soldier (character animation)

Greetings, its been a while since I’ve even looked around here. I must say, the average quality of work has gone up tremendously.

In any case, I posted a while back a WIP with a test animation of a new character I was trying out. After a lot more on and off work, this is the result, a 25 second, actiony animation.

As you can see, I am no modeler, and the materials and lighting are pretty simple. Instead, I have tried to focus on believable character animation.

just a few notes, I have modeled hands, both organic and robotic, for the characters but I chose to leave them out for simplicity. As I work towards creating more broad animations, these will certainly be incorporated, but not in this piece. Apologies if that detracts from anyone’s experience.
Also, finally I’ve made a animation that doesn’t show up ridiculously dark on vlc and some other players, which was a problem some of my other animations had.

interestingly, this animation is also exactly 777 frames long (30 fps)

~2.7 MB divx

-Don Kim

Very nicely done! I Like it alot! (Watched it like five times just to find out what to say) Overall the movement is realy nice! It’s a couple of non-fuid movements but, you barely notice them. One thing you could improve, is the camera movement. Try to film like it was a real camera and use shorter and faster sequences.

Great… I’ve always (well okay, since i saw your first soldier movie), liked your animation!
Maybe, the only thing i can point out, is when you are cutting to a new sequence, you are showing some of the old, again, it looks a little weird?!

Really nice stuff!

Weight seems a little inconsistant, though. Sometimes it’s just great, but other times it doesn’t
work out. This applies mostly to:

  • The first part where he jumps in the window - especially the run-up and jump itself feels odd.
  • When the first enemy falls to the floor. It doesn’t really look like he falls. It looks more like he
    slowly and comfortly lies down.:confused:

Also, what’s with the fade to close-up? A quick zoom would have been much more effective.

But great stuff! Keep it up!

Amazing work! Although the models are not the best the animations are incredible. Please, keep working on this! goes green with envy Did you just use bones and normal blender keyframing? Or any plugin?

The only problem I spotted was when the first guard fell down. It was a bit slow. But otherwise, four point five dancing stars from me!

Very nice animation! Your character rigging skills must be quite good.

If you’re looking for critique, I pretty much agree with Mathias. Your anticipation and exaggeration could use a little work. For example, when the soldier pushes himself from crouching into his standing position, I think he should crouch down a little more just before he pushes himself up.

If you haven’t yet, you might look up an explanation of the 12 animation principals (there may be more or less depending on who’s explaining them). Here’s a good one.

You said the quality of the work here is improving - I think you can take pride in the fact that you’re certainly helping that to happen. :slight_smile: Good work. (I’m also glad that more and more animations are appearing in the Finished Projects section! :))

  • Clean3d

Hi, thanks for the comments and critiques

I agree that the camera work could be better. The camera usually ends up being the last thing that I do, which is kind of backwards of how a better work-flow would go. The conservative camera shots have more to do with me not being sure what exactly to do with it. This one was a little more experimental than my older animations, and hopefully at least a step in the right direction.

Funny, my cousin who does a lot of filming, saw this while he was visiting and he told me pretty much the same thing, Faster, closer shots. I have to wean myself away from having the entire character visible in every shot.

thanks, I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed some of my other animations as well (though I honestly can’t watch some of them anymore because its just too painful).
Do you mean the cut in the middle of the flip? It seemed a little too hard to tell what was going on when I tried making the cuts not overlap a bit

thanks for the observations.
People collapsing is one of the things I tend to have trouble with making look right, mainly making it look like the character is actually colliding with the ground and not just sliding into a pose.

Python Angel,
thanks! animation was in blender 2.42 using a very simple IK rig. Keyframes and a few constraints for when the guy flips the guard over his head (actually, looking closely I just saw a really nasty one frame error right before the second guard hits the ground, I’ll probably go back and fix that).
Rendered in one of the optimized builds.

actually, my rigging skills are quite poor., though its harder to notice with the simpler models. The armatures are pretty bare boned, with just a few bones and ik targets. No frills, if the shoulder needs to rotate, I have to do that manually, heh. I’ve gotten used to working with it though.

thanks for the link, I’ll check that out. I have also picked up the Animator’s survival kit recently which is an awesome resource.

I’ll also be taking an intro to video and film-making course next semester, and while I doubt we’ll be filming fight or action sequences, that should help with getting to know what kinds of things I’m supposed to do with the camera, other than just generally try to have the characters in the view occasionally :slight_smile:


Very well done! I like this animation! But I think, the time he wait after he had jumped into the house is a little bit too long.

What i mean is…okay…i’ll describe the scene :).

  1. soldier comes in, jumps up the wall…now, before he reaches the top, you should cut it.
  2. Viewing from the inside now, the soldier comes up, and rolls over.
    You could also reverse it, eg. soldier falls down in second sequence. It looks wrong when you see him roll over in the 1., and then watching it again in the 2.
    Hope it helped you :wink:

Great animation zdk1
Maybe some minor issues as others allready said but I like it alot!

Indeed. Very well done, yet again.

Nothing to add to what has already been said.


Wow, that looks great.

I’ve been trying to get an animation to work, but I just can’t seem to get in the right direction as you are. Would you be willing to post a blend that I could look at to get me started. And if not, is there any tutorial online about building a rig (thats really all I need to know about) that you have learned the most from?

Thanks a bunch and sweet animation once again!

Nice work! I did notice a small issue, though. When he does the flip and knocks down the 2nd soldier, there is a slight overlap. What I mean is, he jumps onto the soldier’s shoulders, the view changes and he does it again!

