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Animating Martial Arts

📄 Contents

  1. Posing for Martial Arts
  2. Sample Martial Arts Moves
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High-action fight scenes for games or films can be difficult to animate. With some tips from animation expert George Maestri, though, you'll learn how to put martial arts and fight scenes into action.
George Maestri is the author of several animation books from New Riders Publishing, including [Digital] Character Animation 2, Volume I and [Digital] Character Animation 2, Volume II. He is also the series editor for New Riders' [Digital] series of books, including [Digital] Lighting and Rendering and [Digital] Texturing and Painting.
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Martial arts and fighting is a big part of many 3D animated projects. Many games are specifically about fighting, and most action movies incorporate some form of martial arts. Animating any type of high-action fighting, whether it be for games of features, can be one of the more difficult tasks an animator will ever face. Martial arts is an excellent example of the human body in motion.

Posing for Martial Arts

Posing a fighting character will usually keep the character coiled and ready to strike or move out of the way at a moment's notice. A character involved in a fight is always ready for the unexpected.

For the body to be ready, the fighter will usually keep the knees bent, placing the hips lower than normal. Bending the knees stores energy, much like a coiled snake. It also gives the fighter more options—straightening out the leg allows the fighter to quickly jump, and bending the leg allows him to quickly duck. If the legs were straight, for example, the fighter would need to bend his knees before jumping, wasting valuable time.

The fighter also uses his arms as defense. Boxers, for example almost always keep both arms raised, to deflect any blows to the face and the upper body. Bending the arms also keeps them coiled and ready to throw a quick punch.

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