Sunday, May 31, 2009


Just a warning. This post is pretty damn long. It's a walkthrough of some animation I've been working on. Read on if you'd like. If you don't, I don't blame ya.

Sam Animation

After my senior year ended, I asked my buddy Eric if I could animate his thesis character, Sam, just for fun. He let me use it, and he even made another character for Sam to fight against! His name is Todd. Saucesome.

I wanted to animate Sam because I always saw him doing some pretty nifty things in my head. I would always choreograph crazy, cartoony action in my mind and it just begged to be animated. I couldn't help it! And though it took a while for me to actually get started on the damn thing, I'm finally getting somewhere.

So here ya go! This clip is the first quarter of the main action sequence I saw in my mind. If I was forced to choose just one scene from my head to animate, it would be this one. Also, this is all kinda rough and lacks polish... heh.

This second clip is the exactly the same as the first, but without any camera animation. It's purpose is to help you concentrate on just the characters' animations.

Pretty short, I know.
The first shot you see has Sam giving Todd the one, two punch.

If you look closely, Sam's first punch is actually aimed right at Todd's crotch. I was worried that I'd have to animate Todd in excruciating pain, but thankfully it happens so quick that nobody would really notice. Next is the uppercut. I don't know if its noticeable, but Sam's fists are actually getting bigger for a couple frames as he's punching. I had to do this because Sam's hands are normally kinda small, and it would be hard to tell that Sam's uppercut is actually an uppercut. Once I made it bigger however, it reads more easily as a punch, while adding just a tiny pinch of squash and stretch.

As for poor Todd, he was just enjoying the nice landscape view when Sam suddenly bumrushes him. He looks like the victim, but really, this is taken out of context. Todd is the badguy.

Next, Sam does a funny spin towards Todd, and trips him.

The spin is there because that's how I imagined Sam fighting. He's a pretty wacky cartoon character, and I thought he'd be the kinda guy who moves really fast, all over the place. Although....I don't know what other people think of it, haha.

Sam then jumps on top of the spinning pile of flesh that is Todd, and kicks him down while jumping over to the other side and delivers the final blow.

I wanted Sam to have a cool pose at the end of the shot, so I held him there for a while and it successfully telegraphs, "I just uppercutted your ass sky high biaatch". Although, the pose itself could've been stronger, heh. The impact of the uppercut itself is supported by a cheesy punch special effect I quickly made in maya, and a handy little camera shake. Also, the juxtaposition of a quick, two frame punch and the long hold on Sam's "uppercut" pose helps create a greater sense of impact as well.

And finally, the little rocks and boulders on the ground and that big block behind Sam and Todd are only there to help give a sense of movement in 3d space. With nothing on the ground or behind the characters, it's pretty hard to get a sense of how much distance they're covering when moving around.

Welp, that about wraps up this animation walkthrough. There are more to come later on.

I did not write all this out because I think my animation is the shit and I wanted to show you all how awesomeness is achieved. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I am still an animation noob. I really do think my animations kinda suck. I have so much to learn it's not even funny. I know there are plenty of hitches and mistakes in all my work and frankly, by the end I'm never satisfied with what I have.

I've just been working for a while on these and it's nice to finally open up and talk about my work and some of the things I went through during the process. That's all.

SO. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I'm still learning a lot and I'm open to new ideas.

Welp, I guess that's about it. My next post will be about Regina.


P.S. - If you've read this whole damn thing, you really deserve a cookie.


  1. Fantastic! Wow, the exageration with todd is great, how he gets suspended, how he spins, and my favorite- the toddmeatball. I like Sam's hop/slam down and then the uppercut with the hold on the pose, and nice lil PS1 yellow smash attack, hehehe. Now that I see the rocks, I'm thinking the plain canyon does justice better than a town backdrop would too.

    Although you asked for suggestions and critique, really I just enjoy seeing this and think Sam is definitely loving the attention here. He looks awesome and everything is connecting together. The walkthrough and your thoughts is all very interesting and neat. Keep it up man! If you are doing more, I look forward to it!!

  2. sweeeet. been working hard!

    now where's my cookie.