View Full Version : Animation Critique:DIALTONE

10 October 2005, 08:31 PM (

I really, really appreicate some serious critique on the animation of this character.

Thanks in advance


I also hope more people submit their work, it just seems that the forum has become a tech support/request instead of software specific renders and animation.

10 October 2005, 09:41 PM

It looks like a lot of work went into it. Thats for sure.

The little phone dancing dudes in the background kind of look like they are going to fall over. And the guy playing the piano looks like he is punching the keys instead of playing them. The animation at this point looks kind of roughed in.

Its a fun idea though.

10 October 2005, 09:54 PM
umm the girl main character .. thats what I need to get some critique on.

The other guys are just place holders to capture the mood.

10 October 2005, 09:58 PM
Definately a first-pass rough-in. My suggestions:

Exaggerate the lip-sync on the girl, maybe add squash-and-stretch to the head
Losen up the background dancers
Tone down the colors, at least at this stage until you're happy with the animation and are ready to render.

Otherwise it's an impressive undertaking!

10 October 2005, 11:42 PM
Looking good, but it's hard to see some of the nicer animation you've done because a bit too subtle. I would try to make her key poses clearer and more obvious. (except for the head banging at the start!)

Much of the movement of the left arm is being lost because most of the getsures are taking place in front of her body, so we lose the silhouette.

I think the hand on the microphone stand needs to be kept in one place, repositioning the hand on the stand is usually very deliberate, and not, suggestive. ;-)

Hope this helps!?

10 October 2005, 02:18 PM
Hi Julez!

Take away all temporary animation on the background characters, now it just look strange and un proffesional. You can really enhance this animation by stronger poses and better stageing.
If you don't know about stageing and thinking of poses in siluettes, then now is the time to read all about it! I really recommend you to buy "The animators survival kit" or "The illusion of light".
Here is some tips from me:
Don't hide her face!

Hope it helped!
/ Svante

10 October 2005, 02:56 PM
the limbs of all characters are a bit stiff too. Kind of robotic if you get my drift. Try offsetting the movements of the limbs from the rest of the body. sometimes the body follows the limbs and sometimes the limbs follow the body. also her right arm is extended and elbow locked the entire time, thats a bit unnatural and gives it a stiff feeling.

also it needs some secondary animation, like the dress for example.

10 October 2005, 03:52 PM
Here are the things that stood out to me:

The hand sliding up and down the mic stand should be eliminated. The singer's arm stays unbent the entire time which is pretty unnatural.
The singer's eyes are as wide open as saucers almost the entire time. The eyelids should open and close and her brow should change shape along with her singing to convey emotion. Her last, close-eyed expression is really excellent and her face should be just as expressive during the rest of her singing as well.
The singer's movement is pretty stiff right now. It would be nice to see a bit more sway in her spine and hips as she moves to the music. Plus, the little side-to-side her head does at the end is great, but it looks unnatural at the moment because the rest of her body is completely still. At least her shoulders should move a little bit.
Looking good and I can't wait to see what you come up with after all of our suggestions.

10 October 2005, 04:36 PM
Thanks Guys....
Defintiely the feedback I needed.

( svintaj ( great picture breakdown. a pictur eis truly a 1000 words.)

I had people (professional animators) telling the animation was a little off but would't explain more than their bad impression of it.

The feedback you guys just gave is a real inspiration boost to get back in and fix those problem areas. Yes I have both books and I am going back over those sections/chapters.
I definitely need to have them prop open for personal review.

Just like with the situp animation, I am having a heck of the problem with IK arms.
I can't seem to get the hand to lock down when I pull the body away without some unattentional reaction.
Do anyone use 'moveto" cocnstraints in their Arm IK. The arm going up and down are almost automatic. I am going to have to hand animate the mike to counter balance her to it.

THANKS AGAIN and "Feel Free" to poor more into guys.....
I also implore any other messiah animators to post your animations. this is what this group is about.

