Character Studio/Game Animations


UPDATE: Latest versions of these animations listed below (updated 12/9/07):

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Hi everyone. I’m putting together a new reel with more of a focus on game animation. To that end, I’ve begun creating several short action vignettes using just CS bones; these will be placed at various points throughout the reel alongside the stuff I’ve done that’s more “finished”.

I'm going to try to keep this thread fresh with new clips and updates; I have a whole list of brief animations planned.

This first one is a ladder climb. If you have a minute, let me know what you think, and what needs more work:

<–link outdated–>


Thanks for stopping by!


hi Kevin
nice idea keepin all the anims in one thread

mi tuppence:

this first anim is looking quite smart - maybe a bit fast going up the ladder and there may need to be a bit more body weighting before the next leg goes up… not much …few frames extra hold should sort it?

at the top, the blue foot that first steps onto the roof lifts a bit too high, maybe try making that less of a ‘stomp’

the straightening of the body at the end may come a little later it seems fairly quick here… almost looks like he’s gonna swing backward and fall off again lol! if you were near the edge would you straighten up at that point or take another step keeping your weight a bit further forward before straightening up? Just a suggestion on this one its still really nice :slight_smile:

great work mate I’ll keep me peepers out on this thread :thumbsup:


Thanks Anthony. I agree with pretty much everything you pointed out, I’ll take a look at all of these today.

The only thing I might leave the same though is the overall speed, mainly because it’s intended as part of a game and as such I feel like it needs to be a little bit speedy. If this were an NPC in a FPS, for example, who told the player “Follow me up to the top level,” I think it would be sort of annoying to have to wait more than a few seconds for the NPC to finish the climb. Your thoughts?

Thanks again for your feedback!


Here’s a quick update to the ladder animation:

<—link removed because it’s outdated–>


Hmm… since this is for a game I’d imagine all the transitions would be dealt with in the engine. However, since you’d be showing it off on a reel or something, I suggest smoothing out the move from walking to climbing. He does kind of a sudden stop before he gets onto the ladder. Try to transition between 1 step in the walk, so that the other foot goes forward and up onto a step (think Assassin’s Creed parkour transitions, which are basically seamless). Matter fact, you could have him jump the first step to make it more interesting

At the end, those two last steps are bothering me. Why not just take bigger steps before those? Iono, kinda nit-picky, but I think they’re unnecessary. Anyway great work on the rest. Cool poses as well! Good luck!


Thanks, Sam. I agree that the hard stop before climbing is not working. I’ll take a look at some Assassin’s Creed. Do you have mean around 4:57 in this video?:

Those last steps are there at the end so that he puts some distance between himself and the edge before leaning back again. I can see why they would bother though, because I think they need to be refined further to look more natural. I’ll take a look at that next session.

Thanks for checking it out!


Hmmm that’s a bad example. I just meant how most of their animations blend into the next pretty seamlessly. They’ve really done it well in that game. Anyway I just thought there was too much of a hold in yours (or maybe it’s ok, since AC has something similar), lol. I think if it was a more fluid motion instead of… take a step, think about it, go… then it would work a little better. Just icing really. What you have works well :smiley:


Hey, thanks! Seems like going for the icing can only help this one where it stands now, so I’ll probably take another pass anyway just to refine.


hey Kevin,

I agree with Mistasam’s notes on the start/transition into climb bit and yeah the last coupla steps heres my tips:

the blue foot that first plants on top is now much better, the green step afterward wants to be a bigger step too. Couple this with his leaning forward spine and it should look quite smart. The steps after that motion want to be bigger too - maybe carry them on smoothly into a walk off screen?
good update tho - think you should have it nailed for the 3rd version with the amends everyone has listed :slight_smile:



Hey thanks guys. I sat down this morning to incorporate both a faster run-up into the main cimbing motion, and adjust the ending. But it looks like I might only be able to adjust the ending/middle for this particular piece. The reason is that sliding the body horizontal/vertical keys causes MAX to crash, this is 100% reproducible if I touch the timeline keys when the COM is selected!

So, I can slide all the keys for the other parts backwards several frames, effectively reducing the time leading up to the climb. However, I can only create new motion for the COM over top of the old keys, as touching them causes max to crash for some reason. As you can imagine, this quickly becomes a mess. Since we’re mostly in agreement that the performance works with the brief pause at the start, I’m all for sticking to refining the ending to this piece and moving on. Your thoughts?

And if you guys have any idea as to what may be causing MAX to crash when attempting to manipulate COM keys, I would definitely appreciate your input. This piece can’t be saved I don’t think, I can’t even delete keys in the dope sheet. But for next time I would deifnitely like to keep this from happening if I can.


Use Maya? :smiley:


yep fix the ending - thats def the way to go - look forward to seein update :slight_smile:



Hah, yeah I would like to use Maya, I’m more at home there. That’s why I need the extra CS practice :).

Here’s an update to the ladder animation:

<—link removed because it’s outdated–>

Let me know what you think!


much much better - only minor quibble is the green foot on top now just needs finessing a bit. When it comes off the ladder then plants on the roof it seems to hold then quickly plant. Try smoothing that out a bit :slight_smile:

great stuff… now be nice and write something about my wip! :stuck_out_tongue: Wanna hear ppl’s thoughts!


Moving on, for now. Here’s my first stab at a drag cycle with a guy dragging another guy to safety:

<—link removed because it’s outdated–>

Let me know what you think when you have a minute!


I like them nice work!


  • for a dragging loop it looks like the begginning pull kind of forced into a loop. Not really a fluid movement. I almost expect to see two other animations, a drag/walk and a drag/set down.
  • On the drag animation the knees on the injured person pop up and the right foot rotates kid of oddly for a loop.
  • It looks like all the key frames are landing on the same frames offsetting the frames might help. So the arms of the injrued guy wouldn’t be in perfect sync with the legs of the guy pulling.
  • The fingers are bent to mimic them resting on the ground but they don’t unfold when the arms come off the ground.
    The head of the guy pulling could look down just before he pulls and look up leading the body thru the pull.
  • If this was to be the only loop that played you should reduce the tugging and make it more fluid.
  • Personally if these where two soldiers I’m always in favor of of the one handed chest drag so one hand is free to keep holding a weapon. Or if two hands are needed over the shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

Keep at it, you’re showing some good promise!


Thanks Mark, for that extraordinarily detailed crit! I will take a look at each point next session. Been running around today, but I’ll be back on this tomorrow.


Here’s an update to the initial dragging piece:

<—link removed because it’s outdated–>

I think I got all of the points in your review, Mark. Let me know if anything looks wonky in this version.

To hit your last point I’ll probably add an alternate version, with this dragging configuration (but cycled):


Hey Kevin nice 2nd animation :slight_smile:
my only suggestion would be to possibly slow it down a touch? It feels a little fast for my personal liking esp. when you consider he’s pulling another characters weight.
2nd suggestion would be to add some offset to the keyframes on his head maybe?

again - they’re just little suggestions, the whole animation is still really nice :smiley:


Hey thanks Anthony. I’ll take a look at this today and try slowling it down and offsetting those head keys.

UPDATE: Adjusted the head, also slowed the overall motion and offset the dragger’s footfalls to give more of a sense of the draggee’s weight.

<—link removed because it’s outdated–>

Let me know what you think!