February-2012- Principle of Weight


Alright since there is interest in animating with a monthly focus here it goes.

This month I decided on a basic key element of weight, we can easily have characters or objects of completely identical size and shape that convey different weights. This is done by how long it takes them to move, poses suggesting struggle, how much anticipation there is in interaction and other various techniques. So the goal for this month is to come out of it more confident in properly expressing weight along with more creative ways to showcase it in your personal reels. Because everyone has different levels of experience and varying amounts of free time to commit to side tasks like this challenge I broke it into 3 tiers, someone might want to do a tier a week, others might want to just commit to one for the whole month.

Here are the tiers:

Tier 1 :):

Concept: Animate a character staying in place picking up an object (around 10 seconds long)

Focus: Conveying the weight of the object being acted upon, try to do this with creativity instead of the redundant character picking up heavy box/barrel/ball/etc maybe something as subtle as a hand picking up a can on a shelf.

Tier 2 :D:

Concept: Animate a moving character (walking up to an object, pushing object, etc) interacting with the object.

Focus: Now you are conveying the weight of the object and the character fully, you might have a massive character pick up something like a small pebble, keep in mind lots of animation is subtle so it’s easy to do an extreme like a massive rock being lifted. Think about things like when you lift a pencil how do you visually know it is light? maybe because you can balance it on a pinkie?
[b]Tier 3 :cool::

[/b]Concept: Animate 2 characters interacting physically to convey both of their weights in an interesting way.

Focus: The key here is interacting physically maybe a mother picking up a child to see out a window, or two characters wrestling and tossing each other around. This will really work on the use of constraints as well to properly convey interaction. This is for those who want a completed sequence of quality animation conveying weight, creativity, and interest between characters. The fact that the object (box,ball,prisim,etc.) is now animated and living too creates new issues and challenges for animation.

Please share posts related to this month in this thread, and for suggestions on improving the challenge in the future, thoughts on it like if you think the tier idea is good or bad post those in the general thread here: http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=7227540

Lastly try to use your creativity to the fullest, if you are thinking of doing an animation/scene that you have scene in 125091238 demo reels think of something new. This is to improve your creativity and give you a unique clip to expand on or keep as is for your reel if you want. Everyone has seen the typical character try to lift heavy brick/rock/ball/cube/your object here. What about a hand twirling a pencil around the fingers? A guy lifting a vertical sliding door to a garage? think outside the norm. Weight is in every aspect of our life, take a day to watch people and contemplate what they do and how it visually conveys how much something weighs.

Good luck, have fun, and learn a thing or two! :beer:


One quick note:

When you post your WIP’s and animations for critique try to stick the frame numbers on them so that viewers can accurately point out strong and weak portions of the animation. For help doing this in after effects check here: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/aftereffects/cs/using/WS3878526689cb91655866c1103a9d3c597-7a3aa.html


sounds good, i was about to ask when you were going to post something… do we post a WIP here or start a new thread and post videos? i’m up for it.


Feel free to post here I don’t think we will have so many people that everyone needs individual threads.


Sounds good man. Should we add which tier we are doing to the video or just with the post? I dig the idea of the tiers btw :thumbsup:


Favian001 it is a good idea to post information about your work so that everyone has an idea what you are trying to do, each tier establishes simple goals so sharing which one you decided to focus on will help improve critique quality. I am glad you like the tier idea, I felt that it added some flexibility so more people can get something out of it.


Unfortunately I have been very busy this month thus far so I only invested a few hours into dabbling with a stationary character and a podium. I wanted to mess around with shifting his weight a little and very subtly having him act on the podium.



I’ve been busy myself but plan on uploading a WIP by this weekend, I’ll give you a brief crit though.

Good facial animation :applause:
Looks like you might have a couple floating keys in the hips in the beginning of the video.
Frame 206 and 274 the right arm extends fully, try leaving a bit of a bend to avoid it look like it’s breaking.
Frame 130-ish the left leg extends fully, try leaving a bit of a bend to avoid it look like it’s breaking.
Right hand thumb seems to be stuck in the closed position the entire animation.
Might want to speed up hand motion when waving in the air a bit.

Keep up the good work :thumbsup:


Thanks for the critique Favian! Unfortunately my drive that contained the animation file decided to die so I won’t be modifying it but there are plenty of new animation ideas out there for me to work on. I figure I will try to squeeze another project out this month to play with weight this time using constraints to act on an object.


dear friends
here is my first test to practice how to animate a shock momoent.

please feel free to leave any comments! I love to know my problems and lacks!


I think it’s pretty good, keep it up :smiley:


dear friends.i am posting here my small animation clip…



nice work evilromance my only thought was that his pose when he jumps slightly back from the black object his center of gravity may be a bit off, other than that splendid stuff!


thx Andrewty…thx for the comment…:slight_smile:


Hey Evil.R,

This works nicely, I like your sense of timing. Great poses too.
I think the head take 5 secs in feels strange seeing how the object went past him screen left. (He stares screen right.) I know he is unsure of what and where it came from, however I think if you take reference of an object flying high speed past you. You might be leaning in the direction it left trying to see if it will come back. That’s really my only crit. I like the snappy style you have!

Keep up the good work!


ooh nice comment man…i got a same comment from dreamworks supervisor…:).thx PuGs…


woah nice work man! timing posing and contrast! great work overall! keep it up


looks good man, i’ve gone thru the same phase before. i’d like to share my thoughts when switching from IK to FK is “hands Free, use FK” , “hands Interact, use IK” doesn’t apply true for all situations but a simple logic to keep in mind. basically if his hands need to stay locked into something, that’s the only time you’ll use IK otherwise stay FK to get nice arcs.

another thing to keep in mind is the floaty feeling, always either slow in / out of a pose and add a bit of cushion, not have it drift from one pose to the next. sorry i haven’t been as active lately, homework has gotten the best of my spare time. i’ll try and stay active with feed backs if these help. keep it up!


thx ragdoll… thx for the comment.:slight_smile:


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