View Full Version : Girl vs Beast

11 November 2007, 07:06 PM
Hi all,

I知 working on this action piece for my portfolio, a sort of confrontation between a girl and a beast she inadvertently unlocks. I知 probably going to change the skull to a rune or something, so that it wouldn稚 be as apparent that there was a nasty beast behind the door.

Anyways, I was wondering if my staging was reading well, and if my basic timing and blocking of shots was ok, before I get too far along with my breakdowns. Since I致e been nose deep in this thing, I知 hoping that some fresh eyes could point out things are happening too fast, or not reading clearly.

I知 trying to animate something more physical, to compliment some more cartoony type stuff on my reel.

Thanks for your time,


11 November 2007, 12:43 AM
Awesome start! Love the camera moves/angles and poses overall. Can't wait to see how this turns out :thumbsup:

Geese Howard
11 November 2007, 12:57 AM
Loving it so far! Can't wait to see it with all the inbetweens keyed in.
Only thing i would say is the framing on the 18-22 sec mark, little too much blank space on the left.
I REALLY love the camera shake as the beast bursts outta the doorway, very exciting also how they run towards the viewer at the end.

11 November 2007, 04:59 AM
My god; this left me dreaming of things to come. If the textures and models are only half as good in this animation then it will be a winner!

What did you use for the door deformation?

11 November 2007, 02:19 AM
Wow, that blocking pass works really well. Usually i just set up my cameras and do basic animations to get all my timing right, but even with the basic animation it's hard to get the feel of the scene as the characters float horribly from one point to the next. I should try what you've done and go for step keyed poses instead.

11 November 2007, 07:59 PM
Thanks everyone for taking time to look at my animation, and for the kind comments. I知 moving onto the full animation, setting more breakdowns and trying to push my poses further. I値l make sure to post an update once I get further along.

Geese Howard Thanks for the staging tip and I値l try to frame up things a bit better so that the viewer focuses more on the door and less on the blank space.

Moonraker808 I知 actually trying to keep the textures pretty basic, because I want the animation to be the main focus. For the door deformation I used a series of blend shapes (a couple of damaged versions of the door), and then animated the blends on and off.

dkennewell Yep for my last couple of animations I致e tried to use the stepped keys approach, in order to treat my frames as individual drawings, and treating the playblast as a flipbook. That way I can get the main timing and staging nailed down fairly early on, shuffling a few keys here and there.

Thanks again,


11 November 2007, 08:00 PM
Well I've been slacking on the animation because I've been trying to nail down the look of the lighting I want. I've also changed the skull thing to a Seal of Solomon. Here's some rendered frames. Now, I've gotta get back to the acutal animation dammit.

12 December 2007, 12:40 PM
Hey all, here's an update to my Girl vs. Beast animation. It's a first pass at spline keys. I've still got a long way to go to tighten things up, but I wanted to get the main flow down.

Let me know what you think. There sure has been a lot of cool work by everyone here lately, and it helps keep me motivated! (

12 December 2007, 01:20 PM
Vimeo says the second clip you posted is private so I can only comment on the blocking pass. I dig it! Very effective blocking and nice poses. I definitely get a sense of what's going on.

I think it could use a bit more time between her landing and touching the thing. Like, she's just jumped into this giant, cavernous space and she doesn't even look behind her. It might be nice to see her look around a bit more before the thing catches her attention and a bit more of her motivation (curiosity?) for touching it.

I also think the camera could use a bit more work. I agree with the above comment about the 18-22 seconds shot being too far left. Also, the second shot is too much movement too fast. I don't think it should start so far out, especially since your first shot is so wide and I think it'd be but more tense if we were a lot closer in when she touches the thing. Also, it would make for a better transition to the third shot (@18) since it is pretty far back too. If you stretched out the beginning like I mentioned, the camera move would be a lot more subtle but I think you still don't need to move it so much distance.

The last shot might be a little too relaxed for the violent action of running/chasing but it's hard to say at the blocking pass. I imagine it'll be a lot faster when animated.

Is this going to be the whole thing or is there more after the monster chases her? And uhhh... are you gonna put some clothes on that poor girl? :)

Look forward to seeing more!

12 December 2007, 02:51 PM
kick ass Derek, so now that I praise and fawn over your work, do i pass for the semester? LOL

BTW this guy is my modeling/animation instructor, and is pretty dang good!

