Animation Exercises. (Honest critique appreciated)

I came across this list of animation exercises, and thought that would be a good starting point to get better at character animation.

I’m hoping to have 1 thread where I treat it kind of like a sketchbook, but for various animation exercises.

Here is the blocking stage of one I am working on now.

Here is the same thing, but I turned splines on. (no tweaking yet so lots of jitters)

You might need to get rid of all the extra data by pressing O on the Graph Editor. The Spline still looks a little blocky.

Frame 50-55 or so, he doesn’t have his left hand under the bottle, so it looks like he is picking it up by the bottle neck alone.

During the lift, frames 48 to 58, his head doesn’t tilt above horizontal. I think his head should tilt up before and during the lift to show some anticipation of the direction of movement.

Around frame 69-70 when he has the bottle lifted, I’d hold him still for a few more frames to let the weight ‘settle’ in his arms before he starts to walk off. This will give you some time to bring his head back to horizontal and to turn to look down his anticipated path.

I don’t see any change in his step between his approach (carrying no bottle) and his walk after he picks up the bottle. I’d think the weight of the bottle would make his low and high point a bit lower, and his gait less relaxed.

There needs to be a slighly more organic feel to it. It just depends how much time your prepared to put in. Little things like the head slightly moving as he walks all adds up. You do have the fundumentals right.

Hey, nice start. It would have been helpful if you would have mention how much weight he is lifting up. Is it an empty jar or full of water, or something else altogether. I am going with the assumption that its around a 20 litre jar full of water.
Now, based on that.
I don’t see that much weight in the poses of his walk.

Also, the poses before and the anticipation is what prepares the audience to be sold on the weight.

Hope it helps.

XeroShadow, I didn’t know about pressing O in the graph editor. That is really going to help me out!

I shoot reference video of myself doing this, and I actually lifted from the neck. Even when I carry it, I am holding it from the neck mostly, and the bottom hand is mostly for stabilization. I am hoping to show that in the animation. Unless maybe it looks too weird. I will admit, lifting my water jug from the neck does seem awkward, but that’s how I’ve always done it.

I see what you mean about his head during the lift. I tried to fix that a little bit. I also added a few frames for when he settles. only 2 or 3 frames, but I see how it really makes a difference!

I don’t know how much time I should work on these. My goal is to get good at animation, so I can’t skimp and get lazy take a “Meh, its good enough” attitude. Yet, I don’t think I should spend too much time to where I would have been better off calling it done, and moving on to something new, else nothing will ever be finished. (At what point can one honestly say an animation is finished? There is always something to tweak)

The idea here, (and what it was in real life) is a 3 gallon water jug that is about half full. So it’s not too heavy, however the water sploshing around should play a role in the weight here. When I carry it, my stance is mostly normal, but I see what you guys mean about it looking wrong. I tried to fix it a little bit by tilting his body back a little. I also tried fixing the arms to have a better motion during the carrying walk.

The carrying walk is a litle hard for me to visualize in blocking. I want some followthrough with the waterjug, and I am wondering if I will be able to show that more when I get to splining, so I can have it overshoot a bit after his down and up poses.

Here is what I have so far.

This is awesome so far. I just wanted to say that because I’m so easily discouraged by criticism, even the best intentioned. Please keep going.

Hmmm… Animation exercises…

I suppose the purpose of this one would be to show weight. So, regardless of the actual weight of your reference water jug, make this one full, and five gallons rather than five. Give your character a weight to struggle with. Exaggerate the weight. Well, maybe not 200 pounds of water, but seventy pounds wouldn’t be too much. The point of an exercise is to teach you the things you need to do, in this case, to show that the thing he is carrying is heavy. You can always dial it back, once you have it in there.

Right now, he doesn’t look like he spends any effort to lift the jug off the ground, nor does he appear to be carrying anything very heavy. You might want to use a bit of squash and stretch on the lift, where his torso moves up and his arms stretch while the jug stays on the ground, then the jug follows the torso off the ground while the arms go back to their normal length. Might even have him roll his shoulders as he looks down at the jug and prepares himself for the lift.

When he walks away with the jug, give him a more extreme balance position, and let him take smaller steps, and a stiffer posture, rather than the large strides he uses to approach the jug.

I see. The weight will get conveyed primarily by the posing and the overlapping of the parts which have varying weights.

Thanks for all the input guys!

Orinoco, I thought it would be good to do subtle like how I was first going at it, but you have a good point about making it heavy, and then dialing it back later. I should probobly get proficient at the extremes before I start trying to do subtlety.

Here is what I got so far. I’m wondering if I should make the steps even shorter after he picks it up. The walk looks a bit weird to me.

This time I also changed it so he lifts with his left hand (the one under the jug) One thing that makes it hard is that once he picks up the jug, I am using IK arms, so as to keep them placed on the jug consistently. This means I have to manually move and rotate them together for each pose.

I feel like I’m moving too slow in my work. I spent 2 hours adjusting the block in to what it is now. I suppose in time I will get faster at animating.

I wonder if I should keep tweaking things until they are perfect, or if I should impose deadlines on my exercises.

The first step after he picks up the jug looks about right, then his pace gets longer. Try keeping the shorter step.

You have a bit more than merely a ‘block in’. You’ve added quite a bit of polish. The question of how much is enough, though, is one you can only answer for yourself. Tweaking is never done. Even when you achieve perfection, someone will come along to complain it’s ‘too perfect’ and ask you to introduce some minor imperfections…

It looks pretty good as it is now. Have you got a facial rig? Guy doesn’t blink… :wink:

Character animation has always intimidated me - I think you did a great job.
There are obvious improvements (mentioned above) but I think your on the right track.

Impose deadlines, i would say.

Great work! Can you please share the list of animation exercises?

Here are the 2 lists that I found. They has some great ideas.

I totally didn’t follow through with this. Some more important projects came up, and these exercise took a back seat. I did however animate a bunch of other stuff. Also, seeing as how Sketchfab now supports animation (not public yet) Its a perfect time to get back on it!

Anyways, here are some animations for a little game I’m working on. Any critiques would be appreciated!

Note: for some reason the preview thumbnails don’t work, but the video does play.

Here are the Run and Idle animations in the new Sketchfab viewer. Any critiques are appreciated.

Turtle Animation by bryantenorio on Sketchfab