#1 Posted by ScottishHobson (27 posts) -

Hi everyone!

So I just made my first animation in Source Filmmaker, as I have too much spare time between jobs and I wanted to learn animation for no particular reason. It took me just over 100 hours to do it, which I'm sure any SFM aficionados or animating experts will laugh at when they see how short it is.

I was wondering, are there any general tips for animating that speed up the workflow? This probably sounds ridiculous to people who do this professionally, but I find myself having to literally sit there and perform the movements myself in order to figure out which muscles are being used and where they're moving to, then try and translate that into SFM. I almost wish I'd recorded myself doing it because it's so ridiculous.

Also, just out of interest, is SFM keyframing in any way indicative of animation techniques and programs in general, or are the more serious programs very different? (e.g. the difference between Windows Movie Maker and AVID). Thanks!

#2 Posted by Jothel (914 posts) -

Holy crap! well done!

#3 Posted by Phr4nk0 (349 posts) -

Key-framing and then tweening are pretty much the basis of all animation. You get better are it and there are little one off tips that can speed up stuff here and there, but really that's just about it. The amount of time spent on those animations is a lot more than people think, and 100 hours to do that is pretty decent, especially for a beginner.

#4 Posted by Demoskinos (14596 posts) -

Pretty fun video!

#5 Posted by VilhelmNielsen (1734 posts) -

You need to study more what makes the body move and how the different body parts move in correlation with each-other. Your animation is very stiff, and includes a lot of static. Turning your head is not just rotating your neck for instance.

#6 Posted by ScottishHobson (27 posts) -

@Jothel: Thankyou!

@Phr4nk0: I think because I went in so blindly with it I just had no idea of the amount of time it was going to take, but hopefully I can get away with it coming across as mildly competent! I'm already familiar with keyframing from After Effects and general NLE software, so I think that helped a bit. Animating sure is a whole different world, though; doing this has given me a brand new burst of respect for all the videos Valve put out using SFM.

@VilhelmNielsen: Thanks for the advice! As I was trying to animate the characters I was trying to be very aware of the different muscles and parts of the body that are manipulated in a movement, but I definitely didn't feel like I got it all down by the end and I still have a lot of practice to go as I've never attempted anything like it before. Are there any moments in particular you that you would say include more stiffness or static than others? That'd be a great help!

#7 Posted by Damodar (1304 posts) -

Although there might be some things you could do to speed up the process (and that will just come through familiarity with the software and your workflow), the people who can do that sort of stuff quickly can because they've spent so much timing actually studying animation techniques, anatomy and things like that. There are a lot of great resources out there, have you looked in to the twelve basic principals of animation?

Nice job for a beginner though!

#8 Posted by super2j (1655 posts) -

aside from the lower quality keyboard there that coach was using, I would believe it if this was a comercial for HTC steam phone.

#9 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4585 posts) -

I would imagine that part of the reason it took so long was it was your first time using the program - now that you've gotten used to it, you should be able to move through things a little more quickly. That said, everything I've heard about animation makes it sound like the most painstaking thing ever, so I'm not surprised it took that long. You did a fantastic job though, major props.

#10 Posted by ScottishHobson (27 posts) -

Thanks guys! Very happy to know people are liking it.

@Damodar: I hadn't seen that before, thanks very much! I'll keep this at the forefront of my mind if I work on anything else in SFM now. Do you have much experience animating?

@super2j: That keyboard stuff with coach was one of the toughest parts, I found; I had to try and animate his fingers moving over each other and it came across really jilted so I tried to hide it in a camera move, haha.

@MarkWahlberg: Every shot I did I began to appreciate more and more just how bloody tough animating is; it must take a state of absolute concentration for extended periods of time, I really don't know how teams manage to bring out massive projects like Pixar do. Incredible.

#11 Posted by DaMisterChief (628 posts) -

100 HOURS well spent

#12 Posted by HaltIamReptar (2029 posts) -

I was amused. Great stuff!

#13 Posted by ScottishHobson (27 posts) -

@super2j: Also, I would totally buy that phone!

#14 Posted by Raethen (180 posts) -

@ScottishHobson: Unless it has changed in the last couple of months, SFM is not very user friendly when it comes to key-framing animation. It is great for using and blending between clips and doing some tweaking to poses, but I would never want to hand key a full animation in it. What you have there is great, especially for a first time. Reading up about, and especially practicing the principles of animation and body mechanics is incredibly important, and from where you are starting from, you can go far. Looking back on my first animation is embarrassing, more so when compared to this. Get a copy of Maya, if you are a college student you can get a free 3 year license from Autodesk, and download some of the free rigs from here. I especially like this guy for practicing body mechanics.

#15 Posted by super2j (1655 posts) -

@ScottishHobson said:

Thanks guys! Very happy to know people are liking it.

@Damodar: I hadn't seen that before, thanks very much! I'll keep this at the forefront of my mind if I work on anything else in SFM now. Do you have much experience animating?

@super2j: That keyboard stuff with coach was one of the toughest parts, I found; I had to try and animate his fingers moving over each other and it came across really jilted so I tried to hide it in a camera move, haha.

@MarkWahlberg: Every shot I did I began to appreciate more and more just how bloody tough animating is; it must take a state of absolute concentration for extended periods of time, I really don't know how teams manage to bring out massive projects like Pixar do. Incredible.

To be honest I did not notice any of the finger stuff because the part that was bothering me and taking all my focus was the flat keyboard, which is not your fault. After rewatching your thing, i feel like its fine, your fingers did not offend in anyway. What you are seeing is what happens when you spend so much time on something, you only see the details.

#16 Posted by ScottishHobson (27 posts) -

@Raethen: That's some brilliant advice and a very kind complement, thanks very much! I only started it just as a bit of fun really, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would and I think I'll definitely try to practice a lot more and see if I can improve.

The hardest part was trying to figure out how to lock and unlock an item from a character in the same shot (him taking headphones off and putting them on the desk).. it took me a long time to get around that, but I had to cut it into two shots and animate a camera move over the two of them to make it appear a bit smoother.. do you know if there are any better ways of doing something like that?

#17 Posted by BillyTheKid (484 posts) -

Animation is good but it could be a little bit better (far better than I could do for sure). The camera shots were amazing and really made up for any other flaws. The split screen stuff was also really cool and I had not seen it done.