AuthorTopic: Character Refinement  (Read 539 times)

Offline transilience

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Character Refinement

on: January 05, 2017, 05:55:44 pm
Hi all,

Thanks for looking into my thread! Here you will find the animations I've been working on for my character Esperanza.

Please provide critique and criticism where you want. (I'm trying very hard to make a great character and game, I really want to take my ability to the next level, let's get there together!)
My game samples animations at 12FPS, so I've tried my best to make my animations fit this timescale.

Idle:

Walk:

Run:

Jump:

Charge:

Fighting Stance:

Punch:

Blast:

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Character Refinement

Reply #1 on: January 06, 2017, 04:53:43 am
allright man, congrats in creating a functional character! you could put this in a game and she could do stuff. except losing, give her some hurt/Death animations :p. I really reccomend you put her in an engine if you have any way to do that, checking the result will give you a much better idea of what to do. On that note, what game is she for? even if there's no game, what genre game would you want her to be on?
so, posting this many animations for critique at the same time isnt such a good idea, it's hard to really focus on anything because there's so much to critique and it's a lot more likely things will be ignored. try to post one thing at a time.  I'mma try to give you some comments to level this up anyway.

first of all, I think you need to add a bit more design to "esperanza" here. I see girl with shirt and pants, nothing more. Also, her fists are super weirdly tiny for her, make them bigger.

I dont see a latin woman, I dont see the hope associated with esperanza (if you were going for name=meaning for her). Try to do more than that though, is her clothing plain because she's meek and shy? make her shy. but go beyond that, give her different internal and external characteristics that seem to contradict themselves on the surface, but have coherence as a whole.

here's a character tree that you can look at, for some ideas.
https://school.rocketjump.com/learn/writing-container/character-trees
see how they present themselves is not what they want on their surface or what they really need? that's good, but also remember to make them all coherent overall. if you really go trough this judiciously you'd have more complex characters than many in fighting games.

the strength in your animations is verisimilitude, pretty good grasp of some of the movements, but they also lack in characterization.

the ilde. right away when you make her lift her arm it shrinks really really weirdly, try to keep the length of her arm the same troughout the animation. Also, this wouldnt do for an ilde. it'd do for a variation on the ilde, you dont want her to constantly brush off her sweat.

walk. this is a pretty awkward walk, she's pretty hurried, but she's taking super short steps, so it looks like she's in an awkward  stage between walk and run, except she could just take longer steps to not have such a weird walkcycle. make her steps longer, make the whole animation slower.

run. probably the best all around. did you use a refference? very functional run. let's focus on bringing everything else up to this standard. this is probably one of the more complicated animations and yet it's the best looking...kinda makes me suspect you're posting stuff edited from a KOF character or something, hope you're not doing that...

jump. this reminds me of the kind of jump you'd see in bad starwars games. The logic in it is not bad, but it's stiff and would probably look bad on most types of games. is this a fighting game jump? a platformer jump? she takes a long time to take off, so I'm guessing a Prince of Persia type platformer, so use those first frames where she's not taking off for her to slightly crouch, just drag her torso down several pixels to give her more impulse for her jump. when she actually jumps, the way her arms are going up one second and then not is super weird, I get the logic because someone might jump like that but you gotta make it work visually.

You'll probably want to break this up into 3 animations.

1taking off animation
2transition to falling,
3 falling loop, because you dont know long she'll fall. if you are going to include a jump that can have variable height then you'll probably want a rising loop as well.

charge. there is something weird with her torso here. I think the fact that she's cowering down and her torso isnt shrinking is making her proportions weird, arms are shrinking again. try doing the same action on the mirror, take a look, her stomach should shrink and the position of her fists is...weird. Also, when she goes to the arms out pose, the arms are way way too close to her, they should be expanding out much much further, it feels like a meek charge.

stance. this one has a super fucking weird loop. like someone cut off the animation, her arm just jumps from the uppermost pose to the lowermost one for no reason, no effect. try to go for acceleration/deacceleration and have things move in arcs and circles, this sort of jerking for no reason is no good.

punch: this is your other good animation. the way she's leaning reads as if she used some of that impulse to the punch, but try to
 make the arm that isnt punching not jitter around so much, it's moving way too fast for it to be human, I know it made sense for you in the slow frame to frame time, but in normal time it's moving around too much, try to think more of the inertia, of how it's slowly going from one place to another and to go fast it needs to build up momentum, it doesnt just jump from one place to the other for no reason.

Make the footwork more sensible too, more acceleration/deacceleration rather than just thing snapping from one spot to the other.

footwork is good on this one. the kamehameha motion....kind of good but lacks oomph. the way the fists merge looks weird.

the uneven feeling to everything makes me think you're modifying some kind of base, or several. it would be weird for it to be from observation because it's really good on some aspects but really bad on some others, very very uneven. please tell us why this is

Offline transilience

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Re: Character Refinement

Reply #2 on: January 06, 2017, 08:15:45 pm
thanks a lot for all the pointers, I guess I posted a ton of animations in hopes more people would comment on different ones

I've been working on this character for almost a couple years now, you can check my post history, this animation was actually 2x larger previously also. the majority of that time was used on the run and it does follow a reference although it has deviated from that some
http://as-warm-as-choco.tumblr.com/post/105563795033/running-back-in-time-to-avoid-the-legend-of-korra

the base i use is the same character; the first frame of the blast for the fighting animations, the first frame of the idle for others, and a frame from the run for the jump start, etc.