That’s pretty cool. You do love fighting animations, don’t you? Like a few people have said the animation is off in certain areas. I couldn’t figure out how to help you until I realized that it looks like you haven’t filmed any reference footage. If you have a camcorder (or any means of filming) you should film yourself or a friend doing as much of the sequence as you can. The main points that would benefit from that would be the opening run jump and roll, the fall – crazy things happen you fall, limbs hit at different times, they bounce, all sorts of stuff; you have to film yourself or watch someone else fall – and lastly the wall flip. I know it sounds kind of nit-picky but something didn’t ring true on the wall flip, and I watched it a few times, then noticed that his arms aren’t doing anything. On any time of flip, your arms do a lot in leading your body through it. Your arms and head lead and then your body follows. In your animation, the arms fold in and do nothing until he gets to the back handspring. So go film yourself doing a wall flip. Well, that might be a bit much. Go watch a movie where a wall flip is done. The big thing about the wall flip is big steps. Make it huge. It’s kind of a tight area in your animation, but you could make it better. It would look heaps better if you spread the arms out as you would when he runs on the floor, since he’s running up the wall, he’d move those arms. Balance, man. Oh, and on the back handspring, he should arc his back more. It looks like he’s still a little tucked from the wall flip. When he goes into the wall flip, throw his pelvis up and arc his back like he was being whipped, or something.

I do/did a lot of acrobatic-type stuff and so I notice these things both from my own experience and watching other people.

Yeah, film yourself or watch someone fall over and over and you’ll get that fall sequence great.

Other than that, great!


Hi, sorry for the late reply, been a bit busy.

thanks for the explanation bjarnskov, I’ll see if it helps

thanks a lot for the advice. I really appreciate in depth critique such as yours so be as nitpicky as you want.
You are correct, this was animated straight out of my head without reference and there are definitely parts that suffer from lack of detail in the animation where I didn’t really know what to do. You’re definitely right in saying that falling, and any uncontrolled/partially controlled motions are crazy with all parts of the body doing their own thing. I was a bit naive in just going straight at it like I’ve done in the past. looking at my older animations, the falling has been rather hit or miss (generally miss). I’ll look into improving that.
The arms definitely would benefit from some reference, they are the parts that I know least what to do with when I am animating.

and yes, I really like fighting animations, how could you tell :slight_smile:

I did a lot of martial arts back in high school, and some light gymnastics but its been awhile. So has my roommate. If I do manage to get my hands on a camcorder, then I wont be hurting for lack of reference. as for reference shots online, I’m sure there are a lot. I’m amazingly lazy though, which is why i haven’t gone hunting for any yet. Also, it would be nice if there were a good way to animate over video (I’m aware of animated textures, background images/movies). I’ll put more effort into this now though. I think before it would not have helped so much since I was still learning the technicalities of animating an armature. Now I guess it would be better since I’m at the point where I know how to work with the armature and can focus just on getting good animation.

Also, no one’s mentioned it yet but I realized that when the first guard charges the green soldier, his first punch would barely have grazed the soldier’s face if the soldier had remained still. Ditto with the follow up elbow.

Mr Man,
thanks. I might have said this before in another thread. I’m reluctant to post blends because I really don’t think it would be that helpful to people. I’m getting better about scene and layer organization and naming, but generally my files are pretty messy. My rigs are fairly unintuitive for being so simple as well. harkyman can probably attest to the weirdness of my rigging from when I sent him some animations for the blenderpeople project. For example rigs, I’m not up to date, but I know a lot of nice ones have been posted on this site. If you still want though, I can post a simple blend with an armature and small animation.

Since I do believe, despite the flaws, that this is the animation that comes closest to “feeling right” of the ones I’ve done so far, I think it deserves a second stab. for a bunch of scenes, that probably means reanimating from scratch, which I was reluctant to do before.

People didn’t seem to like the overlap in the editing so I’ll try to cut it together differently. Since I’ll be animating a lot from scratch and I’m really busy for the next few weeks, don’t expect anything for a bit. I’ll update this thread when the new one is done. In the meantime, feel free to critique away. I’ll only be offended if you disparage my mother or something :slight_smile:


Really nice, If you want some “action directing” tips. You could watch Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children, it’s a CG movie with some really nice actions scenes. Just bear in mind that alot of the shots have large movements that are too zoomed in and you can’t really tell what’s going on for a couple seconds.

That’s very nice!
Though I agree with most of what has been pointed out.

Also waatch camera placement for “crossing the line”, this is an imaginary boundary for the audience to establish the location of characters in a scene. Imagine how confusing a football game would be to watch if the cameras were located all around the ground instead of on just one side. The blue team would be running left to right in one shot then passing to… themselves running righ to left in the next shot! Did they change sides or did the Director “Cross the Line”?
You can notice this in chase sequences whre the pursued is generally running from one side of the screen all the time followed by the pursuer or for tension a collision course is implied if the opponent is running from the other side of the creen in the next shot.

Anyway I got a bit confused as to bad guys locations in shots, nice anim and tighten the cuts. Another tip, cut on action.

I would appreciate the simple blend file. I need anything I can get, and I think that even teh simplest armature would get me started.

thanks again!

thats fantastic animation. Character animation is a very hard thing to pull off and takes a lot of time, especially difficult are animations that involve 2 characters interacting, fighting and rolling, and you have all of these things and pulled them off tremendously well!

theres a lot of hard work here, you’ve done the best thing and made the animation the focus, not complex models that make it harder to animate. Having worked as a full-time character animator I’ve really got an appreciation these days for some solid animation, and you’ve got it to a tee. I don’t see any errors here, for the animation style and efficiency for what this is all about, I have no critique.

4 and a half stars from me (I had to round off to 5), keep us posted on any more work you create =)