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Thread: The Realistic Acrobatic Tutorial (by: Wraybies)

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    The Realistic Acrobatic Tutorial (by: Wraybies)

    Attention! I didn't make this tutorial!

    I know what you all are saying- this is wraybies, this is not real, it's floaty, it's B.S., it's traced, it's stupid. Truth is, it's not, it's fun and hopefully informative. I'm not claiming to be the defacto judge on what acrobatics are realistic, but I don't ever see genuine "Realism" around here at all, at least in my opinion. not from any animator, save a select few. Sure the realistic aspect may sacrifice a bit of style, but I think it's a style all it's own.

    In this tutorial, I'll be explaining 3 tricks (2 single tricks, one combo). the tricks i'll be teaching are:
    Frontflip
    Roundoff, Back flip(s)
    Back Handspring

    shall we begin?

    First- some concepts. There are a few techniques most every flip uses. Blocking, spotting, and setting.
    I'm going to show some gifs of my friend kyle tumbling. (thanks to frank my friend for making these)

    Blocking:
    The idea of blocking is using the forwards momentum from a run, and translating it to upwards momentum via a jump or a roundoff. when performing a roundoff or a frontflip, the jump that the trick is performed on should come from a lean in the opposite direction of rotation. out of a roundoff, one would be forwards leaning, and use the force of their legs hitting the ground and stopping to propel their chest into the air. for a frontflip it's the same concept, putting the feet out in front means you'll rocket up when you "superman" into it.

    Setting:
    Setting is making sure you wait until near the height of your jump before beginning rotation. why? think of yourself like a pinwheel. if you hold a pinwheel's handle and move it up, while trying to rotate it as it goes up with the other hand, it will rotate more slowly, because it, as a whole is already moving up, your hand doesn't affect it as much. if you hold a slower moving pinwheel, then push it to spin with your other hand, it will move much faster as your hand to push it is moving faster in comparison to the pinwheel, here- a diagram:


    Spotting:
    Spotting is a big part of setting, and makes rotation easier for the person. it also makes animations less tiring to watch because character's heads will stay still to give the viewer something to fixate on. Spotting is looking at something to keep your head facing a direction so you set as high as possible, and do not accidentally begin rotation too early, slowing it down.

    here's some animations to explain:

    here's an example of a roundoff backflip with GOOD blocking/setting/spotting: (and you say my anims are floaty- ha!)


    note something- that's a 20fps gif, and he's in the air for 21 frames. he's up longer than a second, and I know the guy, and i know he can go bigger, and higher. don't assume giving somebody lots of airtime means the animation is floaty. if so, then real life is floaty, which I must say, i'm just fine with since that means we can all be badasses :P

    Now, here's a BAD example:


    note something here- this is the most ghetto you can get and still land it, and some DD acro-realism animations don't even look this techniqued. good realistic animations of flips will look like the first one, as flipping like this is downright dangerous. most newbies using this technique will land on their face, sprain an ankle, or die. kyle here only landed it because he's an amazing tumbler.


    The Front Flip

    To begin, a diagram.


    Some tips to remember:
    -Don't throw the arms and chest down, jump UP. SUPERMANNNNNN
    -the legs coming up should start the rotation, with the arms and chest coming to tuck a frame or two after
    -a good high frontflip doesn't bend it's knees too much on the landing (even with the height, most people aren't so bad at supporting their own weight)
    -the head is NOT THE CENTER OF GRAVITY. that is ridiculous. the head doesn't even control the motion.

    Now, a Good example:

    notice he never bends his knees too much, so the jump is a quick spring, and he blocks, even though he runs slowly.

    Now, a Bad example:

    This is a common style of frontflips among DarkDemon (special thanks to kellawgs for making this). the legs are not together, the knees bend on landing really hard, and he throws his weight directly to the floor, however his head hovers, because it's assumed to be the center of gravity. no. just no.


    Roundoffs, Backflips, Running Tumbling

    Here we go- the diagram.


    Some tips to remember-
    -the blocking angle changes based on roundoff speed. don't lean all the way over forwards from a standstill roundoff
    -the first frame of the jump should be the most height gained. go less and less pixels up every time.
    -the faster the roundoff, the higher the jump when the stickfigure uses blocking.
    -don't block if going into a back handspring, legs should actually go under him.
    -upwards of a whole second of airtime is totally okay. try not to go past 1.5 seconds unless it's a ridiculous trick like a double layout, triple back, quad full.
    -rotations take usually 6-8 frames to complete.
    -tuck once nearly at the top of the jump.
    -keeping the head in during a tuck makes for faster rotation, but it's difficult to have the resolve to do that. most good tumblers manage to keep it at the same angle as the chest
    -when tucking, bring the knees to the chest, not the other way around. the legs make him flip.
    -keep the torso generally straight, don't warp it all the way over.
    -once the roundoff is over, keep both feet in the EXACT SAME PLACE.