10 October 2005, 04:42 PM
i use moveto to snap the arm effectors to control nulls. i also use align to control the rotation but sometimes turn that off. If i were to animate the scene, i would parent the control null to the mike.

OR you can use IK to aim the mike at the hand. whatever is more natural for you.

10 October 2005, 04:50 PM
Is the lipsync off. I was thinking that her morphs were trailing the audio and was going to move them 2 frames earlier. What do you guys think?

Stooch, yeah I got the Ik handle parented to a placement null that is constrain to the mike.

I think that it may be pushing the microphone ........

10 October 2005, 06:07 PM
Leave the lipsync for now, and just focus on the overall animation.

/ Svante

10 October 2005, 02:59 AM
Okay. Update.

I dropped the saturation of the background to seperate her.

Note: Working on another Microphone rig, when I started to bend her right arm, the mike starts to fly away so disregard that.

What I did is add in two more poses with bending forward and also she has a strong pull on "when they turn off your phone". I just tried to give a lttle bit mor energy through out. Working her shoulders a little at the end. I want your thoughts on the energy factor, if it works for you or not let em know and I'll continue in that direction.

10 October 2005, 03:59 PM
There are some definite improvements to this update. I really like the step forward she takes as she begins to sing, it's very effective. Most of the new facial expressions and arm movements work as well. Here are the things I notice:

In the beginning when she is moving with the beat her timing gets off (speed up) right before she steps forward and starts singing.
The swing she makes during the "and they turn off your phone" line isn't quite right. It's hard to tell exactly what she's trying to it's an ambiguous movement. Does that make sense?

10 October 2005, 06:53 PM
i really like the head movement when she starts mmmming at the end, although i could see more oscillations to sync up better with each mmm. the mike arm needs som bendage and rock that ass side to side a bit too.

10 October 2005, 07:49 PM
I personally would have her leave the mic completely alone except maybe for one pose or jesture possibly at the end. Right now she is using it in every jesture which is distracting. Also there are too many jestures. I would really study alot of Motown reference (Tina Turner supremes ect) and pick out a few really nice poses and work on selling those. Also the eyes open real wide arent making the character real appealing.

10 October 2005, 06:19 AM
I know you're getting a million of pieces of information to digest but here's another one.

At the moment she's a bit 'floaty'. By this I mean there's some un-necessary movement between poses where limbs drift.
She's also a bit weightless, remember we all have to shift these bodies around and clearly showing weight helps sell the movement.

Try to eliminate all the movement which doesn't contribute to the pose and the performance.

Ideally you'd want to block in your basic timing and poses *then* start to add the detail.
That way you can stop before you get too many things going on and it allows for easier changes in progress.

10 October 2005, 01:29 PM

Okay. Moves some more hips.

"turn off yor phone" I am going for Yanking the phone lineout of the wall.
So I reposition her at the initial start so she is bent towards the camera. and shifts her hips at the height of the yank.

Lil' more head movement.

10 October 2005, 02:25 PM
her right arm...must bend...

10 October 2005, 08:34 PM
Yes move that arm, you may have to redo the rig, it seems to be the problem.
You are still covering her face behind the mike, dont do that!!
And I like to see the mike move some on the floor, now it looks like it is nailed to the floor.
She is dancing less stiff now, so keep workin like that.

/ Svante

10 October 2005, 11:50 PM
Hey Julez,

looking at the latest version I still think you're trying to do too much.

With all the movement you have going on you've "muddied" the poses you're trying to hit.

Try breaking the animation into a series of strong poses and hold them with minimal movement before moving to the next one.

I usually work by gettting the timing right with hip positions and basic poses. Then add torso and head movement before working my way out to the extremeties.

I'll pose any limbs early on only when it helps define a critical pose.

This way you get the basics right and a good idea of timing and if you need to make changes it's not the end of the world.

10 October 2005, 01:04 AM
Hey Julez,

looking at the latest version I still think you're trying to do too much.

With all the movement you have going on you've "muddied" the poses you're trying to hit.

