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Parlo

Animation exercise

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I thought that I'd post a little animation test I'm working on to get some feed back.

 

It's currently very rough:

 

I've got the main poses in, done most of the lip-sync and have tried to set most of the timing. There is'nt facial animation yet and it all still needs a fair amount of finessing.....

 

Anyhow, I would love to get some feedback - I'm trying to build my animation muscles with this, so point out my flab! :huh:

 

Quicktime, sorenson 3, 1.3mb

 

Click Me!

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Neat character. Geez, he is thin!

 

I think it's working best during "the timeless worlds of space"; there the poses really work with the voice.

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Thanks robo -

 

Yeah, I'm happy with the way that those poses are working, but most of the others aren't doing it for me at all yet. They are way too too wishy-washy.

 

I've taken some time out from it and I think I now know what to attack next. I'll post another version before the night is out.

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but most of the others aren't doing it for me at all yet.

There's always the Filmation solution... cut to a reaction shot of someone blinking while otherwise motionlessly listening.

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Another 4 hours - and it's starting to take shape.

 

Still alot of tidying up to do, the start needs reworking for one... but my eyes are starting to hurt and I've had enough of Richard Burton's voice for today.

 

Quicktime, sorenson 3, 1.3mb

 

Click here for version 2

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How about if he sort of subtley shook his head "no" (to himself more than for the audience's benefit) when he said "no would have believed..."

 

How about for the "scrutinizing" stuff if he had both his hands in front of him as if they were gripping some small imaginary sphere that he was studying?

 

(warning: danger of overacting in both of the above suggestions) :lol:

 

Gonna add some brow movements? I think the face is a bit static without them.

 

But I'm just guessing here. The most facial animation I've tried so far is pointing eyeballs in different directions. My character doesn't even have a mouth. ;)

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MY WORD thats creepy!! I love it!! It looks terrific so far. My first impression is that the initial hand gestures are a little 'soft' (can't think of another word). Their movement might look better if they establish their position earlier rather than floating that way (just a thought, don't listen to me if you think I'm talking rubbish).

 

In any case, I REALLY like the character! ALl you need now is some sinister lighting, and you're set.

 

:)

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How about if he sort of subtley shook his head "no" (to himself more than for the audience's benefit) when he said "no would have believed..."

 

How about for the "scrutinizing" stuff if he had both his hands in front of him as if they were gripping some small imaginary sphere that he was studying?

Thanks for the comments.

 

I'm gonna try a head shake but fear that it might be a little bit too literal. As for the second hand thing, that's how I had it to begin with. The problem is that his hands are so big; when you start moving those great paws around they really draw the eye. It's like he's got a bungalow at the end of each wrist!

 

I've not got to the brows yet. That's gonna be fun.

 

Shaun: I'm really unhappy with the first few seconds, I know what I want but can't quite seem to get ti to work. It doesn't help that I'm very close to twining with the first pose or too. I'll try to make it less soft as you suggested - take it in the opposite direction and make it more 'punchy' and see where that gets me.

 

Again, thanks for the comments guys. This is the kind of work I usually find so hard to finish, because there's rarely anyone else around to analyse it with that 'speaks the same language' as it were*. Crits and comments like these are so darn useful.

 

* (Try as I might, I can't get my dog interested in character animation. The cats refuse to even listen, but cats are like that. The spider on my desk is too preoccupied with fxing his web, which I keep on breaking every time I move the lava lamp; so I can't blame him for blanking me really.)

Edited by Parlo

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Tis beautiful and very creepy. I think you have made the perfect vocal choice!

 

I think subtle movements are the order with this guy. He seems like he is elegant and poised.

 

I can't wait to see more.

 

Doug

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Thanks modernhorse. I'm going to try to do a much more energised piece with him next to see if I can push him in the other direction. I've been working with this model for so long that I tend to forget how creepy he come across.

 

I've managed to spent a couple more hours on it today and think I've nailed the begining. I've also finished off the lip sync.

 

Quicktime, sorenson 3, 1.3mb

 

Click here for the 3rd version

 

Next up are the facial expressions.....

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That's pretty good work! The only thing that doesn't seem to 'fit' is that initial gesture when he says "no one would have known". I tried to act that out myself and it felt very un-natural. Somehow having the hands outstretched like that doesn't convey the feeling I'm getting from the words. Also, I think that the way he brings his hands down after the gesture, then brings one back up a little later for another gesture, adds to the 'awkwardness'. Perhaps you could do some more with his fingers to strengthen the poses; you know have them contort in a sinister fashion or something. In any event, it is very good after only a few passes.

