Mech / Robot Animation - Pics and Video Links

Hi. I haven’t posted in a while. I have been working in Blender for a few years now but it is mostly for client presentations.

Lately I have been working on a Mech design. I am doing the modeling, rigging and animation. I’m going to make a small video from it. It’s just for fun. So I though I would share what I have so far with the community. I am almost done adding the armor plates to the lower torso and then I can move on to the upper torso. I plan on adding lots and lots of details. Attached are some screen shots.

I’m going to put links to some YouTube videos. I’ve never done this before so please let me know if they don’t work. The videos are showing different views of the animation in the Blender so you can see the walk cycle I have created.

Worm’s Eye View

Fly Around View

Bird’s Eye View

Thanks. Comments and feedback welcome and encouraged.

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This is very good!

I like how the joint spins when it walks. Nice touch.

WOW this is much better than my attempts at making a mech! Got any tips ;D

@Mazui - Thanks. I thought it would add a more mechanical effect showing some moving parts. I took the inspiration from the recent Transformer movies … lots of moving parts!

@FriskyLemons - I am getting to that age where I have lots of advice, but I’ll try to keep it short! :slight_smile:
Use lots and lots and lots of reference. After you find a lot of reference material, then see if you can’t find more. I always go back to my reference material as I work. Also, have a clear and focused goal. I want this 'Mech to be more like a “walking tank” than a fantasy, humanoid, fast-moving, jumping and flying around kind of robot (like you see in Anime/Gundam cartoons). So besides other Battlemechs or robots I’m also using tanks and armored transport reference images.

Also, keep working. That is most important. Just keep at it. I looked (briefly) at a couple of your threads and your Mech designs (i’ll look some more later after I’m done working). Set a goal at how far you want to go before something is “finished” and you start another one: I want to just get a design modelled; I want this one to be posed; I want to make a 'Mech I can rig; I want lots of details; I want to make a low-poly game model; etc, etc, etc.

I’ll post more later if you like. I’m going to keep updating this thread as I go.

Thanks for the replies.

Nice job! He looks heavy, I like the jerk when he sets his foot down, really seems to be stomping around. A little camera shake and we will start hearing the crash!

Looks good, only there’s a little bit of hesitation just before the foot hits the ground that seems a little unnatural. I don’t know, tell me what you think.

@Noobie - Thanks. I wanted to give the impression of weight and mass. I looked at a lot of other 'Mech animations and thought about how it should “stomp”.

@timgrindall - Good eye there on the animation. I had been trying to figure out what I have overlapping or keyed wrong when I set up the walk cycle, but thought I would leave it for another day. I went back to modeling the 'Mech. I can always reverse-engineer what I have done and, if worse comes to worse then I can copy-paste-flip the other half of the walk cycle. It seems to only jerk on the one side… maybe a loose screw or a seized joint??.. :wink:

Thanks for all the replies.

Very Nice. I’d love to have this thing at my back if I was infantry. Are you going to have it fight anything? Perhaps have it mowing down a squad of poor foot soldiers. Or make two different Mechs, that would be nice. As for the actual model, how is it powered? How do the feet move? If it’s hydraulics, then you’ll need some hoses and pipes. Adding some hoses that bounce around would make it look very professional, and adds some more animation opportunities, like a foot malfunction. Or it could be powered by an internal engine that uses chains, pulling the legs forward and back. A perfect spot would be those rotating cylinders right next to the legs.

Hi. I just thought I would throw a quick update on here. The attached image shows the work I’ve done to the “Gatling” gun on the 'Mech’s left side. I modeled it based on images I could find of Vulcan Cannons that were Googled. Lots of reference, so I was able to get some good images. I’ll have to color the barrels with a more convincing material later. Also, you can see some of the other armor details added to the lower torso as well as the seam I added for the cockpit to open and close.

@DividedSpleen23
Yes, the end result is going to be a battle animation. A short one, but not TOO short! I’m already making sketches of another 'Mech to model and even some support vehicles. I’m still unsure about adding foot soldiers. I doubt they would last long in a battle between two 'Mechs so they would probably stay far away as some kind of remote support. I don’t know. I’ll have to look into how tank platoons operate during close combat, you know? All the power, hydraulics and workings are going to stay internal. I like the idea that almost everything that makes this machine work would be protected by armor! Seems a little more ideal to me.

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.

