View Full Version : Exploring Middle Earth - Death Scene - sinbad

01 January 2003, 03:52 PM
Hi, I only registered a few days ago, this site is fantastic!
Anyways.... I'm going to have a go at the death scene challenge.
Here is my idea...

A (human) female warrior is on her knees amidst a scene of carnage (a fierce battle has just taken place.) She is the only survivor but is mortally wounded. Filled with dispair and pain, she staggers around the scene before collapsing dead.
This sounds pretty grim, but I want to try something subtle instead of the usual action and extreme poses. I want to get across a feeling of anguish. Is this possible in 15 seconds?
This is probably going to be difficult without music to set a mood.... has anyone else tried something similar?

By the way, I'm using LightWave and a hybrid rig concept from tim albee's book and the 3d buzz leg setup. I shall have a storyboard up as soon as I've got some feedback for my idea.

see development here {please note - I ended up using a segmented character, not the one displayed - although It conveniently links to my website, he he}


01 January 2003, 02:13 PM
Na, you don't have to drop a piano on her. Maybe you could have one fall on her from nowhere after she's dead. :)

Welcome aboard. The death scene could be a tough thing to pull off. Showing the emotions will be tough.

Also, the character on the website in you link doesn't appear to be segmented. Just thought I'd mention that to prevent you from having to do alot of unneccesary work in setup.....

01 January 2003, 02:40 PM
Yeah, I was wondering what segmented meant (ok I'm new!), does it mean having seperate body parts each with their own pivot point?
If this is the case, then I shall have to cut the lady up or build a simple version of her... best get to work!

I have now added a simple storyboard (don't laugh)

01 January 2003, 11:05 AM
Hey guys i did a render of the segmented character. Is this ok to use in the contest!

Tell us what you think!


01 January 2003, 04:08 PM
That should work.

01 January 2003, 01:40 PM
Hi everyone.....

I have now roughed out an animation... it's a DivX avi, which you can download from I know theres a lot of tweaking to do.....(like she looks like she's been punched) but I thought I would see what people thought so far.



01 January 2003, 08:40 AM

I just saw your new animation. It's very dramatic if you have in mind that there's still a battle around her. I think the should react more to it. She could try to shield her eyes or she could take a last effort to attack. Just my thoughts:)


01 January 2003, 03:43 PM
I just had a look at the animation its coming along nicely, when the scene first starts I would imagine her to be in a lot of pain with the wound that she is holding, because of that i think the sword would have out in front stuck in the ground and used as something she could put her weight onto when rising, then she would have an agonising pull to release it from the dirt before stumbling forward.

Just a thought :thumbsup:


01 January 2003, 08:05 PM
Nice start.

A couple things:

I think it would be cool if you had her use the sword as a means of leverage when she gets up since she is obviously wounded and her body's energy is being depleted on her pain.

I realize this is still early on but make sure you take into consideration the shifting of her weight. When she gets up and staggers forward her upper body seems to be traveling along one axis moving a bit independently of her legs.

02 February 2003, 10:48 AM
Here is a new version of my death scene, theres a few small errors which I only spotted after the render, however there's still a few weeks left. Any suggestions of comments please...

this is a divX avi.

Thanks guys!

Paul Sinclair

02 February 2003, 07:10 AM
Heya Paul!

Got a chance to give some crits.. woo hoo! :)

It's coming along much better.. but there are a number of things you can do to really help push the emotion..

when she's lifting her head the first time, it's going pretty quick.. she's exhausted and about to die.. have her breathing really heavy before she lifts her head.. and make sure she doesn't lift her head up straight unless it's just a quick glance.. she has to focus first on her pain. If you want her to have the defiant "I'm not beaten" thing, make sure to really show the pain first.. and the slowly lift the head and hold her chin forward.. strong.

It's starting to feel nice when she's pushing up.. you can feel that. Add some wobble in which will help, and also use her shoulders and hips.. tilt them if you need to to help sell it.

On the step, you should really feel the pain.. her right leg goes too straight and it doesn't feel unsteady. Try it yourself a few times with a broom or something you can lean on.. Remember.. this is her FIRST step forward.. she's trying to recover from a painful injury.. it's gotta be weak..

also, try keeping her looking back towards the enemy on her nex step a little longer... it might help a bit

Try and include the wincing a bit on each step, and REALLY feel it on the one where you've got it now. Have it go into the body.. arch her back a little.. really make that one sell..

When the arrows hit, she needs to react the moment they hit her.. she doesn't need to fall and die, but if you were tagged by an arrow moving that fast, no matter how strong and valiant you are, some of the energy is now being transfered to yoru body. Show the reaction.

does she fall over because of the last arrow, or because she has no more life in her? If it's from the second arrow, she needs to fall earlier and faster.. if she's drained of life, then it would help to not have her fall exactly the same direction the arrow was coming, becasue this just makes it look like the death is a few frames late..

hope that was helpful! it's really coming along well for such an early effort!


