AuthorTopic: Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge  (Read 10585 times)

Offline Conzeit

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Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge

on: July 07, 2014, 01:23:37 am
Turns out I'll be in non pixeled more high definition animated project so it's time I (try and) apply what we discussed at "Puppet/Modular Animation: how when and why?"

I will try to rig something that does mesh deformation in Spine or Spriter and post what I come up with. so far I've only played with the samples in each program a bit.

Has anyone given this a try?...have any tips?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 02:31:22 am by Conceit »

Offline Indigo

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Re: Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge

Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 05:39:57 am
My only suggestion; start out as if you were doing traditional animation.  Figure out which animations you want, sketch out keyframes for them by hand.  Only then should you start dissecting which parts you'll need for the animations and how few you can get away with.  All too often I see it approached the opposite way - just making a character puppet and trying to get it to do things that it wasn't designed intentionally to do.  Just turns out looking bad that way.

Offline Mathias

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Re: Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge

Reply #2 on: July 10, 2014, 07:44:14 pm
Also, don't forget you can combine modular with frame-by-frame drawings, selectively.
By switching out only certain parts of the animated character when extreme differences in angle occur between frames.

Here's an example spritesheet from Rayman Legends:


Notice the different options for the same body parts available to the animator.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge

Reply #3 on: July 13, 2014, 03:49:35 am
@Indigo. I think I did exactly all the things you told me not to XD. just a little test though I'll keep that in mind when I do it for real.

Makes sense. sketch out keyframes, analyze the necesay parts for em, actually shade the parts I need.

I have a theory that's the one reason old PSX Rumblefish still looks good.

@Mathias: I've noticed that. thanks for reminding me. AND the awesome spritesheet =O

Did a little test today.
Wanted to play with mesh deformation in spine but couldnt figure out how to do that with the trial so instead I broke the model by stretching the hell out of it.



puppet is rushed, her ass breaks just by bending her legs a little :p didnt fix cause I had taken enough time anyway for a test. I probably wont use the crazy stretch technique for faking motion blur but it was good fun for a test. I also couldnt figure out how to move the whole sprite O_o. I'll try mesh deformation and on to the next software I guess.

PS: I put some more screen captures -at my blog-...if anyone's interested...? I mostly got them for my own archival reasons but who knows where you kids get your kicks now-a-days  :huh:
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 04:50:50 am by Conceit »

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge

Reply #4 on: September 25, 2014, 05:40:11 pm
hum...Ive been slow on advancing on this =/

I find it weird to figure out the keyframes without uisng onionskinning and testing the timing, so I animated a rough vector stickman thing with the keyframes
https://trello-attachments.s3.amazonaws.com/53e3f6248b86f029b1b6fded/540a8716f9ac60babcbbf67e/b74ce53a660c978d5ede8aebabc98332/ArcherBasic%2BShoot.swf
the idea is to use this to identify which parts I'll need to make the actual thing. I'm still queasy, I feel like at every step I might be overcomplicating things for myself in the future

EDIT: so since this I've made some new parts for the dashing pose, I had a really hard time trying to export those vectors from flash to AI, I ended up exporting  a .png sheet from flash and drawing the vectors over it in AI. Then I had to reposition the limbs to be vertical or horizontal so as to not waste space.

anyhow I exported the parts and assembled them, then proceded to make some kinda motion for the dash


although I really liked my anticipation I was asked not to use it to make the movement as speedy as possible, so I went about animating between two keys, by using a movement graph feature in AI, it's really fun because you can make it go negative or over 100% to make anticipations and overshots and you can tweak it on each limb.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2014, 04:42:14 am by Conceit »

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge

Reply #5 on: October 22, 2014, 04:02:20 am
Another post on my blog, another crosspost here  ::)

https://craftmused.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/stretch-faking-smears-to-make-cutout-animations-look-hand-drawn/

My animation workflow right now is like this
1- make keyframes with tweens disabled to make sure the posing is strong
2- tweak the curve graph between each frame to improve the timing of the tweens. Incredibly useful, you can make overshots and slow ease-in with no extra keyframes
3- On key moments individually pose each frame, even add fake smears(hand drawn motion blurs) trough stretching to give it a bit of a sakuga/anime feel.

