Very short fencing animation

I was lucky enough to get some stage fencing lessons as a part of a play I was in recently. I really loved the lessons (and the sword) and I’ve been wanting to animate a “sword that bends”. So I animated a couple of guys fencing. It’s not very much, but I got a kick out of it and . . . well . . . I wanted to show it off. Heh, what else can I say?
(It’s two megs in quicktime format.)



sweet, i like how u made the sword things bend like that
awesome animation, except when the guy falls - that doesnt seem very realistic at all :confused:

Love how you got the sword to do that!!! And I like the victory swipe at the end, great job!:eyebrowlift:

Nice. The epees look a little too bendy to be realistic but fit in with the style. The way he spins around when drying looks a little weird at the end - his rotational velocity seems to speed up at the end where it should realistically be getting slower and his toppling speed should be getting faster as he falls over and his centre of gravity is laterally further from his feet.

If it’s a foil it will certainly bend that much, and more (fencers often tag their opponents on the back by whipping the foil around and making it bend drastically). The hand guard looks to me more like a traditional sabre though, which I don’t think typically bends that much… but that’s nitpicking and I’m not really an expert…

The animation is terrific, aside from that fall at the end which looks out of place.

How’d you rig the foils, anyway? It’s a really nice bendy action you’ve got.

That is no foil, look at the pommel. It’s a sabre, and they do “wave” even a bit more then foils imo.
The action is to slow, when you look at sabre matches, well at first you just can’t follow due to the speed. So yours is a bit too theatrical.
But good unusual subject.

   	 	 	 		 		 		That is no foil, look at the pommel.

I guess you only read the first four words of my post. In any case, only LGM knows whether it’s intended to be a foil but with the wrong pommel or whether it’s intended to be a bendy sabre.

I’ll express myself better, looking at the pommel and at how both adversaries stand in guard (with the weapon almost vertical) it is certainly sabre.

Thanks, everyone for taking the time to watch this and post a comment!

Jeepster, glad you like it. The fall wasn’t supposed to be realistic. The fencing itself isn’t realistic, and neither is the fall. It was supposed to be more cartoony. But hmmm, if that didn’t come across earlier, then ratsauce!

Agent009-J, glad you like it!

Paul J, it is not an epee. As snelleeddy figured out they are sabres. In the stage fencing lessons I got we were trained in sabres, so I animated sabres. And I know they bend waaaay too much, but like you said, it was a style I was going for. Again, the fall was supposed to cartoony, but that’s interesting what you said about the velocity changes.

bugman_2000, how’d I rig the foils? Simple 3-bone FK chain. The foil blade itself has only 2 loops in it (besides end loops), one for each joint. It’s just an extruded cube. The nice bendiness comes from subsurf, which is on level 2. (Darn, you thought the fall was out of place too.)

snelleeddy, well crap. I took most of my inspiration from Daffy Duck’s The Scarlet Pumpernickel. It was intended to be stagey and theatrical. I did get stage fencing lessons. And our instructor made it very clear how different stage fencing is from competition fencing (especially in the speed of the match). So the whole thing was supposed to be cartoony. That didn’t seem to come across at all. No one liked the spin, you said the bout is too slow. Poopy.

I guess what I thought would give it away as cartoony from the beginning was too subtle. You’ll notice that their posture is perfect throughout the whole fight. As in, impossibly perfect (i.e. the back never moves – not even subtly). And the flexibility of the sword was supposed to be cartoony too.

Well that’s very interesting. It means I have to establish the cartoony factor much sooner and much more obviously.

Well thanks again, all. I think I’m going to go back to this and make it better. I should probably watch The Scarlet Pumpernickel again.


I think I know what you were going for with the fall. I think the problem is the center of gravity is wrong, and it kind of makes it seem like the character is levitating. I wonder what would happen if instead of rotating him around the point where his feet touch the ground, you rotated him around his center of gravity?

Even that I’m not sure would work. Although you’ve got a somewhat cartoony style of motion here, it’s also I think more realistic than the Scarlet Pumpernickle, so the highly cartoony spin-fall thing might not fit in any case. But what you’ve got is stagey and theatrical. If I were you I would make him fall in a stagey, theatrical way. Have him act it out in an exaggerated but basically realistic way. That’s my opinion anyway.

Really cool little animation! Love the motion of the swords, but I think the characters movement is rather stiff. Have to say I also find the fall… odd.

Great stuff though! Keep it up!

Thanks, Cuby. I started re-working it, and I got the beginning sorted out. This is the new direction the animation is going in. It’s still unpolished at the beginning of the actual swordplay, but I think my original intent is coming across a lot better now.


Nice! I do real fencing… and it’s a little diffrent than what you have here. But I like your animation! I like the way the swords bend! Though I think the fight could have lasted a little longer! Great Work!

This is great. There is a bucketload of terribly slow and unrealistic animation on this forum but this, THIS is great! It’s fast, comic and made me laugh! It’s in no way pixar quality. But for a freelance artist this is a lot better than the average.

You are the type of person I’d like on my team if I were to ever make a short film. I am terrible at animation. But you seem to have it all down pat. That’s a rarity. Well done!

My only gripe is that the heads don’t seem to move much, and if you could make the eyes an animated texture then you could make them blink throughout, which would give them more life.

nathan, you’ve got some serious talent !