"[Schlitzy Screentest contest] JTalbotski's WIP"


Well, I am most likely trying to animate this too quickly, since it seems very loose and disorganized movement-wise, but here’s another render of the first 2 shots combined into one movie file.


I’m pretty much animating this straight ahead without blocking out major poses. I’m thinking that’s a mistake right about now. He’s going through the motions, but there is no intensity or believablity to his actions. I know I have to make it snappier, hence my thought of redoing it in the pose to pose method. I don’t mind doing it over if it will allow me to improve the animation.

So my question is: Is pose to pose better? Should I switch? I’m not looking for encouragement, just real honest advice.:wink:



Hello, Jim!

Perhaps I shouldn’t be the one to give advice, but I’m going to anyway. First off, this looks like a good start to me. Why not build upon this? You mention a lack of intensity. To correct this, perhaps you should examine your existing poses and try to punch them up? For example, when Schlitzy begins to whistle, bunch up his shoulders and draw up his arms, so that it looks like he has to make a concerted effort to wheeze out a note.

Watching Jeff Lew’s training DVD, Jeff seems to prefer animating straight ahead, but he’s forever pausing and going back, and tweaking things, as he tries to punch up the character’s poses, so the animation looks more dramatic, and conveys more feeling.

I don’t believe pose to pose is intrinsically superior than straight ahead. At some point you’re going to have to add keyframes to make your character move in a snappy way, and to refine his posture so that his poses are stronger, and to adjust the timing. As far as I can tell, your existing sequence is a perfectly adequate foundation to build upon.

Here’s a trick I use to make snappy movements:
Let’s say you have two keyframes 12 frames apart. Advance 2 frames from the first keyframe and create a new keyframe (with the make key button on the frame toolbar). Go to the last keyframe, backtrack 2 frames and make another keyframe. In the timeline, move these two new keyframes in towards each other, so that they are only three frames apart, maybe. This is a cheap trick, but for lots of movements (e.g., weight shifts) it is suprisingly effective. I find this trick helps to negate that swimming-through-honey floatiness that plagues my work.

Okay, that’s all for now! Keep up the hard work!


Carl Raillard


Thanks Carl! I also have the Jeff Lew DVD and liked the process he used for animating. It seemed to match the way I usually model, in a freeform kind of way, so I decided to try it that way.

You’re right about the need for more exaggerated poses throughout the piece. And thanks for the tip about adding more snap!

I’m thinking he has too much unneccesary body motion which weakens the poses that I have already put in. But then, he is supposed to be a bit tipsy. I don’t want him to appear too alert either.




I agree with everything Carl has said, ‘pose to pose’ is just one method of getting to where you are now. What you have is very promising and just needs further refinement. Don’t worry too much about snappier movement just yet. Concentrate on the acting and physical observation of the character. This is the phase where you clown about in front of the mirror (or video yourself).

Here are some observations (caveat, I’m no expert)

Before you go any further, give Schlitzy some shoulder bones, which are the parents of your arm bones. You won’t be able to hunch his shoulders without them. Lots of people overlook the importance of shoulder movement with the arms, they are very expressive.

Think about offsetting some of the actions. For example, when he clears his throat. At the moment, it’s a straight forward A-B operation, essentially your first pass. His hand and head start their movement towards each other and meet at virtually the same time. Try delaying the start of the arm movement, as it is, it’s too slow and mechanical. Arms, hands and legs tend to move faster than the torso). Exaggerate the pose more, hunch his shoulders for the cough. Try leaving the right arm roughly where it is after the cough, it doesn’t have to go back to a default position. Also, this will give more impact to him throwing his arms back as he starts to sing.

Floatiness. Yes there’s quite a bit of this, but I think it’s because poses are blending into one another. Back to the same example as before, hold that cough pose a little more statically. The floatiness in this area, is because the cough pose slowly blends into the ‘oh’ pose of him starting to sing. Although you have the head thrown back at the end to emphasize his launch into song, it probably needs the whole body arched to give it real impact.

Of course, I’ve also been studying drunk behaviour. They do move more slowly but not always. They tend to stand off kilter, always gradually keeling over until they quickly catch themselves to prevent losing balance completely. I guess on the whole their movements are sleepy and deliberate, but sometimes they have moments of lucidity.

Okay, I’ve whittled on long enough, I hope this has made some sense.


Thanks Stephen! Great direction, I really appreciate it. I think I can chew on these nuggets for quite a while!



Well, I’m not thrilled with this, but I am calling it done just because I don’t have any more time.