Try breaking the animation into a series of strong poses and hold them with minimal movement before moving to the next one.

Thanks Gnome.
I set my poses all in stepped mode whenI started this.
Its far gone than that point. I think the muddleness is there porbably because she is suppose to be slightly dancing. Guess i am in the middle of "dancingless stiff" and big fat pool of muddliness.

Stooch, until I redo the right arm IK rig , that part of the animation is gonna be last.
I mention it earlier in my replies.

Well going in to rip some stuff out.

10 October 2005, 02:28 AM
Good luck Julez,

You've picked a hard one, dancing is pretty difficult to get right!

Look forward to the next update.

10 October 2005, 02:30 AM
Good luck Julez,

You've picked a hard one, dancing is pretty difficult to get right!

Look forward to the next update.

I tend to always do.....

10 October 2005, 09:59 AM
Guess i am in the middle of "dancingless stiff" and big fat pool of muddliness.
Honest criticism can be hard, but it is the best way to enhance your abilities! :thumbsup:

/ Svante

10 October 2005, 01:12 PM
I wouldn't want to have any other way.

I am going to rework the arm rig and animate from an older scene and and jusr rip out some of the animation between the finger pointing and the end.

10 October 2005, 01:38 PM

Used an older scene and rework the right arm rig BUT its still in process.
toying with the idea of the microphone bending.

"cut you back on " is more exaggerated than before.
I added a little more to each parts. Gimme your thoughts -- not finish.

10 October 2005, 04:03 PM
hmm, i dont think the mike should bend. it looks weird.

10 October 2005, 02:46 AM
I can only see the first part of it until she sings "and they turn off your phone".

I just want to take you through a specific example that might help you do what you need to.

Just looking at the left hand when she sings: "when times get tough". She makes a nice gesture away from the face, then the hand 'floats' down toward her waist before moving across her body then cutting back for "and they turn off your phone".

What you need to look at is eliminating the 'float' between those gestures.

When her hand pivots away from her face, simply hold it there until you're ready to push it across her body then cut back.

I guess what I'm saying is when you animate, only make the gestures and postures necessary to tell the story, it's fine to hold a pose for as long as you need because alot of extra movement 'steals the message' of the poses you want your viewer to read.

Extra movement should take the form of anticipation and follow through, both of which support the clear pose you're trying to make.

Sorry about the lecture!

10 October 2005, 03:23 AM
Try it now and don't worry, lecture as much as you want.

10 October 2005, 01:57 PM
Finally got a look at the whole thing.

It *is* improving.

There are some nice things happening. eg. when she hums toward the end the facial expression is spot on.

Keep on plugging away!

10 October 2005, 12:29 PM
Alright new one
Right arm - better defined 75% done.
Arm now has bend.
Lip Synch is better (in AE, the audio was moved 4 frames ahead by acccident)
New Facial morphs.

Shifting more weight.
Added two holds at the beginning to Gnome request and yes it looks beter in my opinion.

10 October 2005, 11:24 PM
Keep going with it Julez.

Keep isolating and economising movement. See how little body movement you can use to say what you want the character to say.

Remember to start you movement in the main body mass and finish them out at the end of the limbs.

Good luck!

10 October 2005, 11:37 PM
Did you render your anim with Messiah or Lightwave ?

It is better and better. Good job


10 October 2005, 12:38 AM
make sure you never move the mike far enough to fully lock the elbow, im noticing the arm snapping and stretching during certain extreme mike movements. You want to avoid that by watching the elbow and playing with curves to prevent the elbow lock. its very jarring and unnatural and draws attention. huge improvement though, the animation is much more stable and fluid.

also, the left arm is moving unnaturally during the zoom when she is bobbing back and forth, you want to stabilize it and keep it in control, maybe slightly trailing the movements of the body but at a much lesser amplitude.