 

Javier

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Guest mrsl13

I'd have to agree that is creepy but in a good way...some day Ill have to try a lip sync, but as for now Im to scared to try.

 

Mike

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Thanks Javier... looking at it after you point it out, I realise that I haven't 'sold' that initial gesture at all well. It's supposed to be an expression of defeat, accenting the 'totality' of what happened. At the moment it looks like he's comparing the weight of 2 coconuts! I think I'm making a burden for my back by trying to have both hands in play there; it's hard enough to make just one seem legitimate, and droping the secondary hand out of the frame is always going to be too big a movement to get away with when everything else is aiming to be so subtle.

 

I'm going to give it another pass before the night is out. It's great fun trying to solve a problem without the possibility of cutting away. (That's my usual trick!)

 

mrsl13 - lip sync is fun :huh: , it's like learning to play a tune in that so many of the timing decisions are made for you. The dialogue track gives you clues and ideas of how to animate it; you just have to reduce and refine them as you work through it.

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Well, I think the eye movements -- at the camera when delivering bad news, up to the heavens when "watched from above" -- are working brilliantly.

 

The very first think I liked was the lateral shake during "scrutinized" -- it was so non-animation that it gave life to the character.

 

Actually, I like the eye movements and blinking less in v4 than v3 -- almost too bug-like.

 

Where the heck is this leading? :)

 

Jim

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Okay, figured out what I mean by eye movement being too "bug-like" (as in "Bug's Life-like" :)

 

When I try to move my eyes there is either a bit of "head follows" movement or the eyes will stutter across the motion. The eye movements in v4 seem to snap to their final destination.

 

Am I right that the eyebrows are adding emotion? Sometimes even moving a little independently of one another? That's way cool. Really helps add personality.

 

Jim

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tobinjim:

 

You're right about the eyes - the interpolation for the eyeball movement is currently set to 'hold'; i.e all the changes in where he looks only take one frame to happen. This is the same in v1 - 4, but I suppose that the addition of blinking in v4 draws much more attention to it. Once I'm sure that I'm happy with where he is looking, I'll go back and finesse the movement.

 

You're also right about the eyebrows moving independently of each other. I'm still playing around with this.

 

Thanks for the encouragement - There are actually a couple more lines of the speech that I haven't done yet..... :blink:

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I'm thinking he's doing the unclenching of the hand too many times. The second one works great.

 

I used to work with an old Disney animator who would have looked at the last pose and said "get those hands away from the body!"

 

After about the tenth time he said that to me and threw away my drawing I realized he was talking about silhouette and making easy to read poses.

 

The initial poses are much stronger because outline of the hand is separate from the outline of the body.

 

I'm also thinking you shouldn't leave that other hand out of the action. Using the other hand could relieve some of the repetition of right hand.

 

Things other hands can do without twinning:

-scratch chin

-hand over collarbone (catching breath)

-hand to forehead (thinking so hard it hurts :D )

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Maybe have him with his hands clasped, and use fingers to emphasis key moments by opening and closing, rather than moving his hands around as they are currenltly?

 

Just another thought.

 

BTW the lip syncing is GREAT!

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Robo - you are so right. I've be so proccupied with trying to make the "no one would have dreamed" transition work I haven't noticed that it's the wrong one! I think the 2nd "no one" needs the same kind of accent as the first; I'm fearful of repitition but here it is legitimate, and if I use his left hand it solves a lot of problems at once.

 

Shaun - Yep, he's remembering milking a cow :rolleyes:. The "claspiness" of the hand is due mainly to the fact that it's all controlled by one "make fist" pose at the moment. I need to work out where the clasps are really important, cut the rest, then go in and animate each finger individually to give it more life.

 

The lipsync took a while but I'm really pleased with it. I tried using the Dope Sheet tools to begin with but found it easier (and I had much more control) if I just laid out the keys by hand. Dope sheet was very useful though, in that it gave me visual markers in the timeline for each word. I knew I was starting to "get" lip sync when I realised that all mouth shapes are heavily influenced by both the ones that have come before, and the ones that are about to be made. This gives it a fluidity and avoids the pitful of it being too snappy (a lot of heed was taken to Richard Williams' section on sync - gez that guy rocks). I also used the old trick of animating the sync then moving all the keys one frame ahead.

 

Thanks once again guys - this give me the fuel I need for the next stage.