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Looks good, can’t wait to see the movie. The details are looking good too. :cool:

One thing that stands out to me is, that is one big Gatling gun. Not sure what the recoil of that thing would be, though it’s safe to say the mech would have to be very solid and stable to withstand the forces when it’s fired, especially over long bursts.(nitpicking I know).
And to counter my own point, you could say as it’s set in the future development has reduced recoil in weapons. :yes:

Keep up the cool work.

sfearkyoob,

Yeah, i had thought about that too… I did end up reducing the size of the gun by quite a bit. I guess it’s a little hard to tell with the last image I posted, but it was reduced. Hopefully it looks a little better that way. It does to me.

I have a few more renders to post from last night. I was adding some more details (lots of details - lots of armor plating) and I rendered some different camera angles. I added a “generic” texture for a metal look too. Just makes it feel more complete to me, you know? :yes:

I did clean up the walk cycle (no more jarring) and I added NLA strips for the cannons firing. I’ll post those later tonight (after work). I’ll attach the screen shots now though!

Thanks everyone for the interest and the comments. It’s appreciated.

~Angel

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Wow, that thing looks mean as hell! :ba: I’m on whichever side it’s on! :smiley:

Seriously A_Roldan, looking really good and can’t wait to see it’s opponent, have you started that yet ?

@sfearkyoob,

Thanks. I have sketched the opponent (paper and pencil) so I have an idea of what he will look like. I haven’t started modeling it yet though. I will be done with this one soon.

Here is another video showing how I’ve updated the walk-cycle so it is smoother from side-to-side.

It also shows the animations for the guns firing. It came out darker than the first videos, but I just installed Blender 2.49a today and I’ll have to get used to some setting I guess.

Also, attached are some more images. I made this to test out YafaRay and see how it would render. I like it. It seems fast. I think the details are better too… we’ll see. I’ll post more as I get more done. Thanks again for the comments and for taking the time to look. I’m encouraged!

~Angel

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Hi A_Roldan,
Sorry to keep bugging you but, just watched your video and was wondering, you know how when a tank is moving the gun always stays level (a lot like a big cats head when they are stalking prey), if you applied that theory to your mech would it make it look more menacing? As at the mo’ I think the driver/operator may get a little sea sick! :frowning:
I understand it’s not finished yet and you may of already considered this but, I’ve only just joined the 3D world and still a little over enthusiastic probably.:smiley:
Keep up the mean work.

Hey A_Roldan!
Im impressed!
Did you designed this mech yourself???
Wow.

@sfearkyoob;

I had been putting some thought into it. I’m not sure what to do about that part yet. I do like your suggestion about keeping it stable so the driver doesn’t get sea sick… especially the part about the cat stalking it’s prey. Sounds good. I’ve been watching videos of tanks on youtube and it looks like they are very stable with a very low center of gravity and the treads compensate for the terrain; unfortunately those two things don’t apply to this 'Mech design. Good thing for me that advanced, fictional technology can compensate for a bumpy ride!

@Dilopho DD;

Thanks for the compliments. Yes, I did design this myself and I’ve just been working on it in my spare time to make an animation.

~Angel

I think you have a good sense of timing for the general walk, but you’d need to redo things to get a feeling of weight. Start off like it is now, with the landing positions of the feet keyed. Between each step is a “passing” position where the foot is lifted and passes the knee. At this point, the mech should wobble to one side in order that the centre of gravity in over the supporting leg, and the torso should also rise up for the step. If the design makes the sideways wobble hard to achieve, then the steps need to be quick jolts… slow lift and down fast with a landing pause to regain balance (much easier to achieve if you use an IK foot setup). After the foot lands, the torso should sink downward to continue the momentum.

Very nice mech. I used to love the earlier Mechwarror games (specifically Mechwarrior 2).

For the rider’s comfort, I’d have to say two things, one, is that if other mechs were shooting him, I don’t think he’s going to want down pillows ;). Second, What if the cockpit wasn’t completely connected to the main body of the mech? It could be in a kind of suspension, where magnets of gyroscopes keep it from bumping around to much. Just another thought.

For the animation, I agree with Lancer, the way it walks makes it seem lighter than it should. Making the steps more…rugged, would make it look better. I also noticed that the box between the legs stayed completely level, it kinda distracted me and I had to watch the video twice. I might be sounding nit-picky, but the hips of every organism move up and down and side to side. Now, this mech isn’t living, but it does have the characteristics of an animal. Like Sfearkyoob said, making it look more animalistic makes it look more…savage in a way.

~Spleeny.