    Now, a Good example:

    note- this is a double back because i CBA to animate another roundoff backtuck, and with this much speed, and this much height, and this good of a technique, you'd almost always overrotate a single back tuck. you'd have to layout or you would land on your back. you can greatly slow rotation down, but it's very difficult to just stop it.

    Here's a Bad example:

    as you can see, there's no "lag step" (skip on one foot for the last step) before the roundoff (common mistake i see) he also comes down bent over, and jumps straight back into his backflip, his legs separate the whole time. he also frequently bends his knees. bad form, not realistic. this in real life would land a person straight on their pain gland.


    The Back Handspring

    You know the drill- Diagram:


    Some Tips to remember
    -most people step back into these to get a teeny bit more momentum
    -the jump back to hands should be quick.
    -the head does not come up until the legs have snapped over
    -keep straight legs, try not to bend knees.
    -roundoffs will give more power than back handsprings
    -usually trickers do roundoff>trick, where as pro gymnasts do roundoff>backhandspring>trick
    -bring those arms up at the end
    -good back handsprings rebound naturally because of the momentum of the torso (center of gravity) coming up. no need to bend knees at the end and jump. you'll bounce if it's done right.

    Now, a Good example:

    -note how stiff and fast this is. the faster the back handspring, the better. also the feet, after the jump, move roughly the same distance in every frame. IRL it is bad to bend the elbows when you land on your hands, but in animation I think it looks cooler and more realistic, since very few people do back handsprings with perfectly stiff arms, and in pivot, you can't show flexion at the shoulders because there are no shoulder joints.

    Finally, a Bad example:

    -note how he jumps very high, bends his knees when upside down, and manages to somehow spontaneously generate a whole lot more momentum than is needed. these are common errors around here.


    Thanks for reading everyone, I'm not trying to tell any of you how to animate, but I'm just getting a little annoyed at things being considered "realistic" that have no basis in reality whatsoever. extreme speed and jerky movements and perpetually bent limbs are not realistic when it comes to acrobatics. I do hope people take some advice from this tutorial, and I see some cool flips animated sometime! once again, thanks for reading, and have fun animating.

  2. #2
    Saints never die! funnyfingers's Avatar
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    nice tips ty.

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    I Da Box. Regen's Avatar
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    When you did the back handspring, the body was too stiff. Bend it a little more.

  4. #4
    Ultima Veritas Zed's Avatar
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    Since this has been bumped up again:

    This tutorial is a good tutorial in that it explains what you should do and why you should do it. It is clear and it has examples and anyone who is writing a tutorial should look to this as an example.

    That said, you should not follow this tutorial.


    To start with, the premise is flawed. The author compares animations to a film of a real person who does two backflips, one good and one bad, and declares that therefore the animation which resembles the bad backflip is bad animation. This is simply not true. An animation is good if it resembles real movement. There is no reason that a bad backflip cannot be a real movement - indeed, the film proves that a bad backflip can be a real movement - so you can certainly make a good animation by animating a bad backflip. In fact, if what you're aiming for is "realism" then you probably shouldn't do a perfect backflip, since most people won't get their backflips right in real life. Also, the point of gymnastics is to impress an audience with something that they don't think should be possible. The point of animation is to make people think that what you're showing them is possible. These goals do not align well.

    Secondly, the animations hailed as "good" in this tutorial miss some important things out from the movement they're imitating. The most obvious problem is the arms. The guy who does the real jump gets almost all of his angular momentum from those arms. In the backflip animation they stay tucked in and do fuck all. It's understandable - I would never try to animate arms doing what the real guy's did - pivot doesn't give you the frame rate for it and you can't do 3d infront of the body with everything in black. But if you can't animate the main drive of the flip, don't animate the flip. You have to find some way to work around it, i.e. the traditional pivot style which gets derided as "unrealistic".

    (I said "some" important things so they're here for completeness, but I don't want to criticise a tutorial too much for the problems in the example animations. I know my own are pretty bad too. The issues are: the angle from takeoff; failing to adjust the amount of bend in the knees during the anticipation depending on how much speed the run-up has; completely changing the direction of the followthrough after just a single frame on the ground, or, refusing to put a foot backwards if the momentum requires it; the real guy absorbed a lot of the impact in his back which the animation ignores, possibly because the stk had too few joints; and I'm pretty sure that's a sprung floor the real guy is using which does not translate well to pivot.)

