View Full Version : Animation project-- character animations

04 April 2008, 08:03 PM
I'm building an animation set for a for western gunslinger type character in Max, and looking to get a little feedback. This is first pass kind of stuff. I'm still wrestling with the skin.

Here's the walk cycle to start on. More to come later!

forward (
side (
perspective (


For the purposes of keeping everything together I'll post the animations all here. Added the quickdraw cycle:

front (
side (
perspective (

death front
( left (
death perspective (

04 April 2008, 08:41 PM
There's not a lot of character in the walk right now, I would expect a western gunsligher type to walk with a more hunched back, hands cringed at the side (see pic - differenct character design, but great pose), I would do some more planning and research, you really want a walk cycle to define your characters personality

04 April 2008, 03:35 AM
It is more than just character missing in the walk; The mechanics are off. You really need to get those down in conjuntion with personality in the walk. Can you post a quicktime possibly so we can go frame by frame?

Other thing that might help your animation out is if you translate your character though space.. you know.. make him walk. When he is floating stationary, it is tough to get a good sense of your weight and timing. From the front view, I would say the main focal point should be your hips - let them drive the walk. Your weight bearing leg's hip will be high and forward during your passing pose - at your contact you'll hit about even and then it revearses with the new stride.

Try holding a broom handle at your waist and walk so you can really get a sense of the angle of the hips. There is also an overlap between the hips rocking forward and back from the side to side action.

Walks are tough - there are so many elements that come in to play. You have a great start here.

04 April 2008, 05:14 AM
Thanks both of you for the feedback! Frogman, this set is for a game project, so I'm avoiding translating the model for the movement cycles. KyleG, thanks for the image! It reminded me how much I need to push the character's personality to the fore. I've given the walk another round of polish. I've tried to clean up the pelvis motion and get it more in line with the legs.

walk_f_2 (
walk_l_2 (
walk_p_2 (

It still needs more work on the legs, to get a jerky motion I really want for the strut. Thanks again!

04 April 2008, 02:46 AM
Even though you can't actually model it moving, perhaps you could loop it a couple of times?

The arms look a little stiff, in the new version. A lot of that is going to be because his hands are poised to grab his guns, but he could loosen up a little.

He's supposed to be doing kind of a mosey, right? Perhaps a little more hip rotation and a slight turn to the feet might bring that out- something like the approach you've got going on with his shoulders?

Looking forward to seeing more.

04 April 2008, 05:17 AM
Wrestling with IK and FK to give the arms more rotation, it should look a little better now. I'll see what more hip rotation will look like in the next pass. I've added his quickdraw to my first post, looking for more of the same critique. Thank you all!

04 April 2008, 04:55 PM
Looked at the quickdraw.
1) Should he shift all his weight to his right leg and then slide his left leg back like that? I've been watching some videos of quick-draw artists, and none of them seem to do this-- it doesn't seem to follow from the kinematics of the action.

2) He's way too slow, if this is intended to be his fast draw, rather than a flashy trick-draw. He rotates the gun what appears to be 500+ degrees after it leaves the holster and into a firing position. There is a technique called the under-draw where you pull the gun out of the holster and then flip it around backwards until it points straight ahead, but there's no extra rotation. The hand and gun also remain close to the holster, rather than moving back as they do here (I'm not sure if the finger ever leaves the trigger-loop)-- as in the expression "shoot from the hip." Wasted motion = wasted time = dead gunslinger.

3) What year does this guy exist in? A quick google suggests that the preferred methodology of quick-draw techniques have actually changed over time.

04 April 2008, 11:38 PM
On the walk --

There is a pop in the legs around the contact pose - I would check your curves. A few other things to consider: You have your feet though space only on the x and y axis. Try turning in the toes a bit for that cowboy pidgeoned walk (or out..either way but dead on). You can get a bit of overlap that way thoughout the stride. Really think about the arcs of all your body parts.

Your head seems a bit too static vertically right now. You don't want the cowboy to be goosenecked but a bit of a bounce on impact is good.. think of it like a hard bouncing ball.

Look at anything not moving and see if you can give him a bit more life - the shoulders, elbows, and spine all seem completely rigid. Don't move them without reason but try and see if you can feel the walk though the whole body. You can get a bit of overlap in the arms and still maintain your cowboy walk.

Consider cutting the finger movement. I see what you're going for and it would make for a nice flourish, but you loose the effect if it is going on with every step. Can your game support blended animation? If so, get the walk down without it and see if you can incorporate it on a timer or random count.

Nice progress on this.

Walks are challenging. This makes me want to start working on one.

04 April 2008, 02:30 AM
With excitement and thrilling terror I bring to the fore a new revision of the walk cycle, the draw, and a death animation! I'm trying to take your suggestions to heart, Frogman, but as this is one project of several I'm juggling it's getting a little difficult to keep everything straight in my mind. However I do very much appreciate your and everyone else's critiques!

I've widened the stance on the quickdraw and the walk both, this does make it look a lot more natural.

I have one major question on the death animation, what is the best way get him from his knees onto his belly? I've got his feet locked down, but the rotation of his pelvis still looks unnatural. Any ideas?

death_f (
death_l (
death_p (

04 April 2008, 04:00 AM
Nice! Much more of a cowboy mosey on the walk cycle! A secondary motion note-- his wrists look like they're fused straight in line with his forearms. Maybe just a little bend? The fingers on his left hand are also locked in a pretty awkward hook pose.

The draw is flashier-- you said that was why you wanted the spin, right? But he's also just kinda patting the barrel of the gun-- like he's using his left hand to correct for the kick of the earlier shots? If I understand this right, that's not what gunfighters are doing when they move their hands like that-- they're actually using their left hand to hit the hammer. So his hand needs to be moved towards the hammer.

Death animation--- hmm. Something wrong, yeah. His feet slide backwards in a kind of weird circle motion. I'll have to fall on my face a few times and see if I learn anything...

Also-- does he fall at a linear rate, between pauses?

04 April 2008, 10:44 PM
the center of balance and most movement comes from the pelvis/abdomen area so because of that hips are usually what you want to animate first, then add legs, back/torso, etc. i see you've added y-axis animation in the hips, but you'll also want to add Z axis swivel to display weight shifting.

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