02 February 2003, 03:45 PM
Hi Jason,

Thankyou so much for taking the time to crit my stuff, I shall implement your suggestions as soon as I get home! (My poor wife thinks I'm welded to my computer.... she doesn't exactly share my enthusiasm for 3d)

Anyway, John Lee and myself are trying to get tickets for Copenhagen. We've decided to take a laptop with us to show our avi's... well you know, you've got to try. I did some 2d animation yeaterday (on Paper!) and I got confused because I could'nt find the pitch rotation on my pencil. (..although I'ts kind of refreshing to have direct control over an image)

I've a quick question...We use Lightwave at the university (we also have 2 xsi3 seats now, although nobody knows how to use it- typical). John Lee, Darren Rodriguez and I want to do character animation when we're big, but of course we're worried about having to learn the other major apps. Should we concentrate on character performance using our current software, of should we face the music and start with Maya etc. but spend ages learning where the buttons are?

Enough waffle now, thanks again and look out for my next clip.

Paul Sinclair

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 04:36 PM
That's a good question, and I don't think there's a wrong answer but I'll tell ya what I ended up doing. I stuck with the program I felt most comfortable, which was XSI... Till I got a good grasp of the fundamentals of animation.. Then as time went by I picked up other programs and it seemed easier for me to migrate between them, because I understood the principles..
Might not be the best bet for everyone, but it worked for me.:)

02 February 2003, 04:01 PM
Hi again, I've made some adjustments and have come up with the following... (DivX654k)

There are still things I need to tweak this weekend, but let me know what you think so far.

Thanks again,


02 February 2003, 05:07 PM
That looks alot better. The one thing that sticks out at me is the way the character falls in the end. I think you could speed it up a bit because it appears that she is a little slow to the ground. It is mainly the issue of wieght.:airguitar

02 February 2003, 11:34 PM
Heya Paul!

tough question.. but the way I see it, it takes 10-30 years to master animation.. 1-6 months to be able to use a software package comfortably.. focus on animation first, as that's the harder of the two. :)

The animation is coming along wel, but there are still some things which are standing out. I agree with bishop on the ending.. it's too slow. You almost don't see the arrows hitting her. You have a couple of choices with the end.. if you want the shock of the arrows hitting her to read, have her react physically by taking the hit, staggering back once, then have her fall and die, or if it's just a pure BAM! she's dead, she needs to fall back a LOT faster.. arrow hits and she goes OOF-DOWN!

Also, when she's getting up you're doing much better selling it, but try and put some movement into her arm when she uses the sword to lift up. the sword point is now the pivot she's using to push herself up. No matter how firmly planted in the ground it is, she weighs a LOT more than the sword.. so her action of pushing/pulling herself up is going to cause the end of the sword to move.

Around frame 10 or 12, she starts moving over to screen left.. continue her downwad motion a little bit here so as to help sell the breath.

Something else that might help, is instead of her lifting the sword up and planting it, she should drag it to the spot where it's planted.. a sword is a heavy object, and in her condition, she probably can't lift it that easily.

the first lift up is good.. you can feel the weight. add more tension in the arm that is holding the sword tho..

again, focus on each action you have her doing, and then try it yourself. REALLY feel the pain that she's feeling.. for example, with her moving from the kneeing position to her right foot being on the ground, you may find that you need to really rock her body forward to get the momentum to move the foot, but then she almost has to collapse back down once the foot is on the ground..

keep goin! :)


02 February 2003, 11:50 PM
Re: Jschleifer.

What!? Are you really the Animation Lead at Weta Digital? The guys that made the Lord of the Rings? Wow! You guys made my dreams come true in the Two Towers - Gandalf vrs Balrog was the part I was really waiting for. A true moment in cinema history!

Re: Sinbad.

Funny, I watched "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger" this morning! Sorry, but I can't view your animation. The DIVX or whatever error keeps popping up...still by the sounds of things, I think you're in good hands.:cool:

I was going to suggest a duel-scene rather than a full-blown battle scene. Just a thought...:shrug:

02 February 2003, 12:46 PM
Thanks Jason!

Its really cool for you to help in this way, thankyou.
Well I knew I had to speed up the fall, so I fixed it this weekend.

I only saw your crit today though, so I will go back and try to make ammendments this week. In the meantime here's an little update. (591kb)

I'll post a further update soon based on your comments.



02 February 2003, 01:30 PM
Ok everyone, here are is my final entry for the challenge.

DivX 659kb

Quicktime Sorensson 1.69 mb

As a final word, I have really enjoyed my first challenge, especially with the first class crits from Jason, I feel very lucky indeed. I had a few problems with the segmented rig, and could have maybe done a better job with a good setup. Nevertheless, I feel positive I have made improvements, and look forward to the next challenge.

Thanks everyone.


03 March 2003, 07:33 PM
Hi Paul....Femi here...nice animation...I like the maquete look! thing though...her fall could have a bit more "UMMPH" in it to emphasis the impact....Good though...Take care and keep it up!:wavey:

03 March 2003, 09:30 PM
Re: Sinbad.

Just seen the QuickTime animation and I think its great. Well done:thumbsup:

03 March 2003, 07:49 PM
Thanks Femi, I appreciate your comments. How are things at Digi-guys? I heard you guys were doing well.

I'm still stuck at UL, however I aim to get out of here by the Summer. I've got some paid XSI training coming up at surrey institute, and will be going to copenhagen in may.
Its pretty tough man, but the determined will prevail.

Its good to hear from you.


CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 05:02 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.