View Full Version : Dominance War V - Animation - theANMATOR - God of Darkness

04 April 2011, 03:01 PM
First time Doninance War entry for me.
I've been waiting for animation to be added to the challenge for FIVE years!
Thanks to the DW officials for adding an animation challenge and thanks to the modelers for providing the high quality models.

I don't know if I'm joining at the eleventh hour or not, but I plan to give 101% effort and I hope to be humbled by critiques from the excellent animators who are part of this great community.

Thanks in advance for any help offered.

I will be using the model created by neverwinter.

04 April 2011, 06:51 PM
Storyboard has been completed.

I'm also working on the animatic and rigging the model.

I want to focus on the debut/entry aspect for the animation and build up the "status" of the God by showing his strength and power in a measured progression throughout the entire animation.

So after putting the boards together I felt the ending of the animation happens too quick so I have broken the establishing shot into three shorter cuts. This has given me an additional two seconds that I will use in the final shot.
I will update with the animatic as soon as I get it timed correctly.

Please excuse the rough drawings in the boards. Since time is quickly ticking away I wanted to get my ideas down so I could present them to the community.
Let me know what you think, all critiques and suggestions are welcome. Everything is modifiable at this point.

04 April 2011, 02:56 PM
The embedded storyboard image is a little hard to read.

Here is a higher quality image (

04 April 2011, 06:40 PM
Nice work man! I like the idea that he was summoned from another world. BTW, may I suggest that maybe you can try to add or modify the shot right before the munk was stepped on, for example, adding a shot from the munk's POV will probably emphersize the power of the demon god even more...... :buttrock:

04 April 2011, 07:41 PM
Thanks for the suggestion Hsiang.

I want to show the Demon God reacting to the Summoners order to destroy the town with Rage. The rage will be directed towards the town so I decided to position the camera between the Demon God and the town, showing the Demon God roaring and walking directly towards the camera.

04 April 2011, 06:02 PM
I recognized I got a little bit too flashy with the camera cuts on my storyboard.
Taking a break from rigging/skinning I created a basic camera pre-vis/animatic to see the pacing of the shots and I really don't like it.
As mentioned before I wanted more time at the end of the animation for the last shot so I cut the intro into two shorter cuts which gave me some more time, but ultimately doesn't solve the real problem I'm having which is to add more time so I can show more subtly and emotion.

Camera pre-vis1 link (
Camera pre-vis2 link (

I know I broke a couple cinematography rules in the second one, but I wanted to see what it would look like.
I'm pretty sure I can accomplish what I'd like to show in 3-4 camera cuts instead of 6-8, and by staying with a camera cut longer I think I'll be able to show more emotion from the Demon God.
So I'm reworking the cuts and hope to have a new pre-vis up later today.

Anybody with suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them.

05 May 2011, 06:50 PM
I've completed the environment and the Summoner model.

Pretty tough keeping all objects below 750 tris.

Here's a rough concept and composite of the Summoner.

I really wanted to get some additional clothing pieces for the Summoner but I had to make a choice between adding enough geometry in the face and hands or have some secondary animatable clothing pieces.

05 May 2011, 12:51 AM
Hey man just looked at your summoner model, i think you will run into trouble when you try to animate him if you don't add a couple more edge loops around his joints. you could probably take some geo away from his face since you probably won't do any facial animation/E.C.U s on him anyway.

good luck w/ the project!

05 May 2011, 02:48 AM
Thanks for the heads up Rico. I'm actually planning to do some brief facial animation for the Summoner as well as the Demon God. I had originally thought to have more facial performance from the Summoner character than how much will be in the final comp but there will still be one shot with him performing.

Here's an image of the back of the Summoner model. I believe there is enough geometry in the most important joints, the elbows and the shoulders. I couldn't have animated him without the added edges on the back side of the elbows and hopefully the shoulder will deform alright with the limited geometry.

05 May 2011, 03:15 AM
Morph's for the facial animation I have planned.
Originally I wanted to use bones for the facial animation but I decided to use morphs instead since I will only be using these characters for this animation.

05 May 2011, 02:52 PM
Here's the animation rig using biped and some additional bones for mesh support.
I built up the wings pretty heavily since I want them to be wrapped around the Demon God's body as he emerges from the well/portal, as if he's been in hibernation for a long time wrapped in a protective cocoon.

05 May 2011, 01:44 AM
My oh my, look at all those bones in the wings! You are brave, my friend. Looking forward to seeing the animation.:thumbsup:

05 May 2011, 03:39 AM
Yeah, it's pretty heavy, but so far it's manageable.
I tried a couple stretchy bone setups, but they didn't perform as expected. So since the model has ample geometry I just went with a heavy rig for the wings to keep the geometry from collapsing in on itself when the wings are wrapped around the rest of the model.