12 December 2007, 03:27 PM

Thanks for the heads up on that Vimeo private thing. I've changed it to public, so hopefully everyone will be able to take a gander now. She's bald in the clip because unfortunately her braids get hidden when I hide the girl's rig.

Yeah I agree that it cuts to quickly before she goes to the door. I was intending that the glowing blue seal would attract her attention right away, but I'll try to add some poses where she looks around a little bit after she lands in the room.

Dang and I forgot about shifting that camera around the 18-22sec mark so that the viewer isn't distracted by too much white space. I gotta get on that.

And I've just noticed that a distracting column passes by the camera as she walks to the door, so I'll definitely cut down on that dolly-in towards the door.

Yes I was planning on the whole animation to end after she runs away, mainly to keep things short, and for this to be an example of more physical animation to contrast the mostly cartoony stuff I have on my reel. I thought that rather than run or death cycles or something, a game studio might like to see a clip with a variety of physical actions that might also tell a brief situational story or confrontation.

And as far as her clothes, I'm using a rig I found from Keil Figgins site ( that was done by Stev Kalinowski. The rig has some cloth bits, but not much more that what you see here, so I'm just gonna say she's some amazon girl snooping around an ancient temple or something. :)

Thanks a ton for taking a look at my clip, and for your comments!


Oh and hey thanks for the comment too Joe. I'll also be sure to tone down the jerkiness of the camera when the beast enters.

Fawning huh? Where's my apple?

12 December 2007, 06:37 AM
hey Derek, you should have the demon lift its head after it breks out and make it look like its sniffing the air, like it smells something

12 December 2007, 04:26 PM
Hey Derek,

I think you're off to a really nice start here! There are a lot of things going on that are really great.

First of all, try and get a frame counter... er... here ya go:

(Copy the following into your script editor, then mmb drag it onto your shelf):
headsUpDisplay -label "Frame"

-lfs "large"

-dfs "large"

-section 5

-block 1

-blockSize "large"


-command "currentTime -q" HUDFrame1;

(Do the same for the following, which will be a button to switch that previous one off):

headsUpDisplay -rem HUDFrame1;

Having numbers in your animation will make it much easier for us to critique.

-I love the camera, although I think it can still use a bit of lovin', particularly around 34 seconds. It kind of freezes, feeling like it's been in the hands of the cameraman, and is abruptly bolted down to the tripod and rotated without translation. Also, the beginning of that shot feels the same, like it's not being held, then suddenly is. Another thing that bothers me about the camera is the fact that it's only moving on that one shot, nowhere else. Makes the rest of the piece feel a bit dead. Might add some subtle movement to the rest of the shots to give it a little life.

-I'm a very harsh critic, and I apologize in advance, but if we don't hear it, we don't improve, right? The run cycle when she's dodging behind the pillar is definitely the weakest point in the piece. Here are a few reasons:

-first, the anticipation is entirely too heavy/long. She leans way over to one side, and it takes a good 6 frames for her to do so. It breaks up the motion too much to me, like for most of this you were thinking Lara Croft, then suddenly you think Speedy Ganzales. Definitely bite back on that anticipation, I think that will strengthen it quite a bit.

-consider the y translate versus the z (or probably x, whichever is her forward trajectory) translate of the run. She's hopping very high and making very little headway for her efforts. Definitely cut back on the y by about 50%, and remove one step so it takes her less steps to get there.

-The run feels like it lacks character. I like that she steps back once and considers the situation before "bolting for her life," but I think the run feels a bit too "guiddy" for the feeling you're shooting for. I sort of expect to hear her giggling and getting ready to jump out from behind the pillar shouting "Surprize!"

Alright, that's all from me for now. I think you're off to a great start, and I'd love to see more of this. Keep it up.


12 December 2007, 05:21 PM

I sure don't mind any harsh critz, because that's why I posted here in the first place. Everyone has been great at pointing out things that I'm not aware of, when I've been staring at this thing over and over.

Thanks a bunch for that frame counter. I'll be sure to include it on further updates.

And also thanks a ton for your time and for your great critique. I'll try adding subtle touches to the camera when it is still to give it some life, and to make things more consistent. Since there seems to be a cameraman for the last shot, I need to get away from that locked down tripod camera feeling for the slower moments, to maker sure that invisible cameraman is still there.

