View Full Version : Short film: Table football (foosball)

07 July 2003, 08:27 PM
Hello, everyone,

I have finally managed to put my short film "Kicker" online. You can download it here (Mpeg-1 and DivX5):

I did this in my spare time to learn 3D. The animation is still rather simple, but I had to cover so many aspects, learn so many new things, that I am happy I got it finished at all. I am quite content with the lighting and camera/framing, though.

With the exception of the sound/music it's all done in Lightwave with help of X-DOF2, Shadow Designer 2 and Darktree.

I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think, so the next one can be better.


07 July 2003, 11:11 PM
It's an honor to give the first reply to this post. Love the animation, great storyline, build up, animational flow, rendering etc. You made simple choices to create a rich feel. I'll be thinking of this next time I'll play tablefoodball.

07 July 2003, 07:12 PM
Thanks, Corny,

"simple choices" could have been my motto ;) But maybe that's typical for a first project.

Because I had set myself a deadline (wise or not? I don't know for sure), so many times I just had to say "OK, you must leave the textures/lights/whatever as they are now and move on." Looking back I notice so many things that I should have done better but on the other hand I'm happy that I did finish it at all.


07 July 2003, 09:05 PM
This was great. I had a lot of fun watching it.

Kudos to the music man.

The concept was a lot of fun, a great one for an animated short.

My only quivel, and it is a very minor one, was in how they kicked the ball.

I say this as in, I kind of would have liked to have seen them kick the ball the way that real foozball tables work, as in, the whole line moves in unison. I dunno, it may not be that great of an idea, but I think it would have looked especially more fun, to have the inanimate object, behaving like the object behaves, by itself.

Just a thought, but again I'll reiterate, that this was great.

07 July 2003, 11:51 PM
great idea and animation...i agree you could of worked a bit more on the textures (like some dirt/use of the actual players...the perfection of em clash with the rusty bars), but its also nice to have somethin finished

my only question is...what's with the hand blocking the ball? :)

07 July 2003, 05:04 PM
Originally posted by MajinPunisher
Kudos to the music man.

Thanks, I will pass this on to my flatmate, Patrick, who came up with the tunes. We were heavily influenced by the score of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". Listen to the music during the final stand-off and you'll know what I mean.

Because composing the score, however small it is, was so much fun we're going to extend the music of the end titles into a full song.


07 July 2003, 11:02 AM
Great work!
A great idea well executed.

07 July 2003, 01:34 PM
Great work, I love it :)
One thing I had in mind the whole time is that it had a early Pixar-feeling to it. It really felt that I was looking at some early PIXAR movie, which are very nice, and this short gave me that feeling too. Very nice work :D

08 August 2003, 04:14 PM
thanks, that is very flattering. It was those early Pixar films that got me into CG and they clearly were a great influence.

My flatmate and I will hopefully have a long version of the end music (see above) finished this month.


11 November 2003, 07:30 PM
very nicely done, great work. the "replay" had me laughing out loud as a soccer fan (what i can say, i'm in the US so its not "football" here :)). as a whole i don't have any problems with it, nothing is poorly done and it works well together. one minor nitpick would be some of the camera work (gives it a bit of a digital feel, could be more cinematic i think). i also would've liked to see a bit more work done on the character animation, i would've liked to see the characters a bit stiffer (and not bend as extremely). overall its oustanding work tho, loved it. good job :thumbsup:


11 November 2003, 08:43 PM
:applause: wow, it was a fun piece of short film. i enjoy it a lot. you did a great work.

the only crit i have is: the aging steel bar doesn't seem to belong to the men with fresh looks. i remembered there are scratches, dents and marks on the men's "feet".

improvment: you may be able shot in spectacular ball handling when in 1-on-1 face off to fake out the goalie, this can raise the emotional high of "sudden dead" moment.

good job

11 November 2003, 08:56 PM
Thanks a lot, Chris,

good to know that there are still soccer fans in the US ;) A distant cousin of mine from Boston used to even play it until she was about 10 years old when softball took over. Anyway...

Could you be more specific about where you found flaws in the camera work? I am working on a new project at the moment, so any input to get better is greatly appreciated. One scene that came to my mind was when the camera moved from the head of one player to the feet of another - I am not to happy with this movement of the camera, actually.

