View Full Version : Preping for next 10 second club comp.

06 June 2003, 11:33 PM
I'm hoping to get a little constructive criticism before jumping into the next TSC competition. I joined a little to late to get into this months competition, so I thought I would take one of my characters and go through Michael Comet's Animation Process: A Case Study. I used the same sound file he used in the exercise. Models were created in Lightwave and exported to Motion Builder for animation and lip sync, with final rendering done in Lightwave. Here is the link to the animation file.

Exercise animation - 1.1MB (



06 June 2003, 12:25 AM

The first thing is I think you need to set up the evil smirk earlier - it appears out of nowhere.
Whereas my animation is too floaty, I think yours is too rigid. Almost like the keys are linear?? The antennas seem to move too much snap. :shrug:

I like the right hand waggle. :)
I also like the scene you put it in and his overall action.

If you get a chance, please check out my attempt. (

06 June 2003, 03:12 AM
He looks pretty good. I especially like the character.. reminds me of the Muppets.

The stance is a little awkward and some of the poses are hard to read. Maybe the hand shouldn't point straight at the camera as it causes you to lose the whole gesture when that happens. You might cheat it by pointing down where the viewer's chest might be instead of the camera lens.

You might try FK on the arms as his wrists seem to magically lock into a coordinate in the air and that looks a bit odd.

The phonemes could be modified a bit. You should check out Kieth Lango's and Michael Comet's sites for doing lips synch. They have a wealth of information on them. (You can find the links in the links section of the 10Sec Club's yahoo group directory.)

The automated lagmotion on his antennae look weird - esp when the one goes beyond its own reach. It would only take you a little while to animate them by hand and they'd look so much better.

On another note, I'll be entering the 10 SC this month and had a blast doing it. At first I thought I was going to go nuts listening to that laugh, but once you get past hearing it the first 3000 times, it's not so bad. :D

BTW... how long did you spend animating the scene? I spent about 18 hours on this month's, not including rendering time.

06 June 2003, 05:24 AM
Hey ub52, cool sound byte to animate to . . .

I agree with Cman, in that it does seem a bit rigid . . .

Also, his pose seems a little odd to me, like, perhaps, his back is too straight; I think his spine should arch forward a bit. He should also be up on his toes; it's pretty hard to bend down that far and stay flat footed without some weird knee compensation . . .

Good stuff, keep it up!!! This is gonna be good . .

BTW, curiously speaking, how big was your .fbx scene file when you exported? (I'm having these file size issues that are driving me nuts!)


Triple G
06 June 2003, 06:04 AM
Hehe...that's a great sound that Christopher Walken from...what was the name of the movie? Rat Race? Mouse Trap? I forget...:hmm:

Anyway, I pretty much agree with what the others have said already. Overall, not a bad job at all. However, everything looks a little too stiff. Your movements really are not moving in arcs at all...for example, if you draw a line following the position of his left hand (our right), you'll see that it goes from point to point in a relatively straight line. Almost every movement (especially when it comes to characters) should have some sort of a discernable arc to it, to prevent things from looking stiff and robotic.

Your timing seems to be pretty good, but like webfox said, some of the poses are hard to read. In particular, where he says "you have to think"...his hand gesture doesn't really make sense. (Why is he holding up three fingers? Why does he seem to be pointing at his nose?) I also think the antennae need to be reworked, as do some of the phoneme targets...some of the mouth shapes aren't reading well. I think this may also be due to the fact that it looks like you're trying to hit every sound resulting in mouth movement that's too fast and doesn't read very well. Try just hitting the major sounds....hard consonants and major vowel sounds, and your lip synch should look a lot smoother and more natural.

btw...Webfox...what's with that new avatar? :surprised Poor guy looks like he just got punched in the face (either that or he wants to get punched...) :p

06 June 2003, 06:10 AM
Thanks for the replies guys. I must tell you this was my first attempt at doing anything more ambitious than a walk cycle, and I must say I've really enjoyed putting this together. I think the most difficult thing is fighting to keep from loosing a critical eye. After listening to the sound clip and watching the replay for the gazillionth time it really becomes difficult. The most enjoyable aspect though has been using Motion Builder. The real-time playback and the ease with which you can interact the rig and the scene in general really helps you focus on the task of trying to bring a character to life.

Cman: I agree, I think the devilish little smile needs to start coming in a little earlier. With respect to the rigidity I really need to work on that. I was following one of Michael Comet's tutorials, which really helped me get over the initial hurdle of where do I start. The process is great for getting the initial structure of the animation laid out. I just need to work more at breaking things up in the final stages so they don't appear so robotic.

I downloaded your FBX and took a loaded it into MB as I don't have the plugin for QT installed. Probably a good thing as I could load the sound clip, and here it during the playback. I really like the way you composed the scene. The only problem I see initially and it's probably just the your at, but the old mans hands appear to be passing through the counter top. I see the floatiness (sp?) you refer to. Both characters seem to be continuously in motion. There don't seem to be any hold poses, even if for only a couple of frames. Kind of sounds like our problems are exactly opposite of each other. Also, and this may just be me, but I was having a difficult time imagining a scenario for the sound file in this months comp, and from what I see in your clip I can't get a read on what the hilarity is about at the end. Seems that should be important. Anyway thanks for your input, I appreciate it. Hope I've been able to help you also.

Webfox: I agree with all your points, and appreciate the criticism. In total, I think Iíve probably spent somewhere around 30 hours. A lot of that time though was spent in coming up to speed with Motion Builder. Not that difficult but I had to sleuth out methods for rigging the eyes and the antenna so I could animate them. The antenna motion is currently all hand keyed. Guess I got a little carried away. Thanks for taking the time to comment at length.

BTW, I love your character. He almost looks like claymation. Hope you donít feel thatís a bad thing. I donít. Canít wait to see him move.


06 June 2003, 06:29 AM
Originally posted by sensai2nd
...BTW, curiously speaking, how big was your .fbx scene file when you exported? (I'm having these file size issues that are driving me nuts!)...

Ya, I saw your post earlier today over in the MB forum. My character frozen at a sub-d level of 2 has 20068 faces. There are also 7 weight maps and 37 morph maps. File size for the model is 1.1Meg. The scene file I exported from had my character, 1 light, and 1 camera and the resulting FBX file was 20Megs. It didn't seem to be a burden to MB though.


06 June 2003, 06:32 AM
I think the most difficult thing is fighting to keep from loosing a critical eye.

You think that's bad? Wait until your "Just another little tweek and it'll be perfect" gland starts to take over. hehehehe

Add four more hours to my previous estimate... sigh.

06 June 2003, 06:40 AM
Originally posted by webfox
You think that's bad? Wait until your "Just another little tweek and it'll be perfect" gland starts to take over. hehehehe

Add four more hours to my previous estimate... sigh.

ROTFLMAO, after getting all your crits here I'm back at it, and think that gland is already starting to kick in.

06 June 2003, 07:07 AM
I know what you're saying, "Dangit! Now I know how to fix that! Besides... I'll catch up on my sleep tomorrow night."

Well, I'm done :banghead: with this one. I'm setting the computer for final rendering and heading to clean up the kitchen.

<Mr. Smith voice> "The PAIN! Oh! The PAIN!"

... and just in case you're curious about my entry this month... (

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