Dragon & Dinosaur Animation

Okay after taking in all the feedback I’ve gotten on this shot, this is my latest update on it. Safe to say I’m sick of it lol Especially considering the gargantuan amount of times Maya crashed, froze, or plain old stopped working, recently it decided to not key individual channel attributes when selected + press “S” (as it should be its default behaviour) but now I have to manually right click and then click on “key selected”, unless I want to fill my graph editor with needless cluttering lines… Anyways, this is a hard shot already, and having Maya fight against me half the time really doesn’t help. Let me know your thoughts on this, Camera isn’t 100% final but I think the animation itself is getting there, soon as my mentor calls this finished I can do the final layers of simulation, then send it off to VFX for the fire breath, and then it’s render time.

Of course any change or tweak done on the dinosaur whilst he’s holding the boar means I have to re-run a sim for the pig, after I’m done with this shot I’ll definitively will be posting suggestions and feature requests for Ragdoll, as there’s some things that could really be improved in terms of QOL.


Hey @MLV, congrats on finishing the shot. It does indeed look intense. Am I understanding it correctly that this whole 40 second sequence is a single Maya scene, rendered from multiple cameras on the same timeline? That first 18 second cut in the beginning is alone a massive undertaking for any animator. My recommendation, and this isn’t exactly Ragdoll-related haha, but it would be to split a sequence (i.e. more than one cameras) in separate Maya scenes and line up their beginnings and ends. That’ll both take the load off of Maya, but enable you to focus.

As for the physics, it sounds like you’re ready to move on so I’ll save that for your suggestions and feature requests. Looking forward to it!

Hi @marcus and yeah the whole shot is 1 single Maya scene with with all the characters in it, and 3 cameras, I then export the playblasts from the 3 cameras and edit them in Premiere Pro, thing is when I started animating I didn’t have a camera set-up as I didn’t know what my camera would have looked like, so I had to make sure the animation looks good from any angle as I didn’t know what would be seen or not. Same for the Dragon, the pig is 100% handled by Ragdoll,.

Hey @MLV

It’s come along way! I like that the dino rolls after the fire blast, that’s my favorite part.
As for feedback, I’ve got some animation specific notes.

  • one thing I just want to comment on, you say you’re tired of this shot, things are breaking and the sequence if feeling like a house of cards -if you change something you’ll need to resim the whole thing. I Agree with Marcus on this one for breaking up the anim into separate shots to really work up the animation. You don’t want a workflow thing getting in the way of getting the best quality possible.
  • You have the best case scenario with this piece as you’re in full creative control over what happens. That wont happen often or at all in the industry.

Here are the notes I would give on this shot if I was supervising you at a studio :

  • The foot falls are missing some pressure on the feet… currently the toes flick out and flop down, have a look at some birds for reference, an ostrich is great for dino reference, animating blind without a solid reference can get you into trouble .
  • The boars hind legs are twinning (moving the same) and looks like the lower part of the leg is bending back too far for what the bones would allow. might want to change the angle limits.
  • When the dino stops walking there’s a sudden stop, try get a bit of an overshoot on the full body.
  • The throw down has a good anticipation but slows down to a stop in the head and then a release, I’d connect the head rotating down and letting go, as one smooth action. Also this action feels localized to the head/neck - on a throw like this, the body would need some effect to drive the head.
  • The eating , looks like the dino only effects the boar on the last bite.
  • The Dragons last wing hold isnt effecting the body of the dragon, it’s a huge mass that’s moving in isolation and would effect the body… everything is connected . every action has a reaction and ever action as something leading that action.
  • Dragon jumping is missing an anticipation pose have a look at a big cat about the pounce.
    *Dino Running- the arms are holding a pose , the back forward motion of the dino has some holds that take away from the energy of the run.
  • Would be nice to see some curled toes on the dead pose,

I did a quick edit suggestion to stream line the story, 39 seconds is a lot of animation to go through and your animation time would need to get spread out over it all… I cut out around 13 seconds

Of course take this with a grain of salt, I tend to find students make their projects too big or long and the final result suffers, which is sad because that final piece could mean getting or not getting the cool industry job.



Wuw, that edit did a lot to improve this sequence. Two other things I’d add that I just noticed.

  1. The dino’s tail is too aligned with his back. Looks like he’s got a broom stuck up his butt. I’d expect it to drop more and maybe even rest on the ground.
  2. The dino’s center of gravity is too far ahead of his contact with the ground. He would surely fall over. Even without a boar in his jaws. I would solve this by either moving the body back or increasing the size of his tail so it counters more of its weight.

An interesting experiment could be to try and make the dino fully dynamic, and to find a balanced pose in that dynamic state. I expect you’ll find his feet would need to be almost under his shoulders to carry that boar.

Thank you for the feedback @Jason and @marcus , I am getting many notes from different animators at CG Spectrum, including my mentor,. Problem for me is sometimes I actually get conflicting suggestions from different people, so it does get very hard to figure out who I should listen to when such conflicts arise.

If you list the conflicts, perhaps we can elaborate on those. Odds are they are aligned but could be communicated differently.