10 October 2005, 01:46 AM
make sure you never move the mike far enough to fully lock the elbow, im noticing the arm snapping and stretching during certain extreme mike movements. You want to avoid that by watching the elbow and playing with curves to prevent the elbow lock. its very jarring and unnatural and draws attention. huge improvement though, the animation is much more stable and fluid.

The stretching of the arm was on purpose as to give a more toony look and snap with she pulls out and back. I'll bring her arm in to compensate for the movement if it looks un-toony.

I'll fix the arm in the zoom, haven't touch it really in the entire process.

Rendered in Lightwave. Data via Pointoven Pro. SuperBlender for lipsynch. AE for compositing.

Glad you guys are liking it.
I will start a refinement pass for this section and then I will work on the next block which I think I will start a new thread on with the dancers section.

Gnome, I tried doing more moving holds but she is dancing and singing and I tried to do more snaps to help get rid of the floatingness. Could you be more specific and I did lead with her arms in the "turn off your phone" and "cut you back on".

11 November 2005, 01:35 AM
Dancing section

This part comes after "emmm- hhhhmmmmm" part.
Designed to loop.

11 November 2005, 04:46 AM
looks great but watch those feet! they are sliding around a circle, you should always have one stationary foot that is acting as a pivot! it would really add to the animation. a bit of a squat might help too as they go around, to show the weight shifting better.

11 November 2005, 11:16 PM
Looking good Julez,

My only real crit would be to either nail the feet down o the spin or get them up on their toes for the spin(not tip toe, just the joint)
It should look more natural that way.

Sorry I haven't gotten back on the other anim, been hip deep in a short film.

11 November 2005, 11:31 PM
I agree with EvilGnome. The spin is impossible. They need to spin around with one foot as the pivot. You have both feet moving. This would be possible on ice skates or roller skates but not on foot. Also, try to add some weight to the side thrust right before the spin.


11 November 2005, 11:32 PM
I agree with EvilGnome.

lol but not with me?

11 November 2005, 04:39 AM
lol but not with me?:scream: Sorry, I intended to mention both of you but then I got distracted by a mail delivery and when I got back to writing I forgot.


11 November 2005, 01:57 PM
this one doesn't loop but I tried making the snapping harder and also add a little more attention to going into and out of the spin.
The weight shifts onthe right leg as well, at more clearly with an animated pivot to compensate for the center of gravity. (

11 November 2005, 03:05 PM
hmm it looks better but there is a feeling of acceleration and deceleration rather then a smooth, fluid spin.

11 November 2005, 07:57 PM
It's looking better but the pivot foot still moves, though less than before. It needs to rotate around the heel or toe, the latter would be best. Also the speed of the rotation is off. It can't really accelerate like that; it would be constant. And it needs to have some weight.

11 November 2005, 12:47 AM

This one should have a locked down pivot of the foot but the accelerated spin is on purpose to go with the power of the music.

11 November 2005, 01:13 AM
The pivot leg is tilting in an impossible angle and should remain perpendicular. The acceleration you're attempting to incorporate only occurs in real life if you are able to pull an extended limb in toward the body after the initial spin occurs. i.e. look at how an ice skater spins and accelerates their spin by pulling in an arm or leg or a combination.

I'd also recommend checking out Jason Schleiffer's fast animation rigging video for Maya as it has a couple of really good tutes on blocking and more.


01 January 2006, 07:00 PM
I'll start to update this thread with new animation as wel and try to keep the forum more about projects than helpdesk.

01 January 2006, 11:17 PM
It's improving Julez.

The spin is still a bit off. You might be better off keeping their arms behind their backs until they're facing front again. The extra arm movement before the spin finishes makes it look unbalanced.
Most dancing I can recall holds a pose(or has very limited movement) during a spin then snaps to a new pose at the end of the spin to punctuate it. Even cartoony spins do this to keep the movement "clean".
Though we might see a move toward the pose as the spin finishes then a new pose when the dancer stops.

Remember to also start you moves at the COG and work your way out to the extrmeities.

Keep pummeling it, you'll get there!

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