    My main point is that just trying to get as close as possible to what you've seen elsewhere is not the basis of a good animation. Pivot does not let you do the same things as you can see in real life. The low frame rate alone means you can't do everything properly and still have it look good. That's what kills the DD-style run. You have to accept the limitations of the tool and work around them - don't just ignore them and try to do everything else as you would normally. The centre of gravity isn't in the head? Well it probably isn't in your head, but have you seen stick figures? Their heads are huge! It makes no sense to pretend that a stick's centre of gravity is the same as a real person's, and likewise it makes no sense to have someone generate all the force they need for a flip from a single frame on the floor. If we were in thirty fps then sure, we could get damn close to the real-life gymnastics and it would look amazing. But we're not. You can't just take every other frame from a thirty fps animation and hope it still works at sixteen. It doesn't.

    I also want to reiterate the problem I have with people aiming for "realism". We're using stickfigures for crying out loud. The audience is under no illusion that they're watching something which actually happened. If reality is ugly and stiff then fuck reality. What we are doing here is art. Let's make something beautiful. Make animations which bounce and flow, and which people actually want to see. I have sat and watched beautiful, short pivots on repeat for minutes on end. I would never watch the animations in this tutorial for anything other than cc.


    People are, of course, at liberty to animate in whatever style they choose. I just sincerely recommend they don't choose this one.


    *I know a stick's centre of gravity isn't in the head, even taking account of the relatively larger head size. It will be higher up than normal, but I sacrificed accuracy for making my argument run more smoothly. Just like we should in animation!
    artwork by Mantha, 'cos she's the bestest

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    I am with Zed on this one. In animation we don't want to be too realistic. It actually seems unrealistic at times.
    We'll want to use exaggeration and large obvious movements if we want to create a convincing animation.

    Besides it looks way cooler anyway.

  6. #6
    Tell Your Friends zawmbee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zed View Post
    We're using stickfigures for crying out loud.

    Wheeeew. Post of the year.



  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Zed View Post
    I also want to reiterate the problem I have with people aiming for "realism". We're using stickfigures for crying out loud. The audience is under no illusion that they're watching something which actually happened. If reality is ugly and stiff then fuck reality. What we are doing here is art. Let's make something beautiful. Make animations which bounce and flow, and which people actually want to see. I have sat and watched beautiful, short pivots on repeat for minutes on end. I would never watch the animations in this tutorial for anything other than cc.
    No no, your wrong. Unfortunately, pivot is waaaay different to animating with flash. Realism is a kind of art form too.
    You kind of thinking is kinda a reverse picazo. Everyone used to not like Picazo's paintings because they weren't real at all. But now look, he is one of the most known artist in the world. If its art, we shouldn't animate how people "actually want to see", we should animate how we want. Wraybies in real life does actual acrobatics.

  8. #8
    Ultima Veritas Zed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Secretname911 View Post
    Unfortunately, pivot is waaaay different to animating with flash.
    Not sure why you think this is relevant. If anything flash would be more suited to realism, because you could change the frame rate.

    Realism is a kind of art form too.
    Bullshit. Realism is a science.

    You kind of thinking is kinda a reverse picazo. Everyone used to not like Picazo's paintings because they weren't real at all. But now look, he is one of the most known artist in the world. If its art, we shouldn't animate how people "actually want to see", we should animate how we want.
    I'm not saying Wraybies is immoral for making animations that look awful. I'm encouraging people who read this not to follow his example. If someone wants to make animations that look like his - as opposed to animations that look like those made by other experienced animators - then this is a fine tutorial. And if someone wants to make an animation which looks like this then I have no right to say they shouldn't. However, I think most people want to make animations which other people enjoy, and it's not fair to mislead people into thinking they will achieve that by following this tutorial.

    Wraybies in real life does actual acrobatics.
    I'm sure he does. Not once did I say his method is further from a real-life "good" flip than the usual way of doing it. If you wanted to animate a guide for teaching other people acrobatics then his animations are more suited to that purpose, but I don't think anyone wants to watch an acrobatics tutorial when they could be watching something which looks better.
    artwork by Mantha, 'cos she's the bestest

    You will kneel before me and you will confess that I am God.

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    MYAAH! Kodoku's Avatar
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    We can compare animating with acting. We don't want to make things look like reality, we want to make them look beatiful, and we want to make the audience to think that it could happen on real life.

    Let's use a extreme example: In movies, we see a lot of times that a character dies in arms of another character. This is a beatiful scene, and we love it when it's well acted, but in real life, I wouldn't hold a dying person in my arms. Nor would I make a beatiful speech about how special that person is for me. I'd surely be like "CALL911CALL911CALL911OMGOMGOMG". And I'm pretty sure most people would do so too.

    Also, dude. I haven't seen not even ONE rhg/animation on stickpage where acrobatics were involved in them. I have seen jumps, flips, and everyting but those examples aren't suited for the kind of animations we do. also they don't really look like "good" animations. just average.
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  10. #10
    i like fonts Ashero's Avatar
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    I think that Wraybies taught us where our center of gravity is and some physics. And who says it is misleading to use this tutorial to make enjoyable anims?And Realism IS art. lol yes





    ur lies

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