Source Filmmaker

Source Filmmaker

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Animate my d;ck - the animation guide
By fuck source engine
Learn some stuff about animation in SFM. This won't get you a job at pixar or disney but it will help you improve.
What is animation?
Animation is about time. It takes time to make and you have to time it right. It's not easy but with tonnes of practice, you will learn.

I assume that you know the 12 principles of animation. If not, then see these videos

Also, if you are able to invest some money into this hobby you should check Digital Tutor's tutorials:
The graph editor
For animation, we use the GRAPH EDITOR,

Why? Well, because you have more control over your stuff. Of course the motion editor is very useful, especially for: moving stuff around, modifying sequences, smoothing curves and much more. In the end it comes down to your preference.

Now, let's step into it. When you see it for the first time, you will see a lot of lines that make no sense which of course, will make you confused as♥♥♥♥♥

First, let's explore the left side of this monstrosity.
So, the left top corner icons show the editor you're in, right now the graph editor.

Down below, we see 'v_weapon.Bip01_R_". That's a selected bone/joint, and the coloured 'Position/Rotation X/Y/Z' represent the vectors for each axis of that bone. With these, we move our model!

The plus sign on top is the bookmarks button. In animation, we don't call them bookmarks, we call them KEYFRAMES. A KEYFRAME is a point on the timeline that indicates the position values of your model.
- Keyframes
With these, the software gradually modifies values, the speed being based on the distance between them. Instead of pressing that button you can press M on your keyboard to insert one.

On the right side of the button, we see two numbers.
The first one indicates the FRAME where the keyframe is placed, and the second one the POSITION VALUE.

Now let's move to the right.
The first thing we see is the SELECT button, which we use to select KEYFRAMES inside our GRAPH. The GRAPH is the one with lines(CURVES) on it.

Next is the MOVE button that moves KEYFRAMES inside the GRAPH.

The hand, called PAN, moves the GRAPH around.

The SCALE button, 'scales' KEYFRAMES by moving them. Not very used, but it's useful if you select multiple keyframes.

The ZOOM button will zoom into the graph, allowing you to see the curves in detail. Useful if you select multiple keyframes.

The next bunch of buttons are the tanget type. Tangents are the brown lines.





About unify tangents and equalize tangents I have no idea. I would like someone to explain them. Anyway, the last two , change... I don't know how to explain it but while using WEIGHTED TANGENTS, the tangents are flexible, for example, allowing to create and modify the slow-in/slow-out effect.

An important thing is the keymode that sets the keyframe to the selected type everytime you insert it. You can use curve fit to experiment with it.

Let's not forget the timestrip. Click it and move the mouse to slide through the graph. The little number on the playhead is the frame you are at.

Small tip: if you go in the clip editor and right click one of the timestrips you can change the timecode: from seconds to frames and reverse.
How to make your animation look convincing
A convincing animation makes the spectator feel like that actually happened: he landed on the ground like a hero, he punched someone hard, he did something that looks somewhat realistic. First, you need to think of forces that influence your character/weapon/whatever's movement. Also, you need to apply those 12 principles.

An easy way to make your animation look good is to act your own animation. Yes, in real life. No joke. Record yourself with your camera as reference and try to recreate those movements in SFM.


As you can see there is a phase called blocking in which you pose your characters before progressively refining your animation.

Creating good poses + other stuff
Check Keith Lango's tutorials about poses and good visual flow:

I recommend using EpicPen (google it) to draw poses on the screen. You should also check his other tutorials here and here

Another good video about poses:
How does a baseball player become pro? Well, by playing of course! He learns from his mistakes and practice. How does a rookie animator become pro? Doing the same process. So get crackin' on those tangents, yo!

Try doing these exercises and apply the 12 principles of animation. Why not use yourself as reference huh?

Bouncing ball (loop) (squash and stretch/spacing)
Bouncing ball across the screen (2 bounces) (squash and stretch/spacing)
Cinder Block sliding off a shelf, hitting the floor. (spacing, form)
Flour Sac Jump (mass)
A blink (spacing/squash and stretch)
A head turn (transitions/ arcs)

Breaking a sweat
walk cycle (technical)
run cycle (technical)
character jumping (physical/ spacing)
Suicide backwards fall off a ledge (subtle delays and overlap)
A character getting up from a chair (physical, anticipation)
A smile (face muscles, appeal)
A sneeze (exaggeration and timing)
Do an action that requires a 'smear' (technical)
Laughing (reference studying)

Marathon training
Animate a hand doing something-close up (anatomy)
character lifting a heavy object (weight)
animate a dog shaking after a bath (overlap follow through)
hammering a nail (timing spacing)
character blowing up a balloon (physicality)
piano falling on a character (timing weight)
character brushing their teeth (personality)
character eating a sandwich (personality)
getting up out of bed (physical personality)
waiting for the bus stop (entertainment/ appeal)

Quitters quit, winners win
character throwing a bucket of water on another (physical acting)
tug of war b/w two characters (tension)
character drinking wine (research)
character making an egg- full process from fridge to mouth (rhythm and timing)
A feather falling and being blown by the wind (reference)
character reacting to "your parents are dead" (acting)
putting on a pair of pants (physical)
sleeping character being startled, then going back to sleep (rhythm and texture)

How to make a walk cycle
Check out Jesse Baumgartner's video which also applies the concept of blocking.
Tips and Tricks
Control an object from a specific point
Select a bone or a joint, press the circle with a dot inside it on the bottom bar of the viewport and on the orange circle, move the little bump on the left.

OR you can use my ret.arded method:
You grab "axis helper" from the models, place and line it up in the point where you want to control, lock the helper's transform to the object's transform then make the helper invisible. Now you control the object using the helper's root_transform.

For example look at this:

The pistol's controlling point is in the middle of the handle. With the axis helper I managed to control it from the trigger, reducing the effort 100 times.

Render settings

Click "more options".
First, to get the 1080p option you need to type this in the launch options: -sfm_resolution 1080 -w 1920 -h 1080

Tick the postporcessing effects you want to use. For depth of field and motion blur I recommend using 256 in the "# Samples" option. It looks better and removes the grainy ambient occlusion. Also, it's better not to always use motion blur. You should especially use it for fast moving shots.

Let's move to "Layoff Settings" tab.

You can override the frame rate if you want. Remember that it's not obligatory to use 24 fps. It's just traditional for movies, but since humanity is moving forward, you can use any framerate you want. REMEMBER! WHEN OVERRIDING THE FRAMERATE, OVERRIDE THE SHUTTER SPEED TOO! The formula is shutterspeed = 1/ (framerate * 2) OR 1 