Animation – Studio 3 – Semester 2

Apologies for the late blog, I have been working on setting up the environments, scenes, implementing the animations and in general making sure everything is going swiftly.

Anyhow, I am now working on the animation phase acording to our schedule. What I have spent a lot of time polishing right now is the walk cycles for the different robots.

Walk 2.gif

Walk 1.gif

I specifically animated this one to look like he is stomping towards the ground with each step, first of all to seem intimidating and second of all he is a big guy.

Is it important to create walk cycles for each character?

It is absolutely important and necessary to create these motions to save as much time as possible at a later date. If you don’t you might risk having to do everything over and over again.

Where did you get your animation references from?

We recorded them in fact. Most of all the references were recorded and edited for this sole purpose. Which can be viewed RIGHT HERE!

Sadly most of the motion in our recorded references were recorded earlier, where they don’t fit the storyboard anymore due to slashed scenes.

However, the walk-references are still very usable and that’s what I am pointing out.



Procedural Animation – Week 7 – VFX with Models

So I made 4 procedural animated particle effects linked to a 3D model, for our VFX assignment.

The first 3 I managed to make them fit to a hobo-barrel. The particles were:

Ember, Fire and Smoke.

I started off modeling a barrel, and textured it in Substance Painter with a very rustic metal material.

Then I made the 3 particles which is randomly generated with intervals of movement, speed, direction and rotation,


All together it looks something like this.



As for the 4th particle effect, I decided to make some fog coming out of a manhole cover.



Together with the steamy fog coming up from it, it looks fairly real.


Considering that our scene will use a rather dim light, I think it will work just perfectly.

Procedural Animation – Week 6 – Animating the Character

Sadly, the motion capture did not work out as intended.

Most of the files got corrupted when we transferred them out of the program and into MotionBuilder on another computer. David said he was going to help out most of the students another day with this issue, since he was in a rush for a meeting. For some reason he never showed up again because he was constantly away or working with other classes. In other words not holding up his end of the deal. The Maya students was left out on how to import the mocap from MotionBuilder to Maya. So we figured we could use the few files we could actually open as references and keyframe animate everything in Maya.

Marcus made the rig for the character while I dealt with most of the big animations.


Full Run sequence. This consisted of 3 parts: Idle-Run, Loopable Run-Cycle, Run-Idle.



Power slam.

A power attack which was meant to stuck the enemy to the ground, disabling them for a few seconds.


Sticky teabag hook.

This attack was meant to stick the enemy on contact with the teabag, and pull them towards the character.


Sadly all of the animations made above was scrapped due to Marcus’ rig not being compatible with Unreal.

So we had to reanimate everything


Full run-cycle.



Power slam.

The new rig Marcus made had to work around the fact that Unreal did not support a rig with several loose joints. Trying to bind these joins made Maya refuse to export it.

Sadly we had to scrap most of the work and improvise a work-around.

At least we finished the animations, even though we had to do it twice.

Procedural Animation – Week 3 – Animation MotionBuilder

So today David had a workshop to show us how MotionBuilder works.

We grouped up in the lab and handed out the recorded animation files. Unfortunately there seems to be an issue with the program we have used to record the files with. Some of the files appear to be “Corrupted”. By looking into the files in notepad+, all the data is right there and should be working fine. So I don’t know what is causing the issue but we have found a fix for it.

Apparently it either seems the files might have been damaged when we transferred it from the old computer we recorded it on, or the files have faced an issue while saving in the program, which leaves us with two options:

Either we try to save and transfer the damaged files again, or we will have to record the corrupted files over again.

On the bright side, it was only a few files of a whole bunch that was corrupted. On the down side, it’s files that we really need.

We imported the ones that works into MotionBuilder, and applied an actor skeleton on it. It was actually really simple. All we had to do was to connect the dots and line up the skeleton with our recording. Then we clicked the “Apply” button and hoped to god everything would work out.

Here are the files we recorded:


Walk cycle – Front



Walk cycle – Side



Idle – Walk



Impact – Stagger



Taunt – Tbag



Taunt – Dance

Procedural Animation – Week 2 – Animation

We met up with David, teacher at our school. To help us out with the motion capture and teach us how to navigate the program. He told us a lot of important information about how to calibrate the cameras before we used them. We were told to check all of the cameras and see if all of them were working as intended.


In total there was 8 cameras working at 100% capacity.

We were using tools in the room itself to check if the cameras was able to spot 4 dots placed on the tool. We then used another tool to calibrate the whole room by go around for 5 minutes and waving it around in the room like a madman. The cameras picked up red dots in 120fps, the more dots you had on one camera the better calibration you would get.


After the wand had done its job, we started the processing status of the wand.

