| Character Animation | Leo Gives performance


Most recent version is towards bottom of page

Last week I finished up a first pass of another animation and it was animated in messiah:studio. I’d love to see what you all think.

Here’s the direct link, http://www.bubba-x.com/dl/Tmnt1.mov. The file is about 830kb.

I welcome all critiques (the good and the bad).

Thanks Everyone,


Hey man that was awesome.

I love the way you made it look like he was recorded but one of his buddies =).

The motions them selfs seem to be ok for the most part it was kind of short but worth a look.

He’s lowpoly i can see that, you can also notice little tweaks in the mesh when he moves. Such as his thigh the nearest to the camera actually that whole leg. you can notice how lowpoly it is and if it isn’t then something is wrong their.

I haven’t gotten to the stage of actual animation so i couldn’t tell cause i haven’t full understood or gotten the privledge to understand motion ‘sense’ yet.

Thanx for sharing i hope someone can help you out.


Hey Kelly,

I like the camera, too. Nice little touch. But, if you want this to be an animated motion study, then I think the camera is a little too distracting. It’s hard to really see what’s going on with the animation because of it.

As far as the animation goes, it’s a little stiff and ‘snappy’. He’s lacking the build up and release of power that happens when people do martial arts moves like this. I’d recommend finding some motion reference and studying the timing, follow-through and the offsetting of limbs in these kinds of motions. A good place to start is here:


Enter some key words like ‘karate’ on the right. This is a pretty good online motion reference database (remember this link, it’s great). You’ll have to pay to buy the clips, but you can watch them for free :slight_smile:

Other than that, your model looks solid and it seems to deform well (again, the camera could be hiding a lot). You just need to polish up the animation a little.

Good start - Jeremy


$!nz : thanks for looking. The model is a low poly model I did, and I think the tris add up to 3K for him. I’m glad you like it!

HumanZoetrope: thanks for the comments and suggestions. I honestly had no idea getty images had film stuff there. After hearing that, I’m all over that site like a bad rash! :confused: I’ll work on what you stated. That’s a very good point about the proper snaps that need to occur (the build up of energy and the release of the power). I’ll also play with the camer motions more. He probably is a little to jumpy.

Mucho thanks guys!


Ok, I’ve worked heavily on refining his movements, and would love to see those suggestions again! This time around, I didn’t work on the camera work for the other turtle holding the camera (but it’s planned).

Here’s the new link, http://www.bubba-x.com/dl/Test2.mov. This file is also about 810Kb. You can compare with the original at http://www.bubba-x.com/dl/Tmnt1.mov.




hey definite improvement! really should do something about that last kick though - it looks like hes just wailing somebody in the balls, not very martial artsy :stuck_out_tongue: keep working on it, you’ve improved a lot already!


Hmm…It’s a good start. I assume this is going to be some sort of a kata, 'cause it’s awefully slow for full-speed training. Ignoring that, there are still a few things to fix as far as form goes.

The third punch seems like more of a grab than a punch, as he doesn't really snap it, and it starts a little odd.
Both legs need to be streighter in the front kick (second one).  Kinda looks like he's going to fall over at this point.
His last pose needs work.  Even if there is a martial art that keeps the hand that close to the face, it's a rather feminine look.  Or, Leo thinks he's Dr Evil.  (-:


Adam Atomic: Thanks for looking and the comments. You know, I’ve thought about that kick just not as “artistic” towards the martial arts moves, so I’ll work on something else. I mean what really set it off…“wailing somebody in the balls…” <-- I just started busting out laughing (literally) when I read that.

Tahl’eN: Thank you too for your thoughts. It is a kata that he’s doing (and a rather basic one, as you can tell). The posing for the camera does need to be tweaked… but what if a brick hit Leo or something and he did get the personality of Dr. Evil? :slight_smile: Nah, I hear ya on that and it would need to be tweaked for the camera better. As commented to Atomic Adam, I’m going to drop that last kick and pose entirely.

Again thank you both! Anyone else have some ideas?

Thanks again,



Here I am again showing the latest changes with the animation. Thanks everyone for the last round, but of course… let me hear them again! All your comments are welcome (wanted :slight_smile: )

-I’ve added in some punch and kick reactions
-changed the last kick
-adjusted timing


Of course the older videos are up to compare as well.


Like always… Thanks,


much better - I’d still like to see some more shoulder movement, especially in the punches. The movement seems a little slow sometimes too - i mean, I wouldn’t particularly mind being punched by him at this rate :wink: an attack is all about impulse and impact, and you need speed for that! The form on the new end kick is quite nice. Keep at it!


Adam, thanks again for you feedback! I’m glad to hear things are doing better! I’ll play with the shoulders a little to see what kind of extensions I can get.


Hi. First off I want to say I love the idea and execution. It feels very cinamatic!

I’m taking an intense class on Character Animation at NYU so I’ve been studying motion for quite some time. One thing I would point out is that your character needs more “anticipation” into his actions, especially before he makes his first kick. If you keyframe him leaning back slightly before planting his grounding foot(just 3 to 4 subtle keyframes), then kicking, it would improve the animation. The kinectic action is always preceded by the exact “opposite” movement. For example, if a character is jumping up, he/she has to go down first.

Also, before he punches, he needs to inhale the potential energy, kinda like he’s gathering his Chi, so I think it would be cool to rotate his hips left or right, whatever is the opposite of the punching arm, BEFORE he punches.

