Merman Hunter, extending the javelin throw routine

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Trilby
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Merman Hunter, extending the javelin throw routine

Post by Trilby » April 3rd, 2010, 4:35 pm

For the last few days I've been working on blocking out the motion of the Javelin attack for the Merman Hunter. Ideally I would have liked to show some sort of progress before starting a topic, however I've run into a few issues that need clarification before I can continue properly.

The throw itself is not the problem, I've broken down video footage into separate images as a reference point, and I'm ironing out the motion of the throw at the moment. The main issue is with how the unit will ready it's ammunition and cycle into the resting frame. I picture the animation following the approximate procedure: he should take the weapon from the quiver at his right-hand shoulder, adjust for proper grip, gradually bring the weapon back and then chuck it (depicting a follow through motion), then cycle back to the resting frame to begin again. I'm thinking all this stacks the frame count a little too high.

Below is the unit image for the Hunter. I gather that the separate PNG overlay for the throwing spear takes the place of the unit spear once it's thrown. Is this still the case? Or am I wrong, is the spear in the left hand for throwing too? Just wanted a little clarification from others and how they imagine the javelin throwing may work.

One difficulty with the sprite resting in this pose, is that it may may look a little odd to see the pose get cycled into during combat. With animations such as defence that only have two frames max, flexibility might be reduced.

Maybe I'm over thinking the motion cycles. With all this in mind I would greatly appreciate the thoughts of my fellow artists on the matter. Has anyone else gotten round to this unit or it's subsequent leveled counterparts?
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The spear projectile from trunk
The spear projectile from trunk
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The Merman Hunter
The Merman Hunter
hunter.png (1.51 KiB) Viewed 4016 times
Last edited by Trilby on August 5th, 2010, 12:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Merman Hunter, early queries

Post by thespaceinvader » April 3rd, 2010, 5:05 pm

Feel free - noone has done it yet. And you can do whatever works best for the animation. Don't feel bound by the base frame as to handedness.
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Re: Merman Hunter, early queries

Post by Trilby » April 4th, 2010, 11:49 am

Aye, I soon came to realise that at some point or another he's going to prove an ambidextrous thrower, when the image is flipped in game.

I just wondered whether the spear he is holding was envisioned as the weapon he would throw, i.e would he throw from this same arm as well?

So far my blocking out the motion actually has him throwing from the arm currently seen poised at his hip, at some stage he would stash his TC-ribboned spear in favour of grabbing a non-TC javelin. My thoughts were that this would better fit with the projectile PNG. I'll continue as I have been doing and see where it goes.

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Re: Merman Hunter, early queries

Post by Trilby » May 1st, 2010, 7:57 pm

Double post or you'll miss it.

I've at last gotten back round to messing about with the blocking for the Hunter, it's bare-bones yet, just getting the javelin throw paced and posed correctly. I've been cutting and pasting so quickly my eyes are spinning, so I could do with some feedback for a fresh perspective.

Also suggestions on how to articulate the tail in this motion would be greatly appreciated, I have ideas but I am closer to being baffled truth be told. Balance is the key I suppose, but I don't know whether I should bring the tail round front at any point.

Note the left arm (as we see it) will continue to hold the melee spear.

Discussion desired... :P
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Re: Merman Hunter, early queries

Post by Issyl » May 1st, 2010, 8:07 pm

Trilby wrote:I picture the animation following the approximate procedure: he should take the weapon from the quiver at his right-hand shoulder, adjust for proper grip, gradually bring the weapon back and then chuck it (depicting a follow through motion), then cycle back to the resting frame to begin again. I'm thinking all this stacks the frame count a little too high.
I'm pretty sure it's not really important for him to actually draw the javelin from the quiver - after all, most mainline bow units don't actually draw the arrow from the quiver when they fire.
Trilby wrote:Also suggestions on how to articulate the tail in this motion would be greatly appreciated, I have ideas but I am closer to being baffled truth be told. Balance is the key I suppose, but I don't know whether I should bring the tail round front at any point.
I would suggest coiling the tail up (bringing it towards his body) when he readies the spear to be thrown, then extending it with quite a bit of force when he throws the javelin (maybe coupled with moving him an pixel or two to the right). I wouldn't bother moving it horizontally.

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Re: Merman Hunter, early queries

Post by artisticdude » May 1st, 2010, 10:41 pm

This thread might be useful if you're going to tackle the lack of animation for the merfolk. You don't really need the unit to draw the weapon from the quiver, but if you're willing I'd encourage you to do it, because it adds a new level of believability and quality to the animation.
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Re: Merman Hunter, early queries

Post by Zerovirus » May 2nd, 2010, 12:19 am

Guh. Don't remind me. I'll go back and fix that anim up for mainline someday >.>

I'm not sure I understand his firing. He grips it with both hands then throws it? The gripping part seems unnecessary... He could just pull and throw, couldn't he? It'd be a smoother animation.