It’s filled with things that can be improved and I hope you guys will critique it, just so I can learn from it some more.

This contest has been a great learning experience, even though I couldn’t spend as much time on it as I wanted.

I added some “aged movie” effects to help hide the flickering in the hair (due to not using AA).

Here’s the link:


I can’t wait to see the other submissions.



Okay…why did I think the deadline was tomorrow? Hmmm…maybe I do have time to fix a few things.

Well, then…critique away, boys!



Jim…I like it! The ‘aged movie’ effect is a neat idea and I still think the punch line is very clever. Cracking open the bottle off screen is very effective and saves a lot of unnecessary animation work.

I won’t bore you again with my interminable ramblings on how I think you should animate. :scream:
But, (there’s always a but) I do have two quick suggestions.
(1) The blowing sound of him trying to whistle, perhaps it could have some tiny bits of actual whistle interwoven to make it clearer he is attempting to whistle.
(2) The fall at the end could be generally quicker, but particularly the area between the end of the fall going into the bounce and the final settle.

I hope you can eek out some extra time to work on it more, your model certainly deserves it.




Good point about the whistle. I am definitely going to work on the fall and tweak some other areas as time allows.

Thanks for looking,



It’s looking very good. I hope you get to put some more work into because it’s almost there, you’ve got 2 weeks still :cool: . The aged effect is very cool but hopefully you’ll get to render it with AA enabled since the effect doesn’t mask the strobing completely.

The fall definately needs the most work. Another nitpick on the whistle is that the camera gets too close to his face. I would pull it back a little so it’s not such an extreme closeup. The poses when he starts to sing could be exagerated more, maybe throw his arms out/lean him back more. Also, it might be cool to see him zip off stage when he gets his “bright” idea … of course what you have now also works.

When he scratches his chest at the beginning the motion looks too mechanical. A lot of the motion still needs offseting, it still looks like everything is moving at the same time. Also, I was glancing thru the Animators Survival Guide yesterday and something that Richard Williams mentions is that drunks tend to move their body parts independantly, almost as if each part has a mind of it’s own. Anyway, those are my observations, I’m pretty much a beginner at animation having done a total of 3-4 animation projects over something like 7 years with AM. I really like what you’ve got so far and I love the gag at the end … the sound effects are perfect, makes me want to crack open a bottle of schlitz :beer: . Now if I can only get enough of mine animation done to post something … with the super bowl tomorrow it might be the perfect time to observe some drunks (Go Carolina).



Thanks, Kevin!

Trying to animate a drunk is probably not the best choice for a newbie animator! It adds a whole new layer of complexity, it seems.

Thanks for the advice, I will try to work on those areas.



Not the easiest for sure but it does preseent some interesting challenges. Drunk people are looser and more under the pull of gravity. the character will move heavier and slower, your arcs will needs to be more fluid.

A piece of advice from Ed Hooks’ Acting For Animators: “Allow the substance do whatever that particular substance does to the body – and then act to control it, to hide it.”

he also provides a couple of good movie references to drunk acting: Arthur and The Days of Wine and Roses.

you want schlitzy there to attempt to maintain control over his faculties that is what will make him seem drunk…

Good work so far Jim, i look forward to seeing the completed piece

-David Rogers


Thanks, David. I think I understand what you are saying. And I appreciate the feedback. I just don’t think I’m at the level where I am able to get that much personality into the motion. Right now I’m trying to make the motion seem, at least, partly believable. Adding the character to the motion has my head spinning! :slight_smile:

Thanks again,


Damn Jim, I hate you, haha. Let’s just say I have seen way crappier animation from people that are considered pros – and this is you first one!

Congrats on getting this done. I loved it.


Thanks, Zaryin!


I love the animation; it’s a lot better than you think it is.

One thing I’d like to see, though: when he’s trying to whistle, I’d like to see his eyes frown. The eyebrows don’t carry the feeling enough.

If you could animate his forehead just a little, bringing it down and using bias to create a little pucker when he whistles, I think it’d make his expression more convincing.




Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions. I’ll see what I can do.




Kudos on your first animation effort! Yeah, it needs work, but it beats the pants off of many other first attempts I’ve seen. Nicely done, man! :smiley:


Thanks, Justin! That means a lot!

I know you took on a project that kept you out of this contest. Just wondering, got anything we could see?



Not yet, but almost. I’m actually a little behind schedule, but hopefully I can get caught up today. I’ll be showing some teaser material in the not-too-distant future. :slight_smile: