Strange Behavior (Animation) Entry: Vikram K. Mulligan


I’ve finished rigging the Thin Man up for animation. I still need to do the same for the Fat Man, but I can get started on animating some of the Thin Man shots right away.


It looks like my reach exceeded my grasp on this project. I’ve got a heck of a lot to do this week with work and other commitments, and the only way I’ll get this project done is if I either work night and day on it or if I do a sloppy job. I don’t want to do either, so I’ll pull out of this contest. I’m going to finish the animation, though – it just won’t be by Monday.

Thanks, as always, to the organizers for putting together a great challenge with very exciting prizes to motivate us. Thanks also to those who offered encouragement and constructive criticism as I went along. I certainly leared a great deal about character modelling and rigging, and I will be applying it later on, when I finish this animation.


Hey Vikram, pitty that you could not make it in time - and my experience is that entushiasam can be weaker after deadline passes… but I hope you will find strenght to finish your work after the contest…! :wise:


Thanks, Nenad. I’ll probably do a final rendering of my models and submit that, plus an animation showing stages of the modelling, texturing, etc. I can throw that together on the weekend. I’m like you in that I tend to be less likely to get things done if I don’t have a looming deadline. Still, I do intend to finish this animation in the weeks to come.


I’ve started working on the animation, now. Here’s a frame from the opening sequence, with the Thin Man carrying the box of biscuits to the park bench. I still need to drop in a suitable background…


Software: Darktree,Maya,mental ray,Photoshop,Wings3D,ZBrush

I’ve finished the animation for the opening sequence, now. Here’s the hardware-rendered previsualization.

Play Video >>


Here’s a compositing test for the opening shot. I’ve rendered out in four layers: the background (which is stitched together from some photos I took in a Toronto park), the foreground trees (ray-traced with Mental Ray), the sign (scanline rendered with Mental Ray), and the Thin Man (also scanline rendered with Mental Ray). Blurring is done in post, which is computationally much less intensive than using true depth of field blur.


Hello Vikram!
great work so far. I know there are 2 weeks left so you could find some time for fixes. I mean look at right shoulder it looks odd in in motion ,I know it’s probably the hardest bone to rig but it lowers the overall quality very badly. You could also fix jaw - it looks unnatural in 1st take you can use shape morph f.e. You can also make him breathe (some chest animation) It would help bring him to live imo.
Hope this can help you
good luck!!


Thanks for the comments, Bartosz. You’re right about the problems with the shoulder and the jaw, and given time, I would go back and fix them. I’ve got quite a lot of animating and rendering to do in the next two weeks, unfortunately, so I’ll only be doing fixes at the very end, if there’s time.

As it is, the Thin Man doesn’t look quite so bad in the rendered version as he does in the preview. The grey spheres visible in the preview are rigging objects that are not visible in the final render. But no, this isn’t Pixar-quality animation by any means :slight_smile: .


Tehnically very clever… it seems that you are thinking good and rational before you ponder into the scene. Thats good :slight_smile: . Time is short even with time expansion…! Hope you can finish it soon! There is much of work, because of human realistic characters. Best of luck!


Thanks, Nenad. Yes, I’m trying to design these shots to minimize render times, though it’s still five to ten minutes per frame on my dual-core 3 GHz Pentium IV with 1 GB RAM. I’ve finished rendering two of the shots, now, but as you say, time is short (and I have a lot to do on this still). There won’t be a whole lot in the way of updates for a few days, since it’s just render, render, render right now.


In case anyone thinks I’ve forgotten about rigging the Fat Man – here he is!


Hey, folks. Sorry for the lack of updates. The last week or so has just seen a lot of rendering, so my computer’s been tied up. I will finish on time, though. I didn’t have time to finish the entire short film, but I have enough material for a trailer that definitely shows some pretty strange behaviour. The trailer will be my competition entry, and I’ll finish the film on my own time.


so how long will the finished animation be? i think for this competition you are stuck w/ a 2 minute maximum time limit. just a heads up. not sure how strictly that will be enforced.

will be interested in seeing the animation in its finished form…the story is pretty clever.


The trailer (which will serve as my entry in the contest) is under a minute. I don’t think I could render out more than two minutes of animation! Thanks for the heads up, though.


Apologies. Double post.


Here’s the final rendering. Programs used:

–DarkTree 2.51 (texturing)
–Maya 7 (modelling, lighting, animation)
–Mental Ray (rendering)
–Photoshop CS (texturing, retouching, background photo manipulation)
–Roadkill 1.1 (UV assignments)
–Shave and a Haircut 4.5 (hair)
–Wings 3D 0.98.36 (modelling)
–ZBrush 3.1 (modelling, texturing)


Software: Darktree,Maya,mental ray,Photoshop,Wings3D,ZBrush

Here is the completed render, a trailer for a short film that I hope to complete in the next month or so. A few points:

  1. The TRAILER is my final entry for the competition. (I didn’t have time to finish the full short film).
  2. The trailer doesn’t give away the film’s punch line. For that, see my storyboards :slight_smile: .
  3. There’s no sound. I don’t know much about sound editing, so I didn’t worry about that. My sister, who is quite musically talented, has volunteered to do the soundtrack for the final film, but that will have to wait until she has some free time.
  4. This is my first attempt at character animation of any length, so it’s a little rough around the edges. I learned quite a bit as I went along.

For the complete list of programs used, see the previous post.

Play Video >>


this looks funny. those facial expressions are really good. subtle and expressive, you know exactly what each guy is thinking. very good, especially since this is your first character animation.


Hey, thanks a lot Casey. I was hoping I’d be able to give the faces enough expression. Actually, I think it worked better for the fat man than for the thin man. This is partly because I did the blend shapes for the fat man after those for the thin man. I think I did a slightly better job the second time around.