05 May 2011, 02:00 PM
First Pass Animation complete. biped/bones only.

I'm still not satisfied with the camera work, but it's what I'm going with.
If anybody has any suggestions on the cameras or anything else please let me know.


05 May 2011, 03:24 PM
Hey, looking cool! One thing I notice is the cut around 15-16 seconds. The guy is backs up to end up screen right and then after the cut of the god walking and towards the city, he's screen left. It's a little jarring, so maybe you could simplify that by removing the cut and just having the camera sweep around the god as he stomps down and start to walk forward.


05 May 2011, 05:14 PM
Good catch, I didn't even see that. And good suggestion, I think that may work, as long as the camera rotation isn't too fast.

Thanks for the help Jim. These camera's have been fighting me the whole way, but it's partially due to the 20 second limit. I'd really like to have 65 more key frames to work with.
That would give me one more second for the Demon God to emote when he wakes and one more second to smooth out the end shot.

05 May 2011, 04:32 AM
It looks like the competition deadline has been extended to May 23rd.

I'm going to stick with the original deadline since I've already laid out this weekend to finish.
The plan is to finish by Sunday evening unless I get hung up on something or I see something that can be improved.
As it is now, everything is going pretty good.

Here is the 2nd animation pass with skinned meshes. (

I know there's a lot of mesh intersects and skinning artifacts. I plan to address those after I've put more attitude and emotion into the animations. :)
I combined the last two shots into one continuous shot. (Thanks Jim)

Let me know what you think.

05 May 2011, 04:50 PM
Well I quickly changed my mind and decided to use the extended deadline to my benefit.
Here is the 3rd Animation Pass.
I still have a lot of linear keys and much to do but it's coming along.
I messed with lighting this weekend and identified a bunch of lighting setups I won't be using and don't like. :)
I wasted a lot of time with it and may just decide to use default lighting, since this is an animation challenge after all.
I do want the finished piece to look good though, so I may mess with lighting some more,,, after the animation is complete.

I've also worked the original eight shots I had planned into four final shots which I think keep continuity much better.

Let me know what you guys think.

05 May 2011, 06:42 PM
Hey there theANMATOR2B, I checked out your latest vid. The initial casting that the wizard does is looking much better. Also, I love the little body flop he does at the end after he gets stepped on. Nice touch, haha!

Here's some thoughts on what I'd touch up with the extra time (in chronological order):
- The shot where the demon looks at one hand, then the other, seems weird to me. I might consider changing that move slightly. Why not make him lift one arm, slowly balling his hand into a fist, then the other (only slightly offset, so it's not two individual motions), also balling it into a fist, then jerking his arms tight as if he pulled his fists, biceps, and forearms tight. Maybe avoid having him look at his hands with his head. Make it more of a move where he is coming out of stasis, vs. he is just born and discovering he has two arms.
-When the wizard gives him the order to attack the castle in the background, I'd make him gesture less (maybe one big gesture motioning towards the castle) and don't even look back at the demon. The wizard thinks he's in control of him, no need to look back at him quick to see if he understood the order.
- When the demon screams and there's camera shake, why not make the torches fall over due to the blast of power?
- When the demon stomps on the mage in passing, he flexes his right arm and looks down at him. I'd take that out and make him stomp over him as if he was nothing. Don't acknowledge the wizard with his upper body, since he hasn't with his lower.

Good luck with the extended week's time. I know I definitely can use it. I've got so much work left, heheh!

05 May 2011, 10:01 PM
Hey, great to see you will keep working on your animation this week. I like your animation idea and how it is developing. I have watched the different iterations of the video and hope the following feedback is useful.

I think it would help to raise the camera a little earlier, as the God is emerging. I like the overall effect of him spinning and rising and love the work you have done setting up the wings. Perhaps we can point to his face just a little earlier. The God seems like he is intentionally stepping on the monk - is that the case? Seems the monk might try to turn and run. I see him reacting to the advancing God and realize there wouldn't be much time to move. Maybe he backs up some a little earlier.

A disconnect for me is the God dimming the moon when the moon is a reflective surface and not a source of light. I think dimming the moon is a really cool and powerful idea, and am wondering if it could be done with cloud cover or you can adjust the light of the sky along with the moon to make it more clear that he has cast darkness over the sun that is illuminating the moon. Or he casts his darkness across the sky where the sun is setting or has set, and we cut back to the moon that dims.