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Very nice work on this so far!

 

Lip sync looks pretty good, although it could still be touched up in a few areas. Some of the pursed mouth shapes don't appear to be as strong as they should be, and some shapes don't quite look appropriate for the sounds.

 

Movement and acting overall looks pretty good. Some of his accent moves are a hair too subtle. The vocal delivery is so low-key that it's tempting to make it a tad too mellow.

 

Can't wait to see it finished!

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Another day... another update.

 

Quicktime, sorenson 3, 1.7mb

 

Here I am JH

 

With all the enocuragement, I've decided to work to the end of the sound clip. At the moment the second half is just roughly blocked in, but you can now see where I'm heading with it.

 

Justin - I'm gonna put my headphones back on and go through the lip sync again as you suggest. I was afraid of the ooo, www and uuuuu sounds - but I'm gonna screw my courage to the sticking place, and wrestle them into submission. I can also see where more definition is needed. As you said, the tone of the clip has lead me to unemphasis a lot of it.

 

Hands are still just "fist" and "no fist" at the moment.

 

I'm gonna take a short break from this to address some rigging issues (and get some other things done with my spare time :blink:).

 

Posting as I work like this has been immeasurably helpful. Thanks guys B)

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Some more detail work done today - and some modeling fixes which aren't quite finished yet (his right hand has new fingers... which alas means that they've lost what smart skin they once had).

 

I've started to add some detail to the finger animation, and the last section is taking better shape. I'm going to get to the end of the lip sync tonight, I've been putting it off a bit because once I start, time seems to just fall away...

 

I've set myself a deadline of this weekend - otherwise i could go on for ever with this thing....

 

Quicktime, sorenson 3, 1.8mb

 

Here we go again!

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Yeah, i think moving the hands out of the body uses your screen space better too.

 

This is coming together. Maybe his focus ought to go out towards the "gulf of space" instead of waiting so long after the hand has pointed to it. i think the gulf of space would seem more important if he were compelled to look at it (even though he's seen it all before), and then his attention should creep back to the camera (us) again during "minds immensely superior to ours"

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Robo -

 

You're right about the "gulf of space", I've added more breakdowns and it seems to be much stronger if he looks at it just as/after he gestures to it.

 

I've realised that the clip is 40 seconds long! I say that with surprise because even as I work on it I don't realise it's that long. I think it's safe to say that this is because of the extraordinary nature of Richard Burton's voice - and nothing to do with my animation :rolleyes:

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The end is in sight

 

Version H

 

I've given him a limp to add to his personality.

 

For those of you who are still hanging in with this - can't you just taste the cold beverage at the end of the long journey?

 

All comments welcome.

 

One more session to go...

 

But for now...

 

I sleep.

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WOW, this is some incredible work! I love the creepy look you've given the character. The body language has really progressed nicely.

 

The one thing I noticed that hasn't been mentioned is this:

 

The sound clip is from a "narrative" perspective, if it were delivered as "dialogue", there would be even more pauses, for dramatic effect but also to give the character some time to organize his thoughts.

 

This would require adding "pauses" in the sound clip itself, I wouldn't recommend just cutting the thing to pieces, there's subtle "background noise" to consider. If you have a decent WAV editor, you might try to copy some of the background noise from the pauses that are there in the sound clip and use them to create/lengthen the pauses that you need.

 

Anyway, thanks for the sharing it, inspiring work!

 

Steve P.

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The sound clip is from a "narrative" perspective, if it were delivered as "dialogue", there would be even more pauses, for dramatic effect but also to give the character some time to organize his thoughts.

Interesting idea Steve, but I'm wary that doing this could turn it into more of an 'epic' than I intended it to be. I can see that more air in the pauses would give me more room to create character, but I really like the idea of working with the timing that it dictates. I'm doing a bit more to try to make what pauses there are carry extra weight.

 

The next lip sync piece I'm going to do will be a much more dialogue type piece. There's a couple of exchanges from 'Dr Strangelove' that have got my brain buzzing....

 

Thanks for the compliments!

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Parlo -

Are these part of your project or are they just for exercise? Just curious.

 

Doug

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Doug,

 

These aren't part of my project and are intended for my demo reel. I realised that spending so much time animating one project in it's associated style, I wasn't doing enough of the kind of work that would really help me develop my character animation skills. This is becoming my main focus (other than commercial work).

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Since you're working on a demo reel, have you considered adding a few pieces animated to music?

