View Full Version : Exploring Middle Earth - In the dark - Milho

01 January 2003, 04:12 PM
Can't miss this one. Well i have more than a week and know more nice things about rigging and animation so this might get better than my old s****y doggie ;)

Here's my basic idea:
A guy running with a flare and a sword around a corner towards the camera.
His eyes look backwards indicating that he is followed by some bad guys.
Because of this he falls down, quickly stands up and takes the flare again.
He looks back and moves on slower, believing that the followers stoped their pursuit.
Then he turns his look to the front (towards the camera) and stoppes shocked.
he looks up what means that he sees a veeery big creature (which can't be seen because of low budget ;) ) and lets the flare falling down what completely darkens the scene.

Storyboard following.


01 January 2003, 07:57 PM
here a wip of the head. The maincharacter will be an elf. i used an old head wip as basis modeled the ear added some hair and tweaked a bit.

Since we are allowed to use morphs and my shot has lot a mimic (shocked pain....) this ll be nice to try some morphs.
but making it highpoly would be probably missed since it could amuse from animation and i had to do a detailed highpoly body which would look odd with segments.

So that will be the style of rendering, plane facets.

Frank Dodd
01 January 2003, 08:12 PM
Hi Milho,

The basic geometry for the head looks very sound, it will be nice to see it in smoothed mode too to pick out where detail needs to be added. The ear also looks good but we need a much higher resoloution picture to see the fine detail.

It looks like an excelent base for the model though and I'm sure you'll get a great image out of it. Is the image going to be based on the mini story at the top?

01 January 2003, 08:38 PM
Hi Frank,
Actually I won't change the head much and even the rendering will be this "odd". But don't worry I'm not insane, it's just that this character is for the animation challenge so animation will be most important not the model. That is why i posted the story above. It'll be the animation at the end.

So there probalby won't be a smoothed version.

Nevertheless thanks for comment :thumbsup:

If you're still interested, here a early shot of the ear:

Frank Dodd
01 January 2003, 05:58 PM
That's better :) yep it looks great m8 there is a lot of detail in there and its very well formed. Nicely done. Any change of a shot of the face?

01 January 2003, 03:53 AM
Good story. The shock & surprise will be a good spot for blend shapes/morphs. Looking forward to seeing more.

01 January 2003, 04:44 PM
I did some concept sketches in school (history lessons were boring again :D ) and thought of posting them. Afterall it's a WIP challenge

Sorry about the checkered paper.


01 January 2003, 09:20 AM
Well. The robe, hair and torso are not segmented yet. And it's not welded. But that's his look anyway.
Like said above the face is much more detailed because i'll do some mimics.

c & c welcome.
10 in the morning hm....i'll go and take a nap


01 January 2003, 09:36 AM
Impressive to see your skills advancing that fast. Your scribbles look very decent already IMHO. I'm especially interested in seeing your Elb striking the first moves. BTW, maybe I can help out with a "monster" (see the attached image ;-)

Best regards...


Frank Dodd
01 January 2003, 11:05 AM
Hi Milho,

I appreciate that you haven't welded the limbs together so I won't mention the seams. The first thing that strikes me is the characters shins, they definitely look too short to me and need lengthening or the knee position needs adjusting.

The form of the character looks great and the basic geometry is there but the torso and the arms need more detail they are too flat at the moment.

What kind of accessories is the guy going to be wearing? He looks like a bit of a princly guy that would carry a light sword and perhaps jewelry to air his status.

Good developments though, its going in the right direction!

01 January 2003, 09:12 PM
lol, i will keep your character in mind, but i haven't planned a monster in my story. But maybe you should try at WETA for LOTR3. Who knows, maybe Gollum had a stoned brother :D

Thanks. I will play with the smoothing groups but i don't want to detail the model. Remember, it's all about animation, actually i could have done it with some boxes and spheres but i don't like abstract characters :)
The shins: Maybe they look to short because you can hardly see the knees. I'll try to make the knees more defined or make the shins longer. Thx.
accessories: Yeah a short sword would fit his character. that makes also a good pic, the dark cave, a torch and a short knife.

01 January 2003, 11:18 PM
The Modeling Stage is almost done.
Decided to use smoothing groups.
Segmented all stuff.
Lenghten the shins :)

Let's start rigging


color changed. away from comic to sth more decent

01 January 2003, 03:20 AM
Lookin nice:buttrock:
How are u going to animate the cape?

01 January 2003, 04:01 PM
Thx srv,
The cape is really a problem if all geometry must be segmented.
I played around a bit and decided to use a rather simple IK chain.

I'll use small segments and link every single to a bone chain with ik. The IK Goal is linked to a bone chain at the bottom with IK.

To reduce leaks i copied the whole stuff and made a shifted second row behind it.

Now by controlling the parent bone and IK GOAL of the bone chain at the bottom i get a pretty fluid animation which reminds of cloth.

