Self Evaluation: “Standing Up” Animation

By February 25, 2015Computer Arts Practice

This is a self evaluation post on my “Standing up from a chair” animation which I have set as “completed” however I may still have a chance to work on it later.

This evaluation will cover the following aims: pacing, story/character and animation quality.

From the first and second playblasts, I did slow down the pacing of the animation but I feel I could’ve went further on this. For example when he sees his friend he jumps straight into a wave. It would’ve been nice to have seen some additional action here such as squinting his eyes or taking a moment to register if that was his friend or not. I definitely attempted to go for a slower more realistic/natural scene rather than my usual slapstick scenarios. I do think there’s some subtlety in there but could have paused longer on actions or exaggerated them to come through more strongly.

The narrative was decent I think, not great but not bad either. It is definitely an improvement over a similar animation I made last year. Whereas that animation was a simple wave, there was no story to it and therefore no character could really be shown. With this animation I wanted to put that character in a place and time and therefore I put more consideration into what he was thinking and what he was reacting to. I could’ve expanded on the moment at the start, perhaps increased agitation or fidgeting if he was nervous or perhaps taking a more active interest around the place he was sitting. If he was more relaxed then perhaps I could’ve gave him a more laid-back pose. I tried to avoid any moment where the character was still, he’s always moving ever so slightly in every frame. I did not finish off the animation so well, I tried to anticipate any future actions he may take but his rest posture and future actions could’ve been set-up better.

This is the first animation where I’ve used the graph editor in more depth (other than some basic tests) and while there are no quick accelerations or demonstrations of impact forces, I did use the graph editor to my advantage in places such as the instant he sits up which I made have a steep curve to get that slow start up into a quick sit-up.

I feel this animation isn’t as “floaty” as my previous animations but it isn’t perfect either. The sitting up part suffers from a few issues which I tried my best to solve. One issue is that I don’t feel like he is properly “pushing” against his knees to assist him in sitting up. I think this issue is related to the pose he is in. Either I need to have his body further forward or have his hands located elsewhere. I tried out the action in real life a good few times and while it helped me to solve a few issues it still wasn’t perfect. The rig itself does have quite long arms and the shoulder movements can be limiting sometimes.

The arms themselves feel like they’re just attached to the knees rather than pushing against it. This is because I used IK controllers which dictate where the elbow joint bends based on the position of the hands and the shoulders. However if I were to use FK controllers then I’d have more control over the elbows (and therefore control over the “push”) but would instead have the hands constantly clip through the legs as his body moved. I picked the lesser of two evils and went for the IKs so I could have the hands firmly on the legs. This is something I imagine a lot of animators have a problem with and I will attempt to research on how to get around this.

Overall I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It’s not as entertaining to watch as some of my previous animations but there’s definitely an attempt to give more subtlety to the character which I was proud of. With creating one animation after the other, it will allow me to take my own advice and apply it to my next animation.

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