Thatís why the slash here doesnt look like cutout animation. You could just draw motion blurs and import them as parts but Iím trying not to clutter the ram of the iOS this will eventually run on.

anyone actually reading this OR the blog? I was surprised to see someone comment on it today :p

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge

Reply #6 on: October 22, 2014, 01:47:55 pm
All the poses pop in and out like a sort of poorly articulated, clockwork robot.  I'm not sure whatever you're doing with the curve graph is doing you any favours. Imagine it probably looks a lot better with plain boring flat linear tweens, moving the keys to adjust timing. 

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge

Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 06:57:21 pm
in my tunnel vision I keyed A LOT of pop in moments in there, trying to get that anime (Yoshinori Kanada/Hiroyuki Imaishi) quality of movement that builds slowly at the beggining and skips the middle point to snaps to the end pose and the overshot or the slow ease in. So it might not even be the graph thing, just me actually keying popping in poses ( I think you might see the same thing in the SWF I linked to)

I know when I look in retrospective at something where I was trying a specific style, I see the bad parts overwhelm the good parts, so I would like to know in more detail what you think is not working, or in what moment it's more noticeable so I can see it from your perspective and have kind of a future hindsight moment =O

BTW I liked that one polygonal woman you made in flash a while ago, specially what you did with her hair in the run animation..I tried to do that but was not very succesfull

Also, I'm probably not going to do the redraw parts thing because of limitations with the atlas =/
« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 08:37:47 pm by Conceit »

Offline rikfuzz

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Re: Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge

Reply #8 on: October 28, 2014, 12:05:11 pm
Flash has totally binned it's armature animation stuff, or at least changed it enough that I can't open those files again without it all being turned into keyframes, but the hair was actually done with a different kind of 'bone', that let you do arbitrary transformations on the whole shape rather than splitting into parts. (Also minor touch up in photoshop).   :-[  I had a lot of trouble trying to do it split into separate bones, too.  It looked okay, but a lot of gaps appearing at certain angles no matter how careful I was with the shapes at the pivot points. 

The popping in / out looks weird because it's stopping everything where the motion should be fastest.  It's hard to explain without a graph or examples, but instead of slow-fast-slow (spread out however you like, style-wise) for the whole movement, you have it for every pose, even though the extreme pose should be right in the middle (fast part) of the arc.  (Maybe someone else can explain this better)  :-[

Keep it up though!  :y:

Offline Conzeit

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Re: Puppet/modular animation: taking the plunge

Reply #9 on: October 28, 2014, 11:28:55 pm
I *think* I can see in principle what you mean. atleast partly.

I'm doing the movment by keying the timing I want, then enabling smoothing and tweaking graph. I think what you're saying is I'm applying a curve with exponential increase on every single keyfame I made and that gives the whole movement a start-stop feeling instead of an exponential increase for the whole thing.

for the most part I actually have different graphs for each frame to frame, and at the beggining I did notice the start stop thing you're talking about and try to fix it, but apparently my eye hasnt been sharp enough, so I'll keep an extra eye out for that :p

I hope that's what you meant, and what's going on. I hope it's NOT that I'm keying the momentum all wrong and it's just my sense of timing  :'(

 thanks for the crit and the clarification :y:

EDIT: I think I got to the crux of it. I have a sort of anticipation where he first lowers the axe, then he raises it. Then the actual attack starts and he bends his arm over his shoulder as he lurches forwards...this is the slow down you mean (?) and then increase speed again to deliver the blow,  axe comes down pretty fast. is that what you mean?

I think that might come from the fact that when I was making the key where he swings over his shoulder is when I found the method of stretching stuff so I added a few keyframes there. it does kinda ruin the momentum :p.


I actually went and made a quick tweak. I basically moved what was happening when the axe was over his shoulder to when he had his arm outstretched, moving it from the middle of the action to the beggining if I got what you meant :p. The tweak removed some anticipation frames so the jump from low axe to axe way high is insane, but is this basically what you meant?
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 01:40:58 am by Conceit »