Another thing to keep in mind in follow through and heiracrchy. For example, before his knee comes up, his hip comes up, and before his ankle comes up, his knee comes up, and so forth. It should be keyframed so that there is an offset in the Hip, Knee, Ankle, Toe, etc. Kinda like the motion of a whip.

Anyhow, keep up the good work! and look forward to more. Sorry if a ranted too much :slight_smile:


the_podman: Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, it’s been a crazy week! Anywho, these are great ideas you have! I thought I was doing some “recoiling” where he kinda builds up for the punches and kicks, but maybe it’s not exagerated enough.

The description of the kick snapping like a whip is a great visual, and I don’t think I’ve really set it up that way, but yer right, that’s the direction I was going with them.

Mucho thanks for your comments!


Glad I could help. I’m a student myself, so take it all with a grain of salt :slight_smile:
My Character Animation teacher is very “old-school” when in comes to animation. He always wants me to exagerate more. It’s the classic “Disney style” of animation that he likes. I prefer subtle exageration, I don’t want to get too cartoony.

Check out these great websites for motion studies:


here you can download animated examples or still frames.


the_podman, I think any feedback is great, so if you think it’s something to look into then I will! :slight_smile: I do agree though, I want to avoid trying the cartoon feel in this piece(you know mickey, donald and goofy) and drive it a little more realistic.

10sec is an awesome place! I’ve been a member there for a little while, and those people are amazing! I totally get a kick out of the monthly contests!

I’ll have to check out freetoon; I’ve never heard of it.

Again, mucho thanks!




Hi, just curious as to what app you used to model and texture this project? MAYA, MAX.

I just went on project messiah’s website and it was blowing me away! Is messiah that easy to use for animation?

I’m using MAYA right now to do my animation final for school. I’ve built the rigg for my characters entirely from scratch in MAYA and it took soooo long. How is it with messiah?

Sorry for all the questions, just wanted to know cause I may just purchase the messiah animation package soon.

How’s the animation going?



LOL My background has been mainly lightwave, but I was schooled in 3Dstudio and 3DsMax. From my experience, Messiah has a huge speed advantage vs maya and lightwave, but I honestly don’t know for max.

While most of the time bones work, there are times when adding bones seems to be a struggle. What I’m referring to is weightmaps for bones. In maya, and many other apps you have to paint those weights to help set up your character for better bone control. In messiah, it is an option to use weighting and set up your own weight, but the bones usually rock and have a great influence on the rig/setup as a whole.

Now there are those moments where when you do want to add some bones they get a little tricky with movement in its 3d space (but it doesn’t affect the movement of the bones when animating). If you’ve played with LW then you’ll know what I’m referring to for set up and bone placement.

But I’ve been quite happy with messiah. I run the studio version, and the renderer is still being worked on, but that may change since they just stated that ver. 2 will be out soon. <-- WOOT!! :slight_smile:

Also it is very kew how messiah plugs into your host app. Bone data isn’t transfered but the deformation occurs on the fly/realtime. I’m still amazed at how interactive the host app and messiah are.

Since messiah communicates with multiple apps, if rendering is your thing, you know have many more possibities. You could model in maya. Then animate in messiah, and render in lightwave. Of max would work (and just think of all those different rendering engines not availble directly for maya and lightwave).

I personally would say keep learning maya. Since alias has made it a package in most studios, you can’t go wrong with the technical, but as we all know the tools are just a minor part, skill can be transfered from one tool to the next. Also, I recall project deadline massivly crazy (or way back in the day for me), so throwing in another app on top of all this could become quite insane.

I do encourage you to go dl the demo [www.projectmessiah.com] because of the fun and ease, and the HUGE smile it puts on your face. The main reason is, you get to try it without buying it. There are a few tutorial, and a growing community of people, including myself who would help you learn/play with it ~ hell many of us continually play with since it’s just a baby (but a very powerful baby).


Whoops, I forgot about the animating…

It’s going, but it’s died down again. I’ve had 2 massive projects and a girlfriend’s bday keep me away from it. It is going well though, I’ve got rats running around, and mousers trying to break through the wall… I can’t wait to show this version! :slight_smile:

Thanks for asking… What are you working on in school right now?


Cool, lot’s of info, thanks!

My main concern is that, I want to integrate a very “simple” animation package into Maya to speed up my workflow. I’m not a big fan of the way Maya 5 handles animation. You can’t see anything in “realtime” unless you do a playblast first and even that takes forever. It’s hard to get instant feedback on the motion the way you would in Motion Builder or other similar packages. I hate it, cause I really like everything else about Maya, just not animating in it. It’s a real drag sometimes. I can rigg in it no prob!

I’m working on about a 58 second animation. In fact, it’s due tommorow and I’m rendering as we speak : ) 2046 frames. I designed, modeled, textured, and animated everything with Maya 5 and Photoshop 7. Here are some screenshots. Also working on a Knight which I posted here but no one seems to care :frowning: …sniff, sniff…

Here are some pics of my final. Thanks for all the info! You’ve been very helpful and I hope I’ve been the same!




Originally posted by kvernon

It’s going, but it’s died down again. I’ve had 2 massive projects and a girlfriend’s bday keep me away from it.

the root of evil :slight_smile:

I personally think the animation lacks muck. The movements are still way too snappy and slow. I don’t know if you try to anticipate with the first kick there, but it’s not working well. I also don’t feel any power in it. I also think you should add a bit of translate in the Y axis to create a bit movement in the hip.

But I see great improvment. Keep it up.