View Full Version : Exploring Middle Earth - Elven Dexterity - pixelKeg

01 January 2003, 05:09 AM
Hi there, I've come up with an idea for this month's challenge and I'd like to give it a shot. Let me know what you think, I can take any comments you have. :)

I'm updating this first post as I add material.


Animatic 550K

Storyboards(same as what's in the animatic)



Early Animation Test for the 10 Second Club

Evil Orc Dudes(quickly modeled)

Layout Animation, First Pass

Animation, Second Pass
-Small 300K

-Big 750K

More Animation Added (orc deaths, segmented model)

Swords Swords, we have swords!

Guess what, another update... The orcs are finally walking.

I hope you like! Let me know what you think.


01 January 2003, 05:17 PM
cool man. Now that makes three people doing Elven Dexterity.

Your idea is cool.

The only thing that sticks out at me is when the elf stabs the first guy (this may just be my perception from the storyboard) he then takes the victims sword and uses it to stab the guy behind him. Do you think that it would work better if the Elf stabs the first guy then removes a dagger from the bad guys side sheath and in on swift motion sends it back to the other bad guy killing him?

just a thought.

I wish you well.

01 January 2003, 10:32 PM
Yeah that reach for the sword is a little akward, and he's giving his back to the audience. I'll give your kife idea a try. Thanks for the comments!

I checked out your Elven Dexterity thread, the idea is really cool. Can't wait to see it!


01 January 2003, 10:35 PM
Story looks good. I agree with Bishop about using a knife from the first bad guy to kill the second. Looks like a really solid idea and a very fast paced animation. GET TO IT!

01 January 2003, 01:50 AM
Thanks man. ELVEN DEXTERITY!!!! :buttrock:

01 January 2003, 05:34 AM
I was hoping around online for a little reference and I came across these two sites that seemed pretty cool. One is animated .gifs of Legolas and they play pretty slow so it is perfect for studying and the second has downloadable .mpgs of this guy demonstrating the use of a modern bow with all it's gadgets and gizmos. The second link is OK but one thing about it I do not like is that the archer is really stiff unlike the clips with Legolas where you can see his body react to the shot.

ANyway I thought you could use the ref if you wanted.
I am going to post one on the other guys thread that is doing Elven Dexterity as well.

01 January 2003, 07:25 AM
Oops. I just realized you do not have any bow animation. Oh well. Maybe the links will come in handy some other time.

01 January 2003, 03:40 AM
Thanks Grayscale for the cool comments!

Thanks BishopLynx for the reference stuff. It's always good to have good reference handy!

01 January 2003, 03:59 AM
Okay, I just want to make an update before I go to sleep.

Here's the Elf character. I already modeled her, and it was really painful to cut the model into segments. :( I have some blendshape heads... blinks and eyebrows and stuff.



Evil Orc Dudes(quickly modeled)

Enjoy :)

01 January 2003, 04:13 AM
Okay, so I didn't go to sleep, but I will soon. :P

This is the first pass of animation, animated in Kaydara's Motionbuilder. The animation is using the pre-segmented model, but MB can retarget animation to the new characters later when I export the new one from Maya.

Any comments are welcome!
Good night. :)


01 January 2003, 02:52 PM
Good translation of the animatic. Looking forward to seeing the next passes.

Stephen Vyas
01 January 2003, 01:36 PM
I liked the idea that the elf grabbed the other guys sword and killed the character behind her. Shows Dexterity!
I was sitting here trying to think of a way that would work... How about once the elf stabs the orc in the back, the orc's weapon is tossed up in the air giving the elf the option to use her other hand to toss the weapon at the orc behind her while still having her dominate hand on her main weapon... That way there isn't a reach involved to take away his sword and there's no blocking to the camera.
Any good?


01 January 2003, 02:38 PM
Thanks for posting! Here's an update...

Small 300K

Big 750K

I wanted to wait until I had it more polished but then I realized that it's a WIP challenge, so I'll let it all hang out. :buttrock:

I'm really struggling with her feet. There's some fancy footwork going on, which is fine, but making the footfalls look right inside of that constrained space is a mission. Usually I'd animate moving across the screen straight ahead, but in the layout pass I defined some pretty set distances that I want the character to move. What strategies do you folks use in these situations?

