Timmy Foo Animation Tutorial

This is an introduction tutorial on animating Timmy Foo. I’ll explain the various controls on Timmy, how to use them. And I will also explain a bit about the animation process. At the end of this tutorial you’ll be ready to animate Timmy Foo (I hope).

Please note that the character Timmy Foo may be used only for non-commercial purposes. If you do wish to use it commercially or you have other questions about this tutorial, please use our contact form to get in touch with us.

Click here to download Timmy Foo.

Controls on Timmy Foo

Controls for Timmy Foo (green)

1. Hip control – Controls his entire body except the feet and hands.
2. Hand and foot controllers – These control his hand/arms and feet/legs.
3. Toes – Bends the foot with the toes, rotate-only control.
4. Hands – In order to animate the hands you must unhide the bones and animate them directly.

Use local coordinate axis to rotate the bones, the first bone is the wrist rotates around the z-axis only.

The hand-bone: rotates around the y-axis only.



rotate local coordinate space x-axis only

5. Knee and elbow aimers – Use these crosses to aim the knees and elbows.
The aimers are linked to the body, which is a good average for the aimers.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to use them.
6. Head control – The head is controlled by 2 controllers, one look at-controller and one to control the head tilt.
7. With this setup you can make a wide variety of poses. There is also a slider that belongs to the character. That slider controls his eyes. Move it to the right and he closes his eyes.
Note: the slider is a manipulator, toggle manipulate to use it.

manipulate on


Animation basics

Animating a character is a slow but rewarding process. There are many things to take in account, not only technical stuff, like keying or overshoot. There is also the emotional side to it. What is the character thinking? And what are the resulting actions? In order to have these two work correctly, a story board or script is created first. In the script you write the story you want to tell, and how you want to tell it. (by what character actions). Such a script can be as short as ‘X jumps, lands, and falls through the floor’.

Lets take that script as a little step-by-step tutorial:

Jump for yourself a few times and think how you would act if the floor collapsed under you when you land. What do you do with your arms, body, legs and face.
One thing people do when they fall is looking for something to grab, or grabbing in mid-air. Whatever helps not to get a broken neck. Maybe the floor isn’t collapsing right away but 5 seconds after the body landed. What action happens in those 5 seconds? He might be looking around wondering why the floor is creaking like mad. When you figured out every action, write it down, or draw a story board. This is so you don’t forget what action to create next. Getting lost in technical issues while animating is very easy.

Your script could look like this:
- standing
- crouching
- jumping
- highest point
- fall
- crouch again to land
- and final pose
- floor collapsing and character reaction
- floor collapsing
- grabbing pose
- falling through the hole

There are generally two ways of creating an animation: ‘rough out and fill in’ and ‘animate as you go’. With the first method you create a rough animation first and when you are happy with the timing, fine tune it. You could also just start animating and see where you get. this method is more intuitive. You don’t have such a great control over length though. Also any alterations in the middle of the animation are harder to make then with the ‘rough out fill in’ method. Both methods are fine, mixing them is also fine. After the animation is done, render out an .avi to check the animation with the script. Adjust if needed.

Any questions regarding this tutorial, please use our contact form.

Artist Info: nBT

This tutorial is created by nBT for 3Dvalley.com. You are not allowed to redistribute this tutorial in any form.

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