It seems the flying toward the town is still a little quick. I am wondering if you can build up a few more objects in the town area or extend that scene a little or do a cut to over the city where we see the God approaching.

I hope these points are useful. I am looking forward to seeing how your animation develops.

05 May 2011, 02:55 PM
Gatecrasher: Thanks for the very thorough critique.

- You perfectly described in detail the exact intentions Iím going for with the shot of the Demon God looking at his arms. This shot is still very linear and Iím currently working on it to smooth out the keys and add more dynamic motion to his movements as you suggested.

- I like the suggestion you made for the Summoner/Wizardís gestures. I think by reducing his flailing movements I will be able to add some much needed keys to the last shot.

- Your idea about the scones/torches falling over is exactly what I plan to do. I was originally going to show them flickering out but I think a more aggressive blast as you described will look better.

Ishkur13: I really appreciate the feedback. Youíve given me much to consider.

I intentionally kept the camera low on the first shot to make the reveal of the Demon God a little bit suspenseful, to establish his awakening as he is being summoned from the portal. Are you suggesting opening the wings sooner and rotating the camera up to reveal more of his upper body as he is emerging from the portal?

On the last shot when the Demon God steps on the Summoner/Monk, initially I had the God just mowing him over without acknowledging he was even there. But the Demonís movements felt a little unattached from the scene so I adjusted his motion to look like he was intentionally stepping on him.

I like your idea of showing the Summoner move back before he gets squashed.

Iím going to work on this some more with your and Gatecrasherís suggestions.

I really had the same thought about the moon getting dimmed. So even though itís a night time scene and the moon is full we could assume the God of Darkness is so powerful he is dimming the Sun which is on the other side of the planet, which in turn dims the reflected light from the moon.

That was my thought anyway, but I like your idea to adjust the sky at the same time the moon is dimming.

I feel the movement towards the town is still too fast also. I think I can add a little bit more time to this shot by reducing the gestures of the Summoner in the previous shot as Gatecrasher had suggested.

Thanks for in-depth reviews and good luck completing your own animations

05 May 2011, 12:03 AM
Here is the 4th Pass with updates. (
I changed up the second shot quite a bit because the original concept wasn't working. I incorporated a variation of an idea Gatecrasher suggested for the second shot and modified the movement of the Summoner in the third shot which gave me almost two additional seconds for the last shot.
I believe this has made the timing of the last camera cut look better. I think the second and third shot are a bit disconnected but it may come together when the movements are smoothed out better.

I kept the upper body motion of the Demon God intentionally gesturing to stomp on the Summoner because when I modified the movement to look like the Demon God stomped on him without paying him any mind, it looked to me as if the Demon God accidentally steps on him.
I originally wanted the Summoner to be destroyed by the Demon God without even being acknowledged, but I don't want it to look like the death of the Summoner is accidental or happenstance.

I still have quite a bit to do, but I think the animation overall is coming together.

05 May 2011, 09:00 PM
I needed to take a quick break so I thought I'd share a little funny.

MorphCamera (

I call it the morph camera. Linked and oriented to the head so you can really see if your hitting the morphs on the correct keys. haha, it's also good for a quick laugh.


OK, going back to work.

05 May 2011, 05:37 AM
5th animation pass uploaded.
Animation (

I worked on a lot of subtle things including fixing some skinning errors. Those darn shoulders!!
Morphs are pretty much complete.
A lot of animation added to the wings.
Added animation to the environmental objects when the Demon God roars.
Audio added, may still put in some sound effects, but I'm not sure.
Secondary animation still yet to be added to the last shot.

Still have a list of things to complete including lighting (Grrr) but the list is getting shorter.

05 May 2011, 06:12 AM
Here's my final submission.

Dominance War V Final Animation ( on vimeo

Lower quality youtube version (

For some unfortunate reason only youtube videos are showing up on the final submission pages.

I had a very insightful learning experience.

Thanks to everybody who offered feedback and thanks to Dmitry Gaborak for the awesome model.
I hope I did it justice.

05 May 2011, 05:00 PM
Nice! I like when the monster hits the moon and it 'turns off'. I like the rendering you did to, as well as the lighting. Good job! :)

05 May 2011, 05:45 PM
Thanks Garrick. I really like the changes you made to your final version as well. The mountain destruction looks a lot better.
I noticed a lot of other submissions from the other communities that really went into debris/particles and destruction similar to your final submission. Great job.

I think I may have went a little overboard with the rendering, but before starting I read an article from last years 3D Dominance War winner and he said if there's one thing he would focus on in the future was polish and becoming friendly with mental ray! So I took two additional days just to render with a mental ray lighting configuration. haha.

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