-Stephen, good idea. I'm torn on the sword issue, mostly because I want her to be holding the blade of whatever it is as she throws it. So the sword would have to flip over in the air and she catches it by the blade, possibly cutting her fingers off and getting me in trouble with the Union, (just kidding), or she goes for the knife at the waist, gives it a quick toss in the air, catches it by the blade, and really gets her shoulder into it as she throws, which would look cooler with a sword since it's heavier.


01 January 2003, 02:57 PM
Oh yeah, Stephen, I forgot to say that I'm having her stab the first guy from a little bit behind him so both faces are to the audience. That's the theory at least. :)

02 February 2003, 12:16 PM
looking good Serg!!!


02 February 2003, 08:43 PM
i like your concept sergio it is very visually interesting.

:beer: :beer:

02 February 2003, 04:01 PM
Thanks guys!

An update is coming sooooon...


02 February 2003, 06:00 AM
Hi Everyone, I'm putting an update up finally, it's been really crazy lately and i wish I had the time to work on this more often. Anyway, here it is:

I added some Orc animation, as well as the segmented girl model for rules' sake. I managed to get the original girl's rig all twisted up, so I had to re-animate her. Now it has a couple of jerkies in there, but they can be fixed quickly.


02 February 2003, 07:20 PM
Another Update...

Swords Swords, we have swords!

This was a mission, managing all the parent/child constraints when she takes the sword away, doing the ol' visibility switcharoo when she throws the sword. Kinda cool to have one object pass through different hands, pretty fun to do...

**PLEASE*** give me some last minute feedback!

02 February 2003, 03:43 AM
Guess what, another update... The orcs are finally walking.

4... more... days... must.... finish...


02 February 2003, 06:55 AM
Well it's not perfect yet, but here is my final entry. This has been a BLAST, thanks for adding the animation challenges!


or try Sorenson3 at



Congratulations to everyone who has entered,


02 February 2003, 09:22 AM
Ok. Maybe I am doing something wrong but I get an error on both versions of the quicktime. Say that it is not a file that quicktime understands. :shrug:

It is not the sorenson 3 compression because others work as well. so...I do not know.



02 February 2003, 02:57 PM
Try this:

Hope it works. :)

or try Sorenson3 at



I tried to get the Sorenson fixed, but my computer seems to have issues with Quicktime. Funny that all the others worked...

02 February 2003, 05:01 PM
mpeg worked fine. Animation turned out pretty good. I like that you made the orcs large.

Congrats on finishing.

02 February 2003, 05:24 PM
Thanks man!

03 March 2003, 10:14 AM
How was animating in Motionbuilder?

Is it better?
What was your experience?

Was it hard to learn?
I'm thinking about buying the Personal Edition for the next challenge if it's more fun to animate with.

03 March 2003, 03:26 PM

In my humble opinion, MB is the best for character animation. You have to model and bind to a regular skeleton in another package (maya for me,) and export as their .fbx format. Then you bring that into MB, do the character setup, defining which joints are which, etc, so you can turn on the control rig. After that you just animate.

Real time playback, woohoo! You don't have to do constant playblasts.

You get full body IK/FK set up for you. No dealing with pole vectors to adjust the elbow, just pin down the wrist and select the elbow and move it. I know how to do nice complicated rigs in Maya, but this is pretty responsive and easy to use. I can get to the animation stage sooner, which is good.

You have to kind of get the hang of it, though. I had to reanimate a part because I would rotate the upper leg in an FK way, and then the next key move the foot in an IK way, then the next key move the knee, and after a while it got twisty. Generally you should pick a technique for a given limb. Once I decided to work with the legs as IK and the arms as FK it was easier. Even if you're fk with the arms you can still pin down the hand on a table or wherever you want.

The constraints are pretty easy to use, just about everything is drag and drop. You can do pose to pose animation however you like, there's a good fCurve editor. Their non linear editor is better than trax.

Ok, I'll stop. I like it. For $100 you can't really lose.

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.