So the time is finally here. Feels like we got this project ages ago. I have been working on this project from time to time, and never in too long sessions. The main task in this project was to animate a rig lifting a very heavy spherical object.

The task didn’t start very good. Just because I didn’t read the project text good enough. I started planning and animating a rig lifting a suitcase, and last time I checked, the suitcase isn't spherical. Too bad because I got my brother to lift a very heavy suitcase for me just to see how he would have done it, but it didn’t do much damage since we got good time on this one. Rather it was good practice for me.

After reading the text twice, I started on a new one. The planning got a bit bigger part of my task this time. First I sat down and thought of different spherical object my rig could lift. Many of my fellow students went for "the big stone lift", but I wanted something different and went for something a bit smaller - a bowling ball. Of course I went bowling.  I found one of the heaviest bowling ball there, and just looked around and made sure of that no one was watching and lifted it up. Tried a couple of techniques, but for my animation I wanted the ball to be heavier. So I kept that in mind when I later on was starting to animate. I also search through youtube and watch some videos there, but couldn’t find any good references, but I felt I have seen enough at the bowling alley. And of course I had the Animators Survival kit.

So for character. I thought that I need some words to describe my character so it would be easier for me to animate it. It's a big different on how a confident guy lifts something and a person who is not confident at all. So here is my words:

·         Confident

·         Wants to impress

·         Never quits

·         No that strong

The last thing I missed now, was a rig. The lowmax was the clear first choice since I have used in small school assignments before. All I had to do, was to chop of his head because we weren't supposed to have facial expressions.

And now for the animating process. I started out with the blocking out the extreme poses. This is maybe the part of animating where I learn more and more whenever I do it. I get more experience in getting the right timing. The timing here wasn’t fully accurate but it worked out well.
After this part I move on to the animation in-between every block pose. When I did this I saw that something weren't right here. I was focusing too much on other things then the lift and the lift itself wasn’t good enough. The ball seemed to light and he didn’t have to do much effort to get it up. I deleted the part where he hits himself and made more animation around the lift. The next part was the tweaking. I just opened the file when I had some spare time and just fixed and just did thing I thought looked good. Here is my end result.
I am quite happy with the result. Maybe the animation is flowing a bit much and the ball seems a bit lighter at the start. I glad I am done, and have learned a lot about animation. Feels like I am getting better at it each time I try.

I want to share what I was thinking one some of the actions that goes on in the lift, and maybe how it relates to the personality of my character. I have some stills from the lift, and I will try to explain my thoughts.

First he goes down and looks around to see that people is watching him. He wants to show that he can lift it with one hand. He wants to impress.
Here is he thinking something like "woot? that shouldn’t happen. What do I do now?"

Then he like power himself up, making himself angry  and the adrenalin flows through his veins.

He is ready for another try, and goes down. Full of confident again
Fail! He is not strong enough. The ball is too heavy.
Once again he powers up. He won't quit. He is not a loser.

He gets the ball up just because his willpower is so strong.

Artistic influence.

I have been reading the 3d world magazine for a while now, and Steve Lambert ( )got a monthly animation article about Disney's 12 principles of animating. I try to follow some of his tips and this have some effect on my work.

Another one is Pawel Lipka. I found a robot fight scene that he have made some while back. This short reel is good for motivation and I try to see how he does it. He makes the character look heavy and you can almost feel the impact of the hits and kicks. Here is the link to the vid -


So, one of our tasks of the project was to comment on someone's others lift animation. I chose to comment on Einar Martinsen's lift. You can read the comment here:

Just some last words. I want to tell what I know I will do next time I got an animation assignment, because after doing this, I feel like I have learned a lot about the process an animation needs to go through before it's done. The first is maybe to stay away from Max at the start. One thing I could have done, was to draw the extreme poses and scan them in and use a video editing program to clip the poses together and get the timing right there. When u got this blocking, I think I could use everyone around me to get their opinion. They spot things easier when I have been watching and working with this task for a long time. It's good with a pair of fresh eyes. By doing this I would have everything set before I  even started animating. That’s it. Finished and done.



11/25/2009 09:36

I like how you describe your process, and you do it well =) Your final result was good, but some parts of it I felt like the animation floated a bit. Other then that you nailed the point. The object seems heavy!

11/25/2009 11:15

I have to do a more detailed post here, due to the topics in the weight chapter in the animators survivalkit.

First of, when your character is about to lift for the first time, i dont see as much of anticipation as i wish i would. the same thing for the weight at the first lift, it doesnt seem heavy, But. When he drops it, i was like wow, that thing was heavy! and that you managed to do well.

When the character gets ready for his second attemt, i would like to see more exagerating in the pose. It goes a bit slow, and he doesnt look as irritated as i think you were trying to.

The last lift. He does something strange with his hands that i dont quite get. but the lift, i see weight and struggle. that was good. But it ended i bit fast. I feel like i didnt get to watch the end of a movie, if you know what i mean.

My conclution is: The project overall was good, your text and discription of the project was well done. And you got a pretty good result at the end. Good job! :)

Mats Hovind
11/25/2009 11:37

The first thing I see is the unlogical thing were he has no problems with lifting the ball with three fingers, but right after words is having trouble lifting it with two arms, Andreas told me it was adrenalin rush the first time.. But I dont buy it:P
There is a great deal of anticipation for the lift that helps with creating weight. I think its a bit much cause it just seems to last too long. The shakey knees is a good thing giving the illusion of unstability and the risk of the characther falling or not making the lift. Again I think its a bit extreme.
Time for some good feedback.. I like the way he "machoes" up at the 6-7 sec mark.. And I also like the way the characther falls abit backwards before the lift. On the 16 sec mark.

Overall its a much better job than I did. Congratuwelldone


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