But still, if you liked the film, you might want to be so kind and vote for it at Fluxus Online Filmfestival ( starting on November 26th :D


11 November 2003, 10:07 AM
Thank you, D3,

I know, the textures could be a lot better. My goal was not perfection but getting the film done in a reasonable amount of time, though. Since I was a beginner at all aspects of the process many of those aspects could be improved quite considerably. But actually finishing the film feels good even with all the little flaws. :)

I must admit that I didn't quite understand what you ment with your suggestion about the "sudden death" situation. :blush:


11 November 2003, 04:39 PM

Sorry for not being clear about the "sudden dead" moment. I was visualizing the scene in my head. Let me put it this way, imagine this: this is World Cup Championship game, the score are tied, the clock is winding down to the last 10 seconds, the forward man receives the ball, he make a fake move to fake out the goalie and shoot the ball to the other corner. . . .

I enjoy this piece a lot. You also set a timeline to complete the project. This is very important. Otherwise, there are always things to imporve for the final product that the project may never get finish. Good Job:thumbsup: Can't wait to see your next shortfilm.

11 November 2003, 08:47 PM
wow just great!

[kannst du mir sagen, wie die musik heißt? das am ende hin ist hört sich echt gut an]

11 November 2003, 03:17 AM
AWESOME... i really really liked it...
great story.. great emotion... loved the way you could tell exactly what they're thinking

great stuff

11 November 2003, 03:21 AM
Oh man, I LOVED this! :D When it first started I had some misgivings because of the dim lighting and all that, but then I realised it was all building up to something really cool!
This really reminds me so much of older Pixar stuff like "Knick Knack", it just has a similar vibe.

I really enjoyed your camera work, and the cuts worked really well too. Great simplicity with the characters, those faces are actually really freaky - mostly because of the way they all have the same face. As for the textures, I think that complex textures would actually have ruined this piece, as one of its strongest points is its simplicity.

Fantastic work, I enjoyed this one so much I've put it on the front page for you. I hope that it gives you some exposure for the film festival :thumbsup:

11 November 2003, 03:30 AM
kick ass!:thumbsup:

11 November 2003, 03:34 AM
congrats on front page dude.... definately deserved

11 November 2003, 03:48 AM
;) good idea...

11 November 2003, 04:16 AM
I really enjoyed watching this, I thought it was very nicely done :D



11 November 2003, 06:50 AM
Overall I enjoyed it. I personally thought the camera work was actually a bit off (but others on the site seem to have loved it so take this with a grain of salt). I thought the angles were great but the transitions took away from the angst and suspense the angles were creating. Mainly in the first 30 secs. -- I just watched it again actually and I guess my only problem with the camera work is at the beginning. The rest is pretty damn good.

I also think the stare down would have been better with more sublte brow furrows and less blinking. I definately got the emotion you were trying to convey, but I think it would have been more intense if it was a bit more sublte and varied.

Nice work. How long did it take you to complete?

11 November 2003, 07:58 AM
Firstly great work, you've captured my interest well.

My only main problem with this is where the story ends....

I feel that it could be a lot stronger if it was first red player who wakes up that get's to kick the goal and not the blue character we see at the end.

I imagine he first wakes up realising everyone else is asleep and is excited because the goal line is open.

This way the audience will feel attached to him and be excited when he finally gets the goal in at the end.

Anyway something along those lines....

Overall nice work.

11 November 2003, 08:29 AM
ui wie kommts dass ein Redakteur der Gameface nen 3d Shorty macht? Das find ich echt klasse!

ok now in english, this short movie is pretty nice although the optical quality could be a little better, bu that really doesn't matter the idea is nice and the work you did is very solid

11 November 2003, 09:33 AM
:hmm: Well I'm lost for words. This is great.

11 November 2003, 09:43 AM

11 November 2003, 10:18 AM
wow recognition after all that time, congrats on the frontpage (I always said it; this will go a long way ;) )

3D-ima Green
11 November 2003, 10:50 AM
amazing! i love this animation :D

11 November 2003, 10:52 AM
a great tribute to tablefootball - I think the best thing you did is the choice of characters for your first short. they are replicable with not too many things to animate, but still expressive enough too tell ( a good) story.

I think that gave you the possibility to concentrate on all the other things, and not get stuck with rigging and animating:

this perhaps sounds like making it down a bit - bit it is actualy a pro. how often character newbies get lost in animating a fourleged hyperrobo or stuff (like me too often did)

one little crit for me is the ball. sometimes it is stopped by a player and it looks too sudden/abrupt.

the sound is great and decent


11 November 2003, 12:39 PM
The animation is nice..... But i think the music lacks. :hmm:

11 November 2003, 01:18 PM
You have made a great job! Definetely worth for watching, congrats man:thumbsup:

You´ve showed the way rookie should go in cg anim...