Great points on that run around the pillar. I'll try to bring my curves way back because now that I look at it again, she does come of as way too giddy, and not afraid like I want. That run has been a whole lot of trouble because I want it to evoke what she is feeling (scared for her life, but still curious about what might be coming out the door). But everything tends to come off as choppy or disconnected, which breaks the illusion.

I've got about 2 weeks off from my job over Christmas, so hopefully I'll be able to provide more updates.

Thanks again,


04 April 2008, 03:44 PM
Hi everyone,

Well I finally got back to working on this girl vs. beast animation. I ended up changing the girl character, using a different rig ( so that she didn稚 look as gangly and manly looking. I also tried to keep the camera moving so that things might look more consistent from shot to shot. Lastly, I had the beast chase her into the room rather than running towards the camera, hopefully as a better ending.

This is the current breakdown pass before I head on over to evil spline territory, to keep an eye on my arcs.


Vimeo -

I'm not sure why the pixels ended up being non-square, because everything looks really skinny and stretched up right now.

I壇 really appreciate some fresh eyes to critique what I have so far. Really rip it apart if you have the time. Do the shots read ok, staging and timing wise?

Thanks a bunch!

04 April 2008, 05:00 PM
awesome man. yeah this looks to have potential for a real solid piece!

One this I think that looks kinda strange is the shot where the girl runs over to the wall to hide. I get the impression that she is sort of crouching down in a frantic escape. I think that if you rotated the hips in the direction that she is running it would give it a better feeling.

06 June 2008, 09:27 PM
Hi everyone,

Well I've been working on the spline / polish phase of my girl vs. beast animation. I was wondering if you guys might take a look at it to see if anything weird stands out that I need to change before I start on a final render for my demo reel. I've been staring at this for awhile and it would be nice to have some fresh eyes on it. Rip away!

Heres a quicktime version (21 MB)

and a version on Vimeo

Thanks fellow CGTalkers!


06 June 2008, 11:07 PM
Looks cool man. Here are some suggestions:

(Frame numbers are approximate)
105: The motion of pulling herself up is too fast and looks jerky. Either slow it down or just have her drop from hanging. I know you're going for anticipation but you wouldn't really do a pull up before dropping down.
126: Her land is a little floaty. If'd have more impact (and that's a long drop) if she didnt drift so much.
195: Her pelvis drops strangely before she turns. I know keeping the knees from popping is a bear but it doesn't look natural.
245: Drifting into that pose, her z translation (towards screen right) of the pelvis isn't a smooth settle. Check your tangencies around this frame.
265: same as 195.
285: overall walk needs some work in the legs (upper body looks good). It's kind of limpy right now.
495: Her take is good with the hand but understated with the body. If she's surprised, you should push it a bit more with her posture (the hand tracing the symbol before hand looks nice BTW)
542: Head lean seems disconnected from the neck and body

I don't really have time now to do the rest but hopefully this helps some.

06 June 2008, 04:24 AM

Hey man, thanks so much for the detailed critique. It's great to have fresh eyes too look out for things that appear too jerky or floaty. Next week I'll go back and try to incorporate your suggestions.

I tell you what, that walk to the door has been a real bitch. With a human character, every little movement is amplified, and everything I do seems to keep coming off as too bouncy or too jerky or too cartoony. I had moved the root's translate y control up a pinch before, but then she appeared to not have any weight, so I took it back down. But with the contact positions I had planned out, I guess her stride isn't wide enough.

I think I'll try to remove one of her steps so that her legs can stretch out more, and hopefully I can get that walk fixed.

Thanks again for your time and for the quick response.


06 June 2008, 03:47 PM
This weekend I worked on finalizing my lighting. Click the picture for a larger one. Now, onto finalizing the animation! (

07 July 2008, 02:19 PM
Hi again. Well I finally finished this girl vs. beast animation, and here it is rendered out with sound effects made in garage band.
4.8mb Quicktime file) (

(Link to Vimeo version) (

Just wanted to thank all of you again who gave cool comments and helped me along with this. CGTalk is such a great community and I really appreciate the feedback.



07 July 2008, 03:57 AM
Cool man turned out great :D! Lots of work but I can see it paid off. congratulations :)

If you are still considering to make any changes, I would say that maybe you could have a big bang noise for when the monster dents the door for the first time. Just my thought :). Looks way awesome though man!

Again, congrats. Really nice stuff:)


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