View Full Version : WIP: Kung-fu/Superhero style animation

01 January 2005, 06:56 AM
Hey everybody. This is my first attempt at using Character Studio. Well, besides the tutorials... I gotta tell ya, I really nailed the one where you make the guy use an iron.

Anyway, I've done a version where the camera moves and another one with a still camera, so the animation is easier to rip apart. I was inspired by, and used, some Bruce Lee moves, as well as the 'air juggle' technique Treyarch developed for the Spiderman 2 videogame. This is actually something I'm working on as a sort of freeform test for one of my contacts on the inside, and imitation - in this particular case - was encouraged.

Moving Camera:

Still Camera:

I'm definitely looking for C & C as I keep going. The plan at this point, from where the clip ends, is to have the red guy piledrive the guy on the ground. Oh, that guy on the ground, who just lies there after the leg sweep, will get up feebly in the final piece also...almost immediately after he's knocked down... so he can be beaten further.

Thanks friends!

01 January 2005, 02:02 AM
Very nice, but they seem like fighting in the "moon"... I mean, with little gravity in some movements. I don´t feel so much weigh at some points. :)

Hope you understand what I´m trying to say.

01 January 2005, 02:53 PM
yar I'm not the best at gravity myself, but that and the collisions are not very realistic.

they "float" around too much imho and the impact of the hits is not very intense and almost non-existent in some places.

You can fix that with creative camera cuts and shakes, but you will have to tweak the curves of the animation too to reflect the impacts and decrease the "floating"

oh yah, after the first guy gets taken down, he shouldn't just lay flat like that...I don't know anyone that would get knocked out from a leg sweep. Maybe if you had him rolling around like his leg was broke...but just having him sit there static is distracting imho.

you are good at the fighting animation though, keep it up...
I'm actually going to be doing a similar animation soon, so I'll actually prolly refer to yours for that. Just mess with the gravity, collisions, and that one guy and you'll be set!


01 January 2005, 04:55 PM
Hey guys...thanks for checking it out. Yeah, that second guy is going to get up, I'm planning on working on that today.

So the two things that seem to be the biggest problems are the "floatiness" and the far as cutting away with the camera, I'm actually planning to leave it still, to let the animation speak for itself. So I better make it good, heh.

So, to tweak the curves in Character Studio, you generally use 'The Workbench', right? Or were you just speaking generally about the best way to fix this stuff? I think I have to do some more tutorials on the workbench today, the last few times I tried using it I had no clue what was going on.

Thanks again for taking a look!

01 January 2005, 06:32 PM
As far as "animating gravity goes", is hand-keying the animation the only traditional way in these cases? Is there a way to check your gravity animation automatically and see if it makes sense, or is that a judgement call on the artist's part?

01 January 2005, 07:06 PM
Usually it's on the artist. It's the thing that gives me the most trouble, I think.

It's done by working with both the characters in the viewports, and tweaking curves. You basically have to learn when a person should dip, when they should shift their weight from one foot to another, and when they should rise up a little, as if they're in mid-air.

Heh, I'm still learning.

01 January 2005, 12:46 AM
Update... Added motion to the guy who gets the sweep, added animation to other two characters (web sling and piledriver), and added environment and began lighting tests.

I've also tried a couple different camera animations:

Angle 1:

Angle 2:

And here's the lighting test (Final Gather style):

I also worked on the hits to try to give them a little more 'oompf'. Hope it looks better....

C & C is always appreciated!

Thanks for checking it out...


01 January 2005, 09:36 PM
spiderman! haha..sweet...I'd say add some more speed variation in the animation..when they first get punched, they should be moving really fast when being launched back, then at the conclusion of the action, they slow down a tad bit

01 January 2005, 05:35 PM
Hey thanks man. I worked a little more on that this weekend, and finally felt good enough about it to do a render.

I'm using Final Gather though, so it's taking forever. Should look pretty good though.

In the meantime, I've been working on some 'punch effects' mark where the impacts take place:

Thanks for checking it out!