How this worked was that it would use the data the wand had gathered and processed it to calibrate the average length of space we could walk on. We had to click on “Run Again” several times in attempt to get the “Wand Length – Avg:” as close to 500 as possible. The better calibrated, the cleaner our recordings would get. To our luck, we managed to get it fairly close to 500, and the recordings ended up very clean. Rarely any dead frames or dots on our mocap suit that would disappear.

We got our actor, Edvard, to dress up in the motion capture suit.


It was important that the suit would be tight, because if the actor would have folds on his or her suit, the recording could bug out, or the rig could break.


To our luck, Edvard fit perfectly inside the Large suit we had. Additionally, we had another Small, Medium and Extra Large suit laying around.

Now that he was fully dressed up, we had to attach the dots to his suit. In total there was 40 dots we were going to place around on him. So as David instructed us where to place the dots, me and Marcus placed them on each side of the suit to speed up the process.



After our actor was all set to go, we had to attach all of the dots he was wearing to an existing rig. We instructed Edvard to stand in a T-pose while we recorded 2 seconds of it so we could use this recording to attach the data from the dots to the rig itself.


It was quite easy because the program asked us to locate the dots using a given name to that part of the skeleton. Having prior knowledge to what the different parts of a rig is called, it was not a problem to connect the dots.

Now that all of this was done, we were ready to record all of the movement we needed.

Marcus instructed Edvard on what we needed to do, and I recorded it and cleaned up the recordings. Luckily, the calibration was so good that there was rarely any clean up needed between each recording.


Next up now, is cleaning up the recordings in Motionbuilder with assistance from our good teacher Josh.

Animation 3 – The take on facial animation

I know I am very VERY late on this assignment and I apologize for this. I will have it completed either way. I have planned out a very specific reference I will be using.

Seeing how I always admire how people use their hands to describe something they are talking about, I wanted to do a parody on Jerry Seinfeld due to exactly this. Considering he uses his hands in a million different ways while he is talking, I had a go myself and the result was shockingly similar. I also found out Jerry had a skit about old people, and I decided to do a little twist on his skit to make it fit my recent animation about the old man smashing a button with his cane.

My parody on this skit

For this animation I will need to 3D model a simple TV and a Microphone. Considering I am very much out of time, I will rush through it on saturday and have most assets done by monday morning!


Animation 3 – OLD MAN IS DONE

So I have finally reached the stage where the animation is done. After the blocking stage was finished, I polished the animation a bit due to some shoulder and elbow movement which was not very natural. Cleaning up the small bits, I also finished the facial expressions. The end result ended up looking smooth and clean.






What a journey. From shooting references up, blocking out the important poses, polishing the blocking stage and finishing up with some facial expressions. Considering I had to shoot 3 different references I combined them all to be the entire sequence of movement.

This was the final reference I ended up following through out this project.

Animation 3 – OLD MAN Blocking 1

Before I started animating, I needed a cane to work with the animation and the rig. So I quickly 3D modeled a cane. I was afraid it would not animate properly so I made a rig Christina showed me back in the beginning of this course


The Cane

Cane 2.PNG

The Rig


I also put up a marker on the screen to track where the cane was placed during animating so it would stay in one place. I used 3 screens to do this: Screen #1 had the reference videos, Screen #2 had Maya window with the animation itself, and Screen #3 had a teared off camera from Maya looking over the cane.


The Animation itself

As for the animation itself, I started following the frame counter on the reference videos. I blocked out the most important poses to fit in the animation itself. Although I overdid myself, and I made the blocking stage much more complicated than I was supposed to start with. Because a blocking stage should increase in detail over every WIP. But I just went head on and made the first wip really detailed.

This is the first WIP of my animation.

Animation 2 – The end product

The final animation ended up looking really good. I am quite proud of this animation. I have prior experience with animating walk cycles, but I have never finished them entirely like this. The learning curve has extended and I am looking to do more animations like this in the future.

Combining all the 3 animations together was a piece of work, but the end result looks really good so I won’t complain. I saved one of the 3 animations as a new file and imported the other saves into the new file I made. I then copied the animations from the rigs of the other saves into the new file and polished and tweaked it one last time.

I expected to run into a lot of problems doing this because I have said prior experience with doing this in other animation software such as Source Filmmaker. Although Source Filmmaker is really buggy and there is a lot of know bugs. So animating in a professional program felt like a pleasure.

The final animation:Turntable2.gif


Animation 3 – The final product

After animating for a few days, I managed to finish the animation quite well. Getting some feedback from Anna-Camilla and some online friends I followed up a tip that the animation was a bit static. After sorting out some issues, the animation was done.

I played around with some camera perspectives, because I have always been really fond of first person perspective, so I animated a camera to make it look like the viewer is spinning the gun.

This is the final product: