View Full Version : Blocking for Lifting Box

07 July 2008, 05:22 AM
Hey everyone,
I've just got an assignment for lifting a heavy box. I've done a quick blocking to get a feel of the timing for the animation. Do have a look.. Alot of the key frames are not nicely done yet especially those at the back.. I WILL get to that soon, right now I'm just concerned about the time.

I've read here to try and add 3 different speeds to the animation to make it interesting, so hopefully you can see it in my work!

My blocking so far


07 July 2008, 07:31 AM
Hi all
I cleaned up the poses abit and added some more key frames to make it more interesting. Please have a look!

07 July 2008, 05:31 PM
The actual lift part is nice but the whole walking up to it for 5 seconds part is dragging it imo. Also why is the guy shocked to see a box lying in front of him? He acts like he just saw a corpse or something threatening. You wouldnt jump back 6 feet if you saw a box lying on the ground would you? :)

Keep us updated!

07 July 2008, 03:50 AM
Hi all

SheepFactory, you are absolutely right about the walking up part dragging it, and the shocked part.. my mentor told me the same thing. Thanks for the input!

Pixar's Andrew Gordon was in town, and after attending his Animation Masterclass on Monday I was just so inspired. I went home immediately and cleaned up my animation.. I felt there were a couple of things wrong with my prev post.
- there were too many ideas in my 1st pass. I now focus on just one clear idea
- cleaned up the poses so that they looked better.. abit of what Andrew said about 'appeal'
- improved the rythmn of the animation
- thinking of a better payoff than just fall down (cos its very cliche) so thought about him just dropping the stone. Not so great a payoff, but better than falling down!

let me know how it looks!

07 July 2008, 04:26 AM
Hi all,
I've added alittle more blocking at the start


07 July 2008, 06:16 AM
heyas all again

I spent today adding more inbetweens. Here's as far as I go with the blocking (cept maybe for corrections now) After this I'm moving on to curve editing!


07 July 2008, 09:19 AM
Hi Balakuz,

Starting to look nice. I like the pose of his hands at ~79 but sadly you don't follow through couse at ~95, before he picks up the box, his hands are in a totaly different stance.

Also, at ~150, I think his body and feet should be closer to the box itself because at ~168 there is a little pause while he is lifting the box diagonal, which in my opinion would be nearly impossible (the diagonal lifting would be impossible).

The wiggling of the feet from ~230 onwards is a bit unclear, mainly because he is not out of balance enough beforehand I think... That part feels a bit as if the weight of the box suddenly got lighter. I do like the idear of dropping it though.

Keep on going!

07 July 2008, 03:29 PM
I think you are doing good overall. First one with a walk had a little more storytelling potential I think. I wont have removed it completely, I would have rather shorten it. In the first version he sees the box after almost reaching the box. In real life you should be able to see it from a little distance. Now I would think of story like this, he is walking while doing something, probably just a careless walk. Then he sees the box from a distance, (I would put a treasure box or something of value). He gets surprised (happy surprise), looks around and rush to the box to lift it. And it turns out that it's too heavy for him to move even one feet.

If you want to do just the exercise dont make a long story, just think from midway. Like he gets surprised and rushes to the box to lift. Or may be even shorter.

I like the climax in the last one, but something about the last pose that bugs me. May be its too extreme, I dont know. I would either act it or try thikning different poses.

07 July 2008, 07:33 AM
Hi all
Thanks for the comments, I really appreciate them!

Sarford, I will take note of the off-balanced pose right before he lifts the stone. As for the hand pose, I love it too! but when he squats down he leads with his hands, so they go down straight before him.. thats my idea anyway.. I tried acting with his hands open up like tat going down and it looks quite weird!

Theflash, yup I'm thinking of focusing on just picking up the box.. For me getting a convincing animation/acting is more important at this point. Thanks for the comments tho!

I've decided to go ahead with the animation cos I've been stalling at the blocking stage too long.. I've started to do curve editing on the 1st 100 frames.

I had alot of problems making it move smoothly.. (this is my 1st animation assignment) the problem i had was smoothing the motion from pose to pose and making it believable.. Anyone care to share wat their workflow is like?
What I did was
1.) change all the keys to auto (in the graph editor. My prev file was done in blocks.. see prev posts)
2.) Isolated different body parts (like legs, body, head and arms)
3.) worked on cleaning out the animation from the legs upward
4.) Problem I had was when I got to the head it started to move about floppily.. I had to remove all my prev keys and re-key them
5.) moved/del keys which din't work anymore and added new ones

I know right now some parts are still jerky and not tat fluid.. (Actually it looks alittle too fast.. I wonder why, cos the timing was right in the blocking stage) If you guys have suggestions that'll be great.