To visualize this i made a lil vid with the test scene:
Robe Rig Test (DivX 5.02 - 459 kb) (

What do you think? :shrug:

01 January 2003, 04:22 PM

are we allowed to use motion designer at all? I know that simulation isnt technically a true form of animation, but it looks good..

paul sinclair

01 January 2003, 04:37 PM
I think you should ask here:

Segmental Geometry is a pain for cloth objects. But Attaching a vertex to a bone and not the segmented object would be against the challenge rules.
So i made this rig. You could use scripts instead or any other method as long as the geometry keeps segmented.
I don't know how about the bendshapes & morphs are allowed issue in this challange. I believe it is focused on facial animation mainly but you can't be sure if you don't ask at the place above.

Frank Dodd
01 January 2003, 05:37 PM
Hi Milho,

I think the cape animation looks very intresting and that it appears to be a clever way of animating the cape when you don't have cloth simulation, I think when the bottom skeleton waves about as if it has a sin wave running through it, it might end up being pretty convincing. Nice imaginative way to solve the problem.

Have you rigged the character yet?

01 January 2003, 12:32 AM
Thanks frank, the Idea with the sin curve attached to the robe motion works great.

So the elements finally get together.
I decided to use CS for rigging. I want to concentrate on animation and the special rigs of the props, so CS is the best and easiest choice. :)
Here a crappy test animation with facial expression:
Rig Test (DivX5.0.2 -156kb) (

I created a scene and lighting setup for the character. I wanted the scene to apear very dark and scary. But still the character must be good visible so i decided to exclude the walls of the backlight so the scene apears to be lit only by the torch (the elf will carry in his left hand) and a frontal light. :)

The torch will cast shadows so we got a nice shadow play on the walls and ground. Because the light distance of the torch is limited it wont get to messy. :)
At the end of the story the elf is near to the cam and sees the (not visible) monster. This will have a nice atmosphere with a flicker in the torch i hope. :)

Next i need a solution for the torch.
Then i think i have all elements ready and can start with the most important, the animation :)

(smiley after each paragraph (C) by j. schleifer ;) )

01 January 2003, 05:28 PM
Victory :buttrock:
the rig i invented for the torch works fine.

The only thing to animate is the Pointer, the flame follows on it's own.
Torch Rig Test (500kb - DivX 5.0.2) (

Here how it works. The Flame is segmented geometry linked to a bonestructure with two IK GOALs. These GOALs have their own position controllers and additionally a script controller which gives them the postion of the base bone with a delay of 5 frames for the middle IK GOAL and 10 frames for the uppder IK. So the IKs are allways a few frames behind. if the torch doesn't move for the delay the bone doesn't move as well. Additionally the flame allways heads up automatically.
It maybe nothing big but i love it. Rigging reminds me of thinking how to programm.
Next step is to ad a sin curve to the positions or a noise controller to make it move in wave like a flame.


01 January 2003, 06:19 PM
added a "lightsource" in the middle and some wavemovement.

Final Torch Test (174kb - DivX 5.0.2) (

Frank Dodd
01 January 2003, 07:18 PM
Hi Milho,

Another very clever solution to the problem. What type of control object is that controling the mesh of the torch? it looks like some kind of tracking joint on a skeleton!?

01 January 2003, 11:34 PM
Thanks Fred. The box is just a helper. Not renderable and only for positioning.

Wanted to point to a thread with the detailed description of the torch rig HERE (

You can watch an environment test if you like. Thats how it will look. I like it :) The animation is just the test animation and yes the torch is just flying ;P

Environment Test (87 kb - DivX 5.0.2) (

02 February 2003, 05:24 PM
Oki. New Stuff. I changed the plot slightly. It was too boring .
Now we got more "Aktschen" :bounce:

I added two GOBLINS who follow our hero.

Here the previz shot for the timing. The last three seconds will be spend on a funny end. you can try to guess how it will end. i don't say a word :rolleyes:

Elf vs 2 Goblins Previz Shot (DivX 5.0.2 - 404kb) (


02 February 2003, 02:43 AM
I would advise against using motion designer or some sort of motion capture, unless you are using your own animation form another scene and you are just transfering it for a base to speed up production. This is a challange to start form scratch so I believe you really are not supose to use anything involving motion designer or motion capture. In short do it all yourself.

Preston Hansmeier

02 February 2003, 04:13 AM
I was confused what you are talking about. Then I realized that you comment on paul sinclair. Well I don't like seeing the "Issue resolved" moving to my thread. So please use this thread for following discussion on rules:
Issue resolved here (


Frank Dodd
02 February 2003, 02:21 PM
The animation preview looks good Milho, it will be intresting to see how you handle the main character falling over, that is quite a complex movement. The movement of the goblins look good as the crawl about and hop over one another.

02 February 2003, 12:13 AM
I made a new avatar :wip:

I started with the animation.
here a rough pose to pose gif:

BTW i also finished modeling the goblin/creatures head. That was fun :)

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