character animation...any secrets to avoiding robotic look

I was hoping maybe some people who have good experience with character animation could offer me some advice and tips on avoiding what I can only call a robotic look. I’m not concerned about facial stuff right now… just overall movements of the character.

It seems like while I can get the poses close to what I need, often time their movements still seem a little machine like…

If you can to give a few of your top tips for avoiding this it would be appreciated…

Really hoping I can get a few tips on avoiding this robotic look Im getting when animating characters… I know there are a lot of good animators here. Unfortunately this file is way to big to post.

An additional problem I am running into is strange jiggling in between keyframes, at certain times. I have a feeling it may have to do with arcs. If anyone can point to any good tutorials for character animation that they have found beneficial that would be great too.

I’m using one of the make human rigs and it is set up where you just move the hand and then the elbows and stuff move automatically and follows.

Good looking animation is complex subject. One simple thing you might want to try is to move the mid action off center of sequence. For example where arm traveling from point A to C where B is the mid point of movement. Move point B ahead or after exact mid time sequence.

Remember that for every action there are Anticipation, Action, and Reaction. Picture tennis swing. Anticipation; swing racket back. Action; hit a ball. Reaction: follow through.

I’m hardly one to comment on this as my characters suffer the same flaws. (even my robots look stiff and awkward!) but i think the only way to get natural movement is to observe it relentlessly, (not by following people in the street and taking notes, they tend to find that weird and call the cops, just a heads up there.)
but check out references, video footage of people moving and try to recreate that action. endless references youtube channel may be a valuable resource for you. http://www.youtube.com/user/endlessreference

For example where arm traveling from point A to C where B is the mid point of movement. Move point B ahead or after exact mid time sequence.

@ridex That’s a nice recommendation, and certainly worth the time about offsetting the middle movement… I am familiar with some of anticipation… reaction ect your refering to… but its funny because I can’t even think about adding that kind of stuff which takes an animation from OK… to really good and natural, until I get at least the basic movement looking “unrobotlike” because even if I put it some aniticapation before and some reaction stuff after… I’m still looking at this dude who looks like robot man during the main movement… if that makes sense. But I’ll definitely try your suggestion on the offset.

edit… Hey Ridex just noticed your from Madison… I used to travel up that way a lot for work… love that town a cool progressive town for sure… ya hey dar…ya really should visit Madison :slight_smile:

@smalltroll Its funny you mention that… because as i’m working on this friggen character I’m finding myself trying to imitate the poses to kind of get what would be natural. My kid walked by and gave me a real strange look (and deservedly so) as he saw me pretending to lift something up… its like playing air guitar on a bigger scale :slight_smile: I’ll definitely check out your endless reference site…so thanks for that.

But I guess my question to both of you…becomes this… so I got this robotic movement that seem to be between the beginning and ending poses… I have a decent point A and point C but to get to point C… I have to put in a bunch of little keyframes for diferent bones… the poses at A and C are OK but its much of the middle part thats F’d up… so do I delete the whole middle part and start over… do I start messing with timing of the middle keyframes… do I start deleting a bunch of middle keyframes and hope for the best?

I wish I could post a blend file… but I just can’t because of the size… but I’ll take any and all suggestions, recommendation and wild ass guesses anyone wants to offer them.

FYI… press on the one arm bandit and casino link in my signature, and that will show you the WIP I’m working on… I’m just starting the character animations now…

i think a lot of stiffness comes from the model not interacting with its surroundings, especially when doing walk cycles and such like. consider an amature actor, that has been instructed by the director to just walk towards the camera and pay no attention to the horrific creature thats about to leap out and eat you, then on my mark turn and look surprised then scream and die…

an amature would be focused on doing the scene and listening for the director that they move unnaturally, you can see it in really bad films, and the actors are critisised as looking “wooden”
where as a professional is just relaxed and moves normally, and then just flows into being horrible eaten by “things”

i see the same issue with rigs, the walk is technically perfect but the effect is wooden and robotic, so to get realism, it is needed to get the model to relax, and flow naturally and the only way to do that is to add in subtle movements, a slight shift of the head and eyes, slight movements of the hands, basically, consciously throw in a few subconscious movements and the model will suddenly start to feel more alive

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