I guess the reason it looks good and bad is because I'm self taught and spend time here and there working on these, most of them are only a few hours vs the run which is many many hours of iterations over and over at a larger scale and then the smaller one as well

i'll work on the animations to fix them up for more realism and consistency, although I don't understand much about how to go about portraying her character. I watched the character tree video and I can't pick up much from it, I get the mix of stereotypes + specific scenes = character, i'm not sure how to represent that in a few frames but I'll try some things.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Character Refinement

Reply #3 on: January 14, 2017, 07:25:03 pm
I see! that makes sense, sorry for the inconvenience, glad you didnt take my mistrust the wrong way  :crazy:

I'm doing all this because drawing and animating a character, really is like being both a character designer and an actor, and you need a character functioning in a story to do that properly, since you dont have one a character tree works.

The character tree video isnt super explanatory, but it's a start.  it's about more than going from stereotypes to specific scenes. (they REALLY fuck up when they say the crown is the stereotype)

if I had to sum it up:
-the facts of a person is not what they are (feet)
-their inmediate, puerile wants are also not what they are (groin)
-what they need to learn before they achieve their dreams isnt what they are (heart)
-how they see themselves, how they appear to others, how they present themselves to others..also not what they are (throat)
-their logical abilities and qualities is not what they are (l cheek)
-their spirituality, ideallistic aspects, intuitivity and impractical notions is not who they are (r cheek
-it is the complex, on the surface contradicting yet upon inspection somehow coherent sum of all of this parts that makes a character.

 You may go to filmcrithulk's article to see a larger list (scroll down to the list, you dont have to read the whole hulk-sized article).

Full characters are like a soup where the overall flavor makes sense, and you may pick up on SOME ingredients but it's hard to pick apart andd separate every little thing. Flat characters are exactly what they seem, full characters seem to be one thing overall, but details hint they are something else, and at full inspection reveal many many more qualities than what initially appeared to be.

Looking at your character I just see shoeless girl in pants and shirt with a braid. On top of that the animations just looked like x character doing x fightgame thing, it barely sketches at feet in character tree terminology.

Is she shoeless because she's a bit hippy and she loves nature? is it because she's kinda tomboyish and gross? homeless? is the braid for practicality? the hippy thing again and it seems more "natural" to her? why just shirt and pants? not sure of herself enough to dress herself up? just practical? what?

This is why when you said "next level" I inmediately thought of this. Most fightgame characters go up just to groin, maybe heart, maaaaybe throat.

The ideal thing with character design, is to make someone as interesting as a random person you might take a photo of in the street. That's hard, but you should atleast have a stereotype visually(up to groin), and with the details imply the rest ( atleast show groin, better with throat, hopefully heart, ideally everything)
So this character tree thing isnt a bible, it's just an easy roadmap I can show you to get you thinking about character depth.

If you had a sense of who they are as you would someone you know it'd help you think of when they would hesitate, when they would be sure of themselves, etc(what an actor does).
When you animate, the character is constantly thinking and reacting to what happens. Think of it as a feedback loop that fuels the next motion.

I know you wont be animating a sequence (run, jump, run, punch, wait, spot another enemy, punch) instead just each action independent of eachother, BUT knowing who they are will give you a clue of how they see each action.

Say, maybe you have a very sure of herself fancy woman, who only thinks of getting ahead in her carrer. She might run in a very careful way not to ruin her clothes, still, her strides are long and she looks ahead without wavering because of her ambition. But when punching she may be very energetic and agressive, displaying no finesse, forgetting her dress entirely because her (groin) ambition and ego far overpwoer her fancy idea of herself (throat). Maybe when she jumps she feels as if she's getting above the other person so she has a smug attitue about it, maybe she is a little shy because she has a skirt so she has a protective look to her face on top of that, or maybe she doesnt even think about that because she so full of adrenaline her mind's busy trying to get to the best spot for the next attack....see how this is relevant? character gives animation the "next level" of interest.

all this said, thinking about it with JUST sprite animation you can do feet, groin clearly. The rest you would have to hint at if you were good, but the whole groin/heart contradiction is clearly writer talk, you need to see a character go trough an ordeal and come out the other side a more grown person but still the same in essence, and you cant do that if there is no before and after, just the same animations over and over.

I guess I'm saying dont sweat it with all this stuff, you dont have to check every mark but do try to get as much of it hinted as you can.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 08:05:02 pm by Conzeit »

Offline transilience

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Re: Character Refinement

Reply #4 on: January 19, 2017, 10:46:34 pm
thanks that really helped me understand it more. i guess i'm not asking myself enough about why my character is the way she is, it's mostly a mix of ideas that i had + ideas my wife had. I should spend more time talking with her about why Espy here has the design she has to come closer to the tree and work our way up.

I appreciate your well thought out points. It's hard for me to communicate exactly what I'm thinking when it comes to my work, but your perspective is helping me understand how to see my character in a more complete way.