Wish you all best for your future :beer:

11 November 2003, 01:28 PM
the divx version seems to be down, can anyone mirror it?

11 November 2003, 01:35 PM
sieht echt gute aus..
kongratulation fur dem " plug " auf der front page ..


11 November 2003, 01:53 PM
great idea

11 November 2003, 02:16 PM
Oh this is so great , really reminds me of pixars older shorts. I dont understand why ppl complaining on the music, I think it really fits the story, the style and the mood :bounce: , I think you could work a little better on the animation but its ok ;) .

Very nice work :thumbsup:

11 November 2003, 02:18 PM
Great film! It made me laugh. Wounderful how you take the red side, even if the cheat, even if they lose. Great work.

11 November 2003, 02:18 PM
Thanks to everyone,
for the kind words and gentle critique. I really appreciate it and find it very encouraging. Especially to see that some of the things I am not too happy with do still appeal to some viewers.

Now, let me address some of the post directly...

the music doesn't actually have a title. My flatmate and I composed it after I found out how expensive and complicated licensing would be.

thanks for the flattering comparison. And for the plug on the frontpage, of course. :D

the stare down sequence (including the music) was inspired by "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". I agree there could have been some more subtle elements to convey the tension than just blinking. Maybe even a drop of sweat.
I made this fil over the course of 18 months; 5 weeks fulltime and almost 17 months in my sparetime. This is from the first idea until the final edit.

Oh well, the ending... It could indeed be a little more powerful. Regarding the dreaming player being a red one (and thus part of the loosing team): The players' dream is to play without human interaction, not necessarily to win. That's why he's smiling.

der Film war zuerst da. Die GameFace-Tätigkeit ergab sich aus einer Zufallsbegegnung im Zug. Und unabhängig davon war ich schon vorher mit Martin von Zeroscale/Game-Verband befreundet. Kleine Welt...

you knew it right from the beginning ;)

you're exactly right as to why I chose this setting for my first 3D work. And about the ball: It may seem simple, but animating the ball without rigid body dynamics was rather difficult (for me at least). But you're right, the movement could ease out a little more gently at times.

DivX5 should be working now.

we really should have a CGTalkers' or LW meeting in Berlin at some point.

Thanks again, everyone,


11 November 2003, 02:24 PM
Meeting in Berlin? Count me in.

11 November 2003, 02:26 PM
This is really very cool but i was crushed when the original 1st player didnt get the win!... Maybe room for the sequel? ;)

No point saying anything about lighting etc as you cleared all that up in your first post, but i think its great, even better cause its LW ;)


11 November 2003, 03:20 PM
mache einfach ein vorshlag :-)

11 November 2003, 05:01 PM
Cool short!:bounce:

11 November 2003, 05:40 PM
Nice work,
well done...

11 November 2003, 06:09 PM
Originally posted by marcboy

we really should have a CGTalkers' or LW meeting in Berlin at some point.

I really agree about that.:thumbsup:
Nice short, finally on the front page.

11 November 2003, 08:27 PM
Good Job!
I think the overall pace could have been worked on, maybe a little more exciting moves and add more humor. Other then that your Camera work is great and your animation is good. KUGW:wip:

11 November 2003, 08:28 PM
Hi! I just voted for your short. I liked it a lot. I was crushed that your idea was better than my current one. I'm going back to the Drawing board. Congrats on a great short. Very Impressive. :)

11 November 2003, 09:35 PM
I loved this short. The hand reaching down stood out for me the most. Other than that, everything else was explained. Again, great effort.

11 November 2003, 10:21 PM
Awesome job awesome job :bow:

I like the storyboard, the animation and the expression in the character faces...

Good story telling.

Sorry for the fanboy post.

Five star.

11 November 2003, 12:03 AM
I enjoyed this quite a lot.
Great effort.
The only thing that could have done with more effort was the ball, in my opinion anyway,the motion was ok,but as others have mentioned you need to work on the inn's and outs of the ball.The ball could do with a little squash and stretch also.
All in all though a fantastic effort. : :applause: :beer: :bowdown:

11 November 2003, 02:45 AM
I agree with whats being said about the quality of the piece in general and with not following through our original character to the end. You need to pick him out of the crowd again somehow... The subtle facial expressions are right on. You can see him thinking... a trademark of of good character animation.
How do they get the ball back? Wouldn't it be funny if it ended with them all spinning frantically in place "Well, what do we do now?"

11 November 2003, 03:17 AM
Einfach ausgezeichnet!

I'll just add my echo what everyone else has already said. It really is a charming and wonderful piece, especially for a first film. I read your production notes and I am very impressed with your thoroughness.

The shot where the goalie stops the ball with his hand is GREAT- very clever and funny in a sort of Terry Gilliam way.