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Re: Merman Hunter, early queries

Post by Trilby » May 2nd, 2010, 10:56 am

Zerovirus wrote:I'm not sure I understand his firing. He grips it with both hands then throws it? The gripping part seems unnecessary... He could just pull and throw, couldn't he? It'd be a smoother animation.
Drat, if it resembles a two handed throw, something is definitely off. I intended a one handed throw with his right arm (as we see it), with his left arm coming up to aid balance and momentum and then swinging away at the point of the throw. I've already ditched many of the would-be frames that show the javelin being prepped, and since the above example another one has been dropped as well. Essentially what I should have left is the pull back and throw, like you have suggested.

I see from pre-existing javelin throwers such as the Saurian Skirmisher, that the throw motion comes from the left hand (as we see it). This would solve the awkwardness of managing the melee spear.... Suddenly my reasons for choosing the right arm for throwing are dwindling, and that decision may have lead to unnecessary confusion... catch up Trilby!

I'll see about switching the handedness of the throw, and then compare the two.

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Re: Merman Hunter, early queries

Post by thespaceinvader » May 2nd, 2010, 12:33 pm

Make the motion quicker - in particular, don't have any tweening between the furthest point back of the wind-up, and the release frame - you will cover this snap with the projectile, in the same way as we cover it with a motion blur. Otherwise, this looks pretty good so far - i think the two-handed thiing is not a problem - it only looks that way because the head is not included.

The other thing i would suggest is that you stretch it out a bit more during the wind up - put the front hand right out, and the javelin hand right back, turn the body like an olympic javelin thrower. Exaggerate more, and it will look better.
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Re: Merman Hunter, early blocking animation

Post by Trilby » May 2nd, 2010, 7:49 pm

An update on the motion, somewhat patched together from various attempts and exaggerated. A left handed throw didn't turn out well, but I was able to salvage a new throwing release motion from it. See what you think, and I'll come back to it in a few days with fresh eyes.

EDIT

I couldn't decipher anything too unreasonable about the last update, but I've shifted the sprite down and to the right - in the release frames to exaggerate the motion further. The lowest release frame countered this with a little more squashing, so it may not look to move much but I think the dynamism is present to a larger degree.

I'm now tackling the fish tail, so to speak.
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Re: Merman Hunter, blocking the javelin throw

Post by Jetrel » May 5th, 2010, 7:06 am

The shoulders needs to reel back much further before throwing it. We lack this on current spear-throwing animations, but it's in part because really don't have any good ones, just some cheap 1-frame BS.
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Re: Merman Hunter, blocking the javelin throw

Post by Trilby » May 5th, 2010, 1:13 pm

Okay, I've attempted to get the shoulders to reel further back for the last wind-up frame. Was unsure whether the body should twist more, so you would be seeing more of his back than his front - or if you were referring to the pitch of his shoulders and ergo his effective height being adjusted with foreshortening. My attempt was for the latter.

I've also blocked out how I envisioned the tail moving during this throw. Any objections? Cycling into the standing frame leads to an abrupt stop, any thoughts on this?
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Re: Merman Hunter, blocking the javelin throw

Post by thespaceinvader » May 5th, 2010, 1:39 pm

That's the right idea, but probably a little too much - the javelin itself should remain parallel with its eventual direction of travel for more-or-less the whole motion, particularly the throw itself - at the furthest back point of the wind-up, the chest is going to be roughly parallel with the throw, too. The motion you've go there looks great for throwing something like a rock which doesn't have a specific direction, however =)

As regards the tail, that part looks good to me. As regards the base frame - one more frame of recovery would probably get you there.
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Re: Merman Hunter, blocking the javelin throw

Post by f » May 5th, 2010, 7:25 pm

Hi Trilby,
wouldn't the tail move in the other direction? I would expect that the upper torso and tail rotate in opposite direction to conserve angular momentum(disregarding the touching of the ground).

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Re: Merman Hunter, blocking the javelin throw

Post by Trilby » May 6th, 2010, 2:00 pm

f wrote:Hi Trilby,
wouldn't the tail move in the other direction? I would expect that the upper torso and tail rotate in opposite direction to conserve angular momentum(disregarding the touching of the ground).
You may well be right, I admit to being baffled on how it should look, I'm working without any visual reference for the tail motion. I was torn between setting his tail down front - to counteract the weight as he leans back for the wind up frames or putting the weight into the tail and propping him up from behind - the latter was the first to achieve a decent serpentine motion.

Thanks for getting to me before the rendering, much appreciated. If there appears to be a general agreement to change what I've come up with I'll give it a rethink.

Still puzzling on the reeling shoulder and the general tilt of the upper body for the main wind-up frame. From the previous anim I've adjusted the angle that the body leans and switched to having the javelin arm extended to the right-hand side of the body -this should keep the javelin parallel to the throwing trajectory.

Also included an additional recovery frame, but still sparring with the tail motion here too.
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