Animation Flow Exercise -- Backflip

Since I’ve seen so many people make terrible animations and go on completely oblivious of how sucky they are–all the while making themselves look like idiots–I figure I had better get really good before I prance around, spewing animations to the world.

Anyway. This is a rigged version of a character exercise I was doing for practice one day, a furless, colourless Renamon. She doesn’t look great right now, but I’m holding out for Jahka’s full soft-body interpolated clumping/frizzing/hair-dynamics funktacular full movement particle and hair system for the mane and the tail and the–well, practically everything.

This started out as a test of the rig so far, but ended up as an animation exercise. I need a lot of exercise, seeing as this is my first actual animation. Ever. Please point out any flow or movement problems you can see. Frame/time references would be nice. I need to get good here, folks.

[I’ve since moved on. Link removed to save web space]

The upswing could probably be varied to somehow involve kicking the teeth out of someone.

Quick note: I have not added shape keys, because this was a test to ensure the rig and mesh were fully functional together before adding anything time-consuming.

First up, I like the overall timing and particularly the part when shes up on her hands. I’d suggest a bit more power in the takeoff (ie. making her squat a little lower) but the landing I’m not sure on. It looks natural (which I guess is the criteria you want judged here) compared to the top half of her body, which is quite light looking, but her muscular legs make me think her feet might hit the ground a bit harder (squatting down a bit and recoil). If the final model had leaner legs though, I quite like the landing, I’m aware she isnt finished yet. Is she going to fight another character eventually?

First: I like both the animation and the model with rig!

I see the main problem in her left leg, it is animated too smooth and it looks bit like no gravity jumping (only this leg)
As Ben said, she should hit harder with those huge legs

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Looks quite good. I think she leans back quite heavily without jumping up as much as I would expect. But then, I don’t have a reference and can’t do backflips myself ;).
I think her arms should bend more when she lands on her hands.

I think it looks great, with one minor qualification.

When she lands on her rear foot, her tail stops moving downward as well. I’d expect the tail to continue whipping downwards until it almost hits the ground and then be lifted back up to normal position.

Orinoco: Yyyeeeeah, I see what you mean. The tail was way more trouble than it was worth. Getting it to stop shaking with the movement of the rest of her body was a royal pain. Maybe I’ll attach a free-floating IK target to just the first couple bones in the next version. Either way, I’ll work on fixing it. Thanks for pointing that out.

Thorwil: I’m not sure I know what you mean. If you mean at the beginning when she enters the backflip, her legs aren’t taking all the work, she’s using the inertia from her torso–from throwing her body back at the beginning of the flip–to assist in levering her legs up over her head. So, while you’re right and I probably will need to work on making the right leg push more, it won’t be as much as if she was kicking off with her legs alone.

Neablo: She’s only pushing with her right leg, her left leg is going to kick, so she needs to keep it in a straight arc. Oxymoron aside.

BenDansie: Your Davy Jones head rules. Yes it does.


Well, aside from that, you’ve also mentioned that the legs don’t seem to be bearing as much weight as they should. On reflection, I agree. I was going to say that if she tensed the leg muscles they’d be powerful enough to stop much of the squatting down type of recoil, I watched it a couple times and she’d still have to have rigid recoil as well.

It’s not going to be quite as full of inertia as it would normally be, because she keeps very close control of her muscles, but yeah, I’ll see if I can’t revise that without completely busting the animation. And if not, then it’s only a test, and I’ll remember what you said for next time.

Thanks, you people. /:]

I don’t think there is enough anticipation just before the rotation, specifically the hips should move down and the legs get into more of a squatting positoin. As it stands now, it looks like the gravity is more like the moon’s than the earth :slight_smile:

Also when the character is upside down on it’s hands, the hips and back should sink down and flex a bit, again due to the gravity, right now the back is staying perfectly straight.

The overall effect is that the body is spinning on a pinwheel, because of the lack of hip/C.G. movement.

Considering it’s your first animation, you certainly have tried to tackle something that’s faily difficult. It looks pretty good, just a bit of tweaking / fine tuning

… Then you can try animating the character falling heavily or clumsily at the end of the flip :slight_smile:


Holy crap, dude, half of my rig was invented by you. You’re awesome, I hope you know that.

EDIT: Wait. No. I suddenly realised the summer of documentation was written by ‘Ryan’. Sorry. <:P

…Well, you’re still cool.

SECOND EDIT: After much experimentation I realized there was no way I could fix any of that short of stripping it down and starting from the basics, because of the timing involved with the extra weight. Oh well. It was a learning experience. :stuck_out_tongue: Thanks for the help, people.

Not bad for a first serious attempt! Prob a lot better than most of my stuff.

I agree with a lot of the last comments, not a lot of anticipation pre back spring, I also think the arms are in the air a bit tooo long before her back arches. Instead of looking like shes getting ready, she just has her arms in the air…a little strange.

But way good, timing is great almost everywhere.


I liked the animation so much that I had to reply! (Good thing!)

Good modeling, good rig. (really, I wish I could do as well at either…)

There is not enough anticipation to the jump. Stand up and try to even jump with just your feet. Unless you have monster calves you won’t make more than a hop. Point being the legs need to bend more to account for the amount of energy the flip has in it.

Again, great work!

good rig, good model, good animation.

I like the tiny re-balancing stumble at the end. I agree that there should be a bit more anticipation at the begining - it’s just too smooth. how about a tiny glance over her sholder to check where the move will land? A ‘traditional’ anticipation of the move would have her lean slightly farward before she leans back - this sounds like rubbish, but if done suptelly it should help the move look more dynamic.

When she puts her hands onto the floor and springs back there seems to be too little impact on the floor… This makes the appearance that she floats right rather than putting effort into it. Also on the landing she needs to tuck her legs in more because otherwise it makes the final shuffle backwards useless as a landing that smooth probably wouldn’t need cushioning