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Thread: The Realistic Acrobatics Tutorial

  1. #1
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    The Realistic Acrobatics 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.
    Last edited by wraybies; 17 Jun 2013 at 03:41 AM. Reason: update image links

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    Re: The Realistic Acrobatics Tutorial

    I am glad somebody had the balls to finally contradict the "Crono Realism", congratulations on that.
    As for the tutorial itself, it's very well explained; .gifs help as well. As a matter of fact, I fully agree with pretty much all of the examples.

    [spoiler:2pgklgvt][img]http://**********.com/img/1356161334.gif[/img]
    I can't stop laughing right now.[/spoiler:2pgklgvt]

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    Re: The Realistic Acrobatics Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by Radium
    I am glad somebody had the balls to finally contradict the "Crono Realism", congratulations on that.
    As for the tutorial itself, it's very well explained; .gifs help as well. As a matter of fact, I fully agree with pretty much all of the examples.

    [spoiler:jfs1r0lj][img]http://**********.com/img/1356161334.gif[/img]
    I can't stop laughing right now.[/spoiler:jfs1r0lj]
    yeah that one was really fun to animate

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    Re: The Realistic Acrobatics Tutorial

    Brilliant Tutorial. Actually this is fucking heaps good, it shows new realistic concepts that the majority of people don't know.

    I'm going to move this to tutorials

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    Re: The Realistic Acrobatics Tutorial

    thanks lithium!

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    Re: The Realistic Acrobatics Tutorial

    Sticky this please. Great tutorial mate, makes me want to animate some acrobatics again.

  7. #7
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    Re: The Realistic Acrobatics Tutorial

    I'd say it was a pretty good job, but the examples seem too floaty for me to consider "realistic".
    And I quite disagree with the "be stiff part"

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    Re: The Realistic Acrobatics Tutorial

    *sigh* knew that one was coming.
    And I quite disagree with the "be stiff part"
    so you quite obviously don't tumble

  9. #9
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    Re: The Realistic Acrobatics Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by wraybies
    *sigh* knew that one was coming.
    and what's that supposed to mean?
    I think it's too floaty for realism, I've seen actual backflips 'n' things like that in person and they are much faster than your examples portray, and the fact that you want us to be stiff for realism to me just seems ridiculous, in a movement, there is no point where one part of your body doesn't move, or at least not in this case.

    |Pivot|YouTube|Easytoon|Flash|Animation Blog|Want some CC?

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    Re: The Realistic Acrobatics Tutorial

    I've seen actual backflips 'n' things like that in person and they are much faster than your examples portray
    cool- I've done them, do them on a daily basis, and if you read the note after kyle's proper roundoff backflip, it explains that he had over a second if airtime, and solid height, and anyone even decent can achieve that. I knew people wouldn't like them, but realism is realism. the amount of air you get out of a good roundoff is why they don't let people do them for high jumping.


 
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