Naisa Evoli
01 January 2005, 11:50 PM
One thing I would change is at the very end when the guys brings the guys up then turns him upside down then slams him on the ground head first. This sequence doesn’t look right to me for some reason. One, he goes up reaches the pinnacle of his jump with absolutely no rotation at all, then suddenly spins in the opposite direction his rotation should be going from by brining his legs up. When he brings his legs up around the guy’s waist to get his grip, his body weight would begin to shift more towards the back, but then you have him do a complete 180 and he flips the guy forward instead. Now I understand he seems to have some superhero like qualities, but if this is the case, keep the rules of your world constant. If this guy can defy gravity like this, then don’t have him stumble on his back turning kick like you have him do at the beginning. At first I thought this stumble was kool, good detail, but then when I saw what he was capable of doing (practically flying through air and defying the laws of physics) it seems to me he should have better balance than that then. Also at the very end when he lands, its hard to tell because of the black background, but it seems like the way he lands he should be not only crushing the guy he brought down, but breaking his own neck as well, because his head is actually closer to the ground it appears after the rotation from the fall by the time he reaches the ground. But I could be viewing it wrong since there is really no ground in the scene. but id figure id point it out for you to look at anyway^^. Anyway, that’s all I can think of. I really wanted to comment on this one because, I love marital arts, trained in it for very long time and would love to see a really nice martial arts animation (which I think this will become by the time you are done^^) Good job so far, good luck ;)

(if any of my explanations are confusing, let me know and I will try and explain them better. Good luck^^)

01 January 2005, 11:58 PM
Hey thanks man. I totally see where you're coming from. It's funny you mentioned that last sequence, that was actually singled out for the same things by another friend I've shown the piece to.

I'm working on those very things right now, I think it's looking better. I'll try to post a new Preview AVI in a bit.

In the meantime, here's the final gather I did over the weekend before these new critiques:

And with bones showing:

I'll probably do the same render style on the new tweaked version as well.

Thanks for checking it out!

Naisa Evoli
01 January 2005, 12:11 AM
Nice, new updates looking better^^. Coming along nice^^. cant wait to see the next string of updates, keep up the good work :)

01 January 2005, 08:39 PM

Without bones:

With bones:

I basically re-did all the motion at the end, to create a more realistic motion. Now, the hero grabs the guy by the back of the head and mashes his face into the pavement.

He also bounds back up from that move more like you'd expect (I think).

Let me know what you think!

01 January 2005, 12:08 AM
I tend to agree with the others on this one, the gravity looks a little off, still.. even though it is spider man, there is some what of a..lag? when the final jump and punch scene takes place..much like this guy --->:bounce:

i am amazed, however, by your use of many bipeds, and all of them having their own special movements, keep it up:)

01 January 2005, 03:36 PM
I like what you have done with this since I last checked it out. My only criticism is still the lack of realism in the blows.

That being said, I think it would help to have camera cuts and/or some creative zooms to help intensify the combat. I know that would come later, but it's one way I can tell you would help alot. I like the post and pre-air combo motion, but it seems like once they go into the air it get strange.

hope I'm not being to hard, but I am a big fighting game afficianado and a bigger fan of action I want to see this be awesome. ^^

keep it up though, this has come a long way from that 1st clip!!!

01 January 2005, 02:59 AM
Just stumbled on this post. Thought I'd put in my two cents.

In going what KDX said.. I agree that the camera is too static and lifeless. You have some good moves going on, but it doesn't have hardly the impact that it can have with some more dynamics to the camera. Take a look at the spiderman movies as reference. Or any good fighting flick.. maybe a John Woo flick.

Secondly, my suggestion is get rid of that motion trail with the kick and the little pops when he makes contact with his fists. That wacky move that he does punching the guy and following him up into the air is getting better from the first time, but may be a little difficult to swallow. Probably because of the first point with the camera. Maybe with a different shot you can sell it better.

There's a book called "How to draw the Marvel Way." It has a great section on framing and perspective. Check that out if you get a chance.