 

With a character like this, I'd recommend something dark and spooky.

 

Classical: something along the lines of Toccata and Fugue in D minor (although this is probably overused) or Night On Bald Mountain.

 

Contemporary: I'd recommend something from Danny Elfman, Edward Scissorhands or Beetlejuice perhaps.

 

Just my two cents.

 

Steve P.

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Version H
The bigger, more emphatic gesture (to space) may be too big and too emphatic for such an old man. I'm worried he's going to knock over the floor lamp.

 

For those of you who are still hanging in with this - can't you just taste the cold beverage at the end of the long journey?

 

Tell the kids that beverage should be milk, so they don't get a hunched over spine like he's got. ;)

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Well... I've got to the end of the lip work, and I'm happy with all the poses. There is still some tidy-up to do, but I've started a final render of it to see how it all holds together. To render all 43 seconds @ PAL rez will take a couple of days - this will give me some time to work on something else so I can come back to it with a clearer head.

 

Anyhow, here's the latest pass for those who are interested.

 

 

43 seconds, QT, sorenson3, 1.73mb

 

 

Robo - I see him as being quite agile despite his looks and limp. With limbs like he's got, he'd be in serious trouble if he wasn't fit and perky!

 

Steve - I've got this idea of him performing a guitar solo. He's definately got rythmn!

 

Thanks again!

 

Word :ph34r:

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Ok, sorry, but now the guitar solos from Hotel California by the Eagles and Don't Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult popped into my head. I think I've got to try something like this myself, sometime. When I do, I'll post it.

 

Anyway, incredible work.

 

Steve P.

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the guitar solo from Hotel California by the Eagles

Ha! Hadn't thought of that one. Interesting choice, very interesting. (If I remember correctly) it's got just the right sort of rythmn as well as being very well known. I'll have to raid my cd collection and give it a listen. Thanks Steve.

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Here's a final render. There are still some things to smarten up, but this is as good a place as any to stop so that I can get some feedback on the whole thing.

 

Quicktime, Sorenson3 , 2.3mb

 

There's a line across his forhead that flickers in an out occassionally. It's not a decal overlaping point so it must be something to do with the geometry. Has anyone got any ideas what may be causing this?

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Parlo -

Jeepers creepers. This is really really nice. I have enjoyed watching this progress.

 

My only thought (and this isn't really your fault) is that the dialog gets a bit stale to me on the 2nd "no one". His delivery is so very similar the 2nd time that seeing the character deliver it twice for some reason seems, repetitive. It may be that in just listening to it the listerner is interested in just the words. But seeing the character do it you want something visually different... so the 2nd line somehow seems stale.

 

So perhaps from a director's standpoint you need to do something else there. A shot to an ashtray (if he were a smoker), or an image of something related to the dialog might break it up.

 

Now I know this is not the perview of your test but I'm looking at it now more from a short short short short film. More of a finished piece.

 

Anyway, i think it is marvelous work and can't wait to see what else you've got in store for him. Oh and my vote is for 'don't fear the reaper'. :D

 

Doug

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Excellent job! The emotions you've generated through his eyes and face is great. 1 thing I'd like to see is a little tighter close up on his face after "they drew their plans against us". And also I think I'd move the musical punch right after the word "us" The music you have works great and I wouldn't add anymore, it might detract from his monologue.

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My only thought (and this isn't really your fault) is that the dialog gets a bit stale to me on the 2nd "no one".  His delivery is so very similar the 2nd time that seeing the character deliver it twice for some reason seems, repetitive.

 

Yep - this line has been one of the hardest to make work. The shift-in has never looked or felt right to me. Combine that with the fact that he is bringing his left hand into play and it's been a real nightmare! (These big hands are so hard to make appear natural and flowing). I tweaked a bit this morning and I think I'm making some progress - the move is bolder now.

 

Cutting away would be a possibility if this piece wasn't for my demo reel - if I cut away on the demo reel I'd just be 'demoing' that I didn't know how to do that bit!

 

1 thing I'd like to see is a little tighter close up on his face after "they drew their plans against us". And also I think I'd move the musical punch right after the word "us" The music you have works great and I wouldn't add anymore, it might detract from his monologue.

 

The music is part of the actual clip. The clip is the introduction to "Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds" - A bizarre but entertaining part prog-rock, part disco concept album. It's H.G. Wells' story narrated by Richard Burton. It used to scare the life out of me when I was a kid. This was partly due to the fact that I used to live very near Horsell Common, the place where the martians first land in the story.

