, all of a sudden, the pencil falls back and it's heavy and the character has to catch it and moves with it, you get the point, it looks heavy.

-Some other thing is: The left foot doesn't move at the beginning. There must be some movement, just some sliding, rotating, figure something out. Now it's just glued to the ground.

-Like eevilmouse said, the pencil floats back up, which is rather strange for a super heavy pencil.

-AGAIN, the weight of the pencil. How come he really has to use a lot of energy to catch the pencil, but he can put it back up without any effort or energy?

-The right hand goes trough the pencil for a few frames + it makes some horrible flacking popping strange looking motions

-When the fingers let go of the pencil and grab it again, there isn't a really "grabbing" feeling. He just lays his hand on the pencil.

-Why does he let go of the pencil anyway? It's heavy! He can't let his hands go, think about his feet! The heavy pencil would probably fall on his feet, no way he's gonna let go of the pencil!!!

-The left hand looks kinda imposible. He breaks it, A LOT I'm quite sure his hand would be on the otherside, then he could give a lot more power.

-The head and the spine are totally wrong, it's like a zig zag. When he moves back, his body is still leaning forward, but his head is leaning backwards. I think it would be more logical for him to look at where he's gonna point, he doesn't want to hit the wrong place, so he's gonna look. But then move his body back, and maybe his head a little to, to anticipate.

-If the pencil falls, would the point still be at the same place it started?

You're well on your way, but it needs a lot of tweaking. It looks good for fase 1 :D

(P.S for voodoofactory , how fast is your website gonna be ready? I'm intrested in your works becuase:
-you encourage everyone to learn handdrawn animation first (which gives me an impression of you, being a rather experienced animator)
-we're in the same country
-you're birthday is on 14th july 1986 and mine on 14th july 1986! :D

09 September 2004, 10:06 PM
voodoofactory: I see what you mean about the constant rate. This animation was made on a laptop and I didn't really have enough processing power to play the animation from beggining to end much so I ended up with a pretty much cramped up animation.
Thankyou for mentioning about 2D animation, you're very right. I'm thinking of acquiring a scanner as soon as possible to start sequencing drawn frames. I just felt it was high time to give it a shot at CG Animation, seeing that I'm going to be starting a course in November and didn't want to be the person "left out".

eevilmouse: Yes, you're right about the pencil, I was thinking about fixing that but abandonded it as it required lots of retargeting. For the hands I used and IK Target binded to the pencil and its a bit difficult for me to blend IK and FK yet. Thanks for spotting it though!

Thank you both for your crits! I know there's not too much to coment on but I'd REALLY appreciate if you'd rant as much as possible :wip:

09 September 2004, 10:09 PM
oshiroii: thanks for ALL your points! I will review them one by one and try to apply the same principals to future tests!

09 September 2004, 10:12 PM
You're welcome :D

09 September 2004, 09:57 AM
@ oshiroii:


Well you can't really call me a seasoned animator; I'm just a second year animation student at the HKU(Whoohoo HKU!!!). The advise I gave comes from what little experience I have and from animation books, fellow classmates and teachers. But especially from my experience, it's just amazing seeing a bunch of drawings come to life. Also, in traditional animation people tend to think more(better) about the movements your character has to make. People starting in 3D tend to make a couple of keyframes and just tween between them. This causes a very 'floaty', constant stream of motion. It lacks snaps and pops and basic rythm. The main reason why some people like 3D better to 2D animation, because 'it takes more time, you have to be able to draw well etc.' The poor misinformed souls. ;) Making a really good 3D animation probably takes more time to make then a good 2D animation. Especially if you model, rig and texture your own characters. Secondly, animating on 'doubles' is one of the best ways to learn 2D animation(12 fases a second instead of 25). And viewers won't even notice most of the times(it IS pleasant to look at, even though 25 is just buttery smooth).
And about the drawing abilities; Ofcourse you have to like to draw, because you're gonna make a whole lot of them. However, there isn't a real reason to draw like the disney or WB animators. That's just a style choice. Try to find your own style, which you can draw nice and quick, so that you don't have to worry about keeping your character looking like your character and just concentrate on animating. Drawing something easy to draw, also let's you have a social life, which is always great! (well, some sort of social life; animation isn't very benificial for your love life ;(

BTW.(I was born in '85)

09 September 2004, 12:08 PM
2d animation is really good I've heard. I've done little of it myself, but I directly saw the progress of thinking. With 2d animation, somehow, you're thinking more logical then with 3d. I'm gonna learn 2d, just becuase it's amazing to see some drawing come to live. The coolest thing is that you can draw an amazing concept and start animating right away (well almost) In 3d you'd have to model, rigg and texture everything first. Which is tons of fun of course, but it takes a lot of time. When you've got a good 2d basic, I think your animation skillz would be better, because you've really got to think about the poses. It's a pain to change 24 drawings over and over again, then go to the next 24 :banghead: So you'll have to watch more carefully to avoid redoing a lot of stuff. With 3d animation you can very easily change curves or set the timing a little bit later. The only real problem with 2d is the coloring. How do you handle color?

Anyhow, I don't want to steal CarlCampbell thread so, if intrested, we'd better discuss things further on msn or something like that :D


sorry about the birthday thing, I made a typo! I was thinking ahead I guess, so I typed 1986 instead of 1985 :D

09 September 2004, 06:13 PM
Heh, no problem I guess. I just hope that more people will comment some more on the anim. I was born in '85 by the way too! Interested in 2D animation also, maybe we'll do some brainstorming sometime...

09 September 2004, 10:00 AM
hey i liked your animation, it has a lot of character except for whats already been said about the floaty pencil with lack of weight. are you planning to update the animation or head on to another one? if your guna make some changes i suggest making him struggle far more when hes picking the pencil back up..right nwo it looks like the pencil is picking him up

im born in 85 aswell, attending BCIT digital animation course. im workin on my demo reel right now and ive just finished all my modelling texturing and lighting but now its time to animate for the first time so im guna be in the same place as you..maybe we can exchange tips or somethin, im hoping to have a small portion of animation done within a week or two

09 September 2004, 10:10 AM
Be sure to provide us with the link! I'd love to help :thumbsup:

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 06:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.