Don't drop the ball either.. it is starting to look really cool. There are some nice fluid moves in there.. keep it going.


01 January 2005, 05:13 AM
Wow, thanks everyone for your awesome replies. I didn't realize this little piece would attract that much attention...but I'm glad it did.

neiyo - thanks for the encouragement. I agree that the lag is a little bit excessive at the end, when he's in the air, I can probably shave about a half second from his air-time.

-KDX- - Hey man, I agree about the camera cuts. Actually though, I'm doing this as sort of an informal test for an animation lead out here, and one of the things he was hating in my older work was all the shaky camera and camera cutting. I thought the best solution was the straight-on, minimal cam movement style. Maybe I can put together a version B.

clockwerz - thanks for the message. Actually, I have the Marvel Book, I love it! It was one of my first Art books ever. As far as the the air trails and impact animations, that was all put in there for the sake of my target audience... Imitation was encouraged for this piece, and those were part of the source material.

At any rate, thanks again to everyone for taking the time to comment on the work. It definitely helped. If I don't revisit the piece this coming weekend, I'll revisit it when I finish up RoboCop vs. ED-209...which I have pledged to finish this year.

01 January 2005, 08:17 AM
Hey, Kraeer, this is mighty cool!

Lots of improvement over the last page.

I generally don't agree with the gravity crits. It's only the last flying up that really breaks gravity, but that's obviously an intentional superhero thing. Except maybe when people land on their feet, the hip point should continue the down movement a bit longer, and their knees should bend, like the dampers on a car...

The spiderweb thing works really well! As do the comic book "punch" effects.

It's true the camera work can be made more interesting, but I think it's very clever to take an approach where the animation is doing the work, and the camera isn't doing much. So if you make the camera more action-ish, don't overdo it.

It's kinda like modern martial arts movies vs. Jackie Chan's old movies.

In modern action movies, they whip the camera in there with the fighters, SHAKE it all around, and edit it like an MTV video on crack. And in the end, no-one knows what's going on, no matter how good the fight choreography is (watch The Musketeer or the opening battle in Gladiator..... ugh!!)

Wheres as the choreorgaphy in Jackie Chan's old movies is beauuuuutiful, because the camera keeps distance to the fighters, so we can always see who's doing what, where the baddies are, and what kind of fight moves they're doing. And the editing is calm and non-confusing.

It's perfectly OK to cut a lot in a fight scene (fast cutting indicates action), but make sure the eye can easily pick up movement from one shot to the next, so the viewer doesn't think about the cutting so much. :)

- Jonas

Looking forward to see progress on this as well as the ED-209!

01 January 2005, 05:06 PM
Hey thanks Jonas. Yeah, the camera thing is something I've thought about quite a bit. Even before hearing it from the lead animator I've been talking to (via my go-between. sheesh), I was all about letting the animation do the work. I'm not an editor, I'm an animator! Right?

RoboCop is the only piece with cuts that I've ever done really, and I'm only using them there because they're from the movie.

As far as the hip movement when people land, I will take care of that when I work on the other suggestions. I know exactly where you're coming from, they need to go down just a smidge more.

I might take an hour this weekend to step through these changes and then post an update, before returning to Robo.

Thanks for checking it out!

01 January 2005, 09:55 PM
Whoa, how did I miss this? Hey Kevin, how's it going? Using CS & 3D Studio MAX now, eh? Besides the "gravity problem" people are mentioning - with which I agree (perhaps simply consider having "Spider-man" up in the for less time) - the only other thing I can see is the end, pound-to-the-ground move.

When Spider-man holsters up his enemy and jumps up w/ him in the air, Spider-man is on the right, and the baddie to the left. Well, when they land, Spider-man flips and rotates himself and his enemy so fast, that at the end, Spider-man appears on the LEFT. When watching it in real-time, it looks like a jump-cut. Perhaps it is also due to the "POW" f/x you added in there.

Good job otherwise, however!

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