Undergraduate's 3D Character Animation

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  03 March 2013
Undergraduate's 3D Character Animation

Currently at university I am tasked with creating character animation. I have been given the choice of what model to use, while at the same time there are no marks for the model only for the animations.

As I am using 3DS Max 2013 and due to the conditions of this module I am using the Biped, rather than bones. I imagine that to use bones is very close to using the Biped, except the bone structure has to define what is a leg, what is an arm, what is a knee etc.

I shall be working on this through the next few days and weeks until I reach the deadline in April/May 2013.

There are two beginning stages: to animate a walking cycle and a prone to standing animation.

Walk Cycle

Prone to Standing

There is also a big scene that I shall start animating within days of this post.

The storyboard can be found here .

Essentially, the Storyboard shows two thieves trying to break into a house, unknowingly, a security guard approaches them.

  03 March 2013
Hey Howard

Looking good so far, a few crits to hopefully help.

Walk Cycle - This looks really nice so far. The feet have a slight case of (what I like to call) "Sticky Feet". It's when the character almost looks like he is having to pull his feet away from a very stick floor making a small but fast movement. You could combat this by rolling onto the toe of the plated key to leave the ground at a more natural point. This being said the character does not have a plantigrade style locomotion so I would experiment with that.

Prone to Standing - Love how this looks but it could stand to be a little bit more contained. The character shouldn't really travel that much distance, the feet should end up just in front of the body with a heavy emphasis on the arch as it lands. Check out this video for good reference - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2yS-9sI0dg.

Cant wait to see more updates!

  03 March 2013
A Deadlock at the Frontline

Hello Oli,

I shall look into making the changes for the feet - when I can(!)
What do you mean by "plantigrade style locomotion"? I have a look online and it is referring to Mammal motion. In what way do you mean this to be implemented into my walk cycle?

Thanks for the feedback for the kip up, I felt that the distance was too great, and that the arch should be more visible. I shall work on this in due time.

Apart from that,

The scene has more or less been created, there are a few minor changes to make, mainly lighting.

All the props have been created, unless I think of more in the future.

I shall being to animate this scene soon, but in the mean time as I have other university assignments to do.
I will be working on my sculpting within 3D Body Modelling , because it takes higher priority.

  03 March 2013
Hey Howard

I'm sorry if I was confusing in my feedback. I meant that the character does not have a plantigrade style of locomotion, it is digitigrade. Digitigrade animals generally have more speed but less stability. I would say look into the hind legs of cats but being upright makes it a little more difficult to find reliable reference as the hip would be rotated a good 90 degrees for it to be upright. Looking back at the walk cycle, he may be taking large strides but its hard to say, maybe shorten the pace a little and see if it flows more naturally.

Hope this helps

  03 March 2013
Thanks a lot Oli, your points came in useful for refining the animations - especially the prone to standing animation!

New walk cycle is here.

While the new prone to standing here.
  03 March 2013
Great start on the walk cycle. Looks a little bit like he/she/it is tip-toeing though.
  03 March 2013
Took what you said into consideration, which helped produce the latest work here:

As a reminder, here is the storyboard.

Here is the test render to the opening scene.

To keep things simple I have animated the scenes which require a basic walk cycle, such as somebody walking past or such.

Scene 4 in the storyboard has been slit up into 2 parts, one to show his location and his walk animation, while the second half is for when he hears something in the distance and it getting his attention.
First half is here , while the second half is here.

More to come...
  03 March 2013
A Horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse!


I have made the 3rd scene to the animation.

The main character is trying to open the window, he fails to do so and throws the hammer away, it lands on the companion's head and he screams, which gets the attention of the guard.

I see changes that need to be done, the fingers never move - that means the skinning is problematic.
There are some rogue polygons that are being cheeky, I need to sort these out.
The companion's foot moves up and down too rigidly, and not organic enough - that is gonna need changing.

Realistically, the next scene has already been animated, which is good because it saves time.

here is a reminder of the storyboard.

The first half of scene 3 is here , is it the main character trying to break into the window, but failing. He is frustrated and throws the hammer away.

The second half is here , the hammer lands on the companion's head, he yells in pain and this yell gets the attention of the guard in the next scene.

Scene 4 is split into two parts, the guard walking along, and then he hears the yell.

First half is here , the guard is walking along, patrolling the area.

The second half is here , the yell comes as a surprise to him and he realises there are burglars about.

I intend to animation each scene then fine tune and refine, followed by rendering out each scene in individual frames as Targa files.
These targs files will be put together as an uncompressed AVI, and each AVI will be put together to form the final video.

I intend to have all animations done by 6th April 2013.
  04 April 2013
6th April

I have managed to get all the animations done. The last one can be seen here .

I have managed to get a basic render of my final animation comepleted, as seen here I intend to edit this video and make it better, I may also render a scene or two again with a different camera angle.

The videos have to be at least 20 seconds, mine is about 1 minute 30 seconds, I intend to make this slightly shorter to keep the audience's attention.
  04 April 2013
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