Too bad about the Morricone score...I'm familiar with that music and I think it would've been a great choice.
Things to improve are:

Don't use so many "sudden cuts to a closeup of the eyes." This happens a LOT in your animation, and it starts to feel repetitive, as well as confusing.

Maybe it's just me, but the white color of the eyes is sort of disturbing, like there's a human soul somehow trapped in the little foosball guy. You might wish to try shading the eyes in a color closer to the "player"- blue or orange. Also, all the players have *exactly the same face*, which feels sort of strange- if you're going to include facial closeups of all the characters, it would probably be a good idea to differentiate them somehow.

You might maybe include more long shots to help the viewer follow the action. It's obvious from the context what's going on, but it's a little hard to follow exactly where the ball's supposed to be at any point.

Others have said this too, but I'll just repeat it: If it's the orange guy who's having this fantasy, shouldn't HE be the one to score the goal at the end? He must have pretty low self-esteem to be dreaming of losing...;)

These are all minor quibbles, Once again, great work.


11 November 2003, 04:14 AM
great work....wonderfully executed

11 November 2003, 11:30 AM
Pretty neat..
Things that bugged me are that.
How did the one guy have a hand? No hands in foosball! :D
the guys didn't swing as foosball players either, but rather bent.. It felt unfoosy
And also.. I didn't like how the guy is grinning after missing a goal in his own dream.

Most of all i liked the nicely textured/rendered table.

11 November 2003, 11:53 AM
A few more comments on some of the posts:

Thanks for voting for me. I can well imagine what it must feel like when you see an idea you have yourself being already put into action by someone else. It happened to me about 2 months into working on the film when I saw a print ad that featured the exact same type of foosball players with one breaking free from the bar and running away (with cute little arms and legs). But in the end, this didn't stop me.

About the trying to follow the ball: The problem that I had was, that a on real foosball table the ball moves A LOT faster than i the film. The difficulty for me was to slow and still make it look fast. Where exactly do you think people could have a hard time figuring out what's going on?

And finally, about this whole "Why does the initial player smile, although in his dream he's part of the loosing team?"-issue...
Well, I could say that this is about olympic spirit, the fun being to play not to win, or I might even point out that we don't know what exactly he's dreaming of at the time we see him smile (maybe at this time his team is scoring).

But here's what really was the case: It began with a slight and overlooked mistake in the planning stage that I didn't have the time to correct in the end. I started out with this red player in the beginning, then planned what was going to happen during the game, where the ball would be and so on. And it just so happened that it was a red player who stops the ball with his hand. At that point I had created a dilemma that I only became aware of when I was already animating: I couldn't let a cheating team win, could I? I didn't have the time to correct my mistake an so you have to live with it. ;) But I think the message that it's not important who wins as long as you have fun, is not a bad one, is it?


11 November 2003, 05:51 PM
>Where exactly do you think people could have a hard time figuring out what's going on?


It's really difficult to express this in writing, but here's my best try:

There are not enough camera shots in your animation which show a large part of the field. Since the only thing differentiating the players is their color, it's really hard to get a sense of where the ball is at any time. For example, I thought the player using his hand was the *goalkeeper*...there's nothing in the shot to indicate that isn't the case.

Consider showing the players *anticipate* what's going to happen...for example, as one player prepares to kick, another player moves to block it. Maybe the players move like *real* foosball players- a whole row of players rotates and moves together, which would help the viewer relate the action to the whole field..

If you have the stamina to continue reworking this, I'd recommend drawing storyboards until the thing is rock-solid; that is, until you can show the boards to someone and they understand the story perfectly. THEN start animating.

11 November 2003, 08:51 PM
thats a great movie!!!!!:buttrock: :buttrock:

12 December 2003, 11:33 AM

thanks for the input. Now that you've mentioned it, I realized that there is indeed only one shot that shows almost the whole playing field (when the ball hits the middle row and makes them spin). I never really noticed it. I think I was too focused on putting the viewers into perspectives that they wouldn't normally have when playing foosball.

Even though I didn't draw storyboards any further than when the game starts, I did show the film to a test audience at various stages. I constantly made previews or rendered out scenes at low res in the background to show to people which had me adjust the timing and lenghts of the shots quite considerably.

About going back and doing "the directors cut with previously unseen material"... I probably don't have the stamina. I'd rather embark on a new project and take heed of all the good advice I got from those who watched Kicker.


12 December 2003, 05:12 PM
About going back and doing "the directors cut with previously unseen material"... I probably don't have the stamina. I'd rather embark on a new project and take heed of all the good advice I got from those who watched Kicker.


That's probably the best path to take.

"Kicker" was an excellent start...I can't wait to see your next endeavor. Good luck!


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