Do check it out. Cheers!

07 July 2008, 11:43 AM
Heya all

Here's some updates.. done abit more splining. Its really alot of hard work!

07 July 2008, 03:11 PM
heyas all. I just watched the Pixar story, and am now thoroughly inspired.

Unfortunately my work is not that inspiring.
Here's the latest.. Are you convinced of the weight? I'm not..

07 July 2008, 03:25 AM
Hi all
I just spent the morning making the lifting more convincing. However it just doesn't look it yet.. Any comments? I'm going to go ahead with splining the rest of the clip before coming back to polish, so do let me know what you think is wrong with this. Right now it doesnt look like the stone is being lifted, rather that it is just floating up.


07 July 2008, 02:46 AM
Looks good. I feel a hitch in the begging.. I believe it was in the begining where he plants his foot. I think the biggest thing you need to do is find his center of balance. When he goes down he will lean more forward. Then as he lifts the box is no part of his body weight so he has to pitch back a bit more and put the box on his hips. The lift up for the box try to arch his back more.

---- biggest tip I can give you is to Vid reference stuff like this. and look for reversals of the spine. Look for the C curves one way and the other. Figure out if there is a S curve or does it just go into a striaght. The Reversals always should be Keyframed. It also helps to have those curves read clearly and dont be afriad to over exagerate. You can always tone them back easier than amping them up.

----- when you vid reference this stuff make sure you are using a real heavy box cause you wont get a real result from pretending it. And if anyone tells you vid reference is cheating.. hit them aside the head cause it is how you figure out what is happening in the body. If you just jump into it when your starting out then you are just faking the knowledge that you need in order to make it believable..

But over all good job. You got a good handle on your character. Push some poses and make us feel the wieght. When you do an assignment like this make a goal(s) for yourself. For instance.. I want that box to feel like it is lead.. Make a goal and stick to it. All the other stuff matters but if you nail that one goal you will have focused and learned something that matters to you as an animator.

-Best wishes and happy animating,

07 July 2008, 04:26 AM
Hi all

hi Wing3D, thanks for the tips! I was just watching a short clip on a pixar animation workflow, and remember that the animator would thumbnail his shot before he animates, and would also write down his acting goals.. I think its very helpful!
I will try to push the poses more. I remem now how my mentor would tell us to exaggerate the changes. Our class actually makes us use vid references, but we use a much lighter object, so you can't really see the bend in the spine. I do agree tat vid references are king tho.. I try to get my research done on youtube by seeing other animations and real action examples too.

Anyway, work still in progress. i find that the first lifting part, 100 - 180 is still alittle stiff. 180 onwards seems alittle bit more convincing. I think it's got to do with the ease ins. I'll work on those tonight/ tomorrow.

Cheers, and do check back soon!

07 July 2008, 10:09 AM
Hi all,
I've been spending the past two days working on refining the splines. Frankly speaking, I think I messed it up abit.. Anyway here's the preview.

I guess there's a lesson to be learnt here.. which is get the timing down early and don't change it too much along the way.

I really hoped to get the splining done by this week so I can start polishing next week. I hope I'm still on schedule tho..


07 July 2008, 10:42 AM
hi all
I've been spending the last few days refining the timing, but I think I've reached a point where I should just move on.. There are a couple of things that I could still improve, but because I'm already so far down the pipeline, I think I'll save these lessons for my next project! (One of which is the timing texture, having different beats for my animation. Right now it looks alittle insipid cos the beats are more or less even)

I'm starting to work on polishing the hand arcs and fingers.


07 July 2008, 05:57 PM
well it looks great. way to stick with it, i just watched the first one and its really gone a long way.

just a little prod, the fingers don't need to curl quite so much before the grab. but that might be starting to get into tastes which is where you want to be anyways. Well done. so whats next?

07 July 2008, 07:22 AM
Hi Devlll

Thanks, but I'm not all quite done yet. I hope to finish it by tomorrow. Today I've polished up the hand and head arcs. Doesn't look too shabby i hope. My preview is below. I removed the head cos that's for tomorrow!

Some targets for this excercise:
1.) Is the idea clear?
2.) Did I sell the weight?
3.) Are the poses interesting?


07 July 2008, 07:25 AM
Hi all, I'm finally done!
With this assignment, anyway.

I'm still aware there can be improvements made, especially to the eyes and facial expressions. (Rite now some of the eye looks cooky), but I'll save that for the future. Thanks for checking on my progress, I'll be back soon with a monologue piece.

OOoo acting, I can't wait!

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