 

I'll probably take the music off when I edit the scene as part of my reel. Do you mean bring the music forward so that it comes in quicker?

 

Thanks for the responses guys! This has definately proved to be a productive process.

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First of all, I think that this is coming along great! The model looks sweet, the colors and the lighting look very nice to me.

the lip synch however seems to be really off the mark. The mouth just seems to be moving and only the strong sylables are being hit. Inbetween them it just seems floaty to me.

Maybe it's the camera angle?

Mike Fitz

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the lip synch however seems to be really off the mark. The mouth just seems to be moving and only the strong sylables are being hit. Inbetween them it just seems floaty to me.

Maybe it's the camera angle?

Mike Fitz

Which parts in particular?

 

Looking closely at it again I'm fairly happy with it except from "regarded this earth with envious eyes", which is totally off. This is due pushing the audio forward a frame when it coumes to render and not resetting it when tweaking. I got quite confused....

 

I tried hitting all the shapes but he looked like he was chewing a particularly vicious toffee! He needs some annunciation intensity due to the quality of the voice - finding the balance is hard.

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Hi Parlo, I think you basically described what I was talking about very well.

When I work on lip shapes I keep a couple of things in mind for my own work. I'm sure that everyone that reads this will have an opinion but my take on the lip synch is this...

the mouth is very lazy when it comes to forming every syllable. So, the mouth takes great effort to make a definate shape with strong syllables and glides through as much as it can.

Like the word "Don't". I would approach this word as 2 things being animated... the mouth and the tongue ofcourse.

What is the most powerful sound in this word... it is ownt of dont.

So, the mouth would start with either the O or W for the lips and the tonge would handle the tonge pose for the D. finishing off with Taaa of the T in "Don't". This would be the lip shape/tongue pose for C,D,G, K, N, R, S, TH, Y AND Z.

No matter how you approach it, it's difficult and I'm not sure what one has to do to get comfortable with working through the correct lip/tonge poses.

But Like I said, I think its coming along well, just keep at it

Mike Fitz

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3DArtz -

 

That's pretty much the method I've been using. The major problem is the quality of his voice - he hits almost every single sound full on and he does it pretty darn quickly. If I slur too much over the shapes the voice sounds totally disembodied; the trick is in finding a balance.

 

This character also has problems with the position of his mouth - it's very hard to get a decent E smile shape out of him without overstretching the sides of his face. I'm in the process of rebuilding the phonemes and other mouth controls, so I'll be giving the sync another couple of passes before the week is out.

 

For the time being, here's a few minor tweaks (including that sentence which was totally off!)....

 

Hello Again - QT, Sorenson3, 2.3mb

 

Thanks guys!

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Parlo, that's positively awesome. As an SF fan/historian, it's great hearing the intro to WotW. =) The new render looks good, too. Really brings out the colors.

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I agree with Ross. I also think the sync is great.

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yes that's what I had in mind, tighter to the end of the last word. It helps to give punch to what has been said.

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Thanks again guys!

 

Other stuff has been taking up most of my time but I've still been wittling away at this. Here's one last realtime render - I'm gonna polish off the last few gestures before doing my last (definately, and absolutely:)) proper render over the weekend.

 

It's come a long way... and it's now in widescreen - oooohhhh

 

 

QT - Sorenson3 - 1.4mb

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Hi Parlo!

 

It's very nice work!

 

I'm happy,that I would see your project,because I'm working now a similar dialogue. :D

I would like to ask you,please write me how can I do this,because I want to will be my project very nice,good position movement with voice too.

 

Can you help me?

 

I'm waiting your answer!

 

Sharky :(

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Parlo

 

TER-RIF-FICK!!!

 

Yeah, you guessed it - I like it :D I love the character - he is quite refreshing and quite the opposite of the fluffy characters that Pixar knocks out. What a great dialogue to choose to - this guy is sinister but not too scary - if you know what I mean (like an adams family character).

 

One crit I have is when he says 'no one could have dreamed...' you have him looking over to his left. Then when he starts the dialogue his eyes go to camera. I would have his eyes go to the camera first then he starts the dialogue (but hey! what do I know…) Also, at the start when his eyes flick to the camera they move quite quickly, perhaps if they were a tad slower. It might convey his unique character a bit more which I can see developing quite nicely.

 

Are you gonna do the whole intro? Perhaps a martian creeping in behind him as he is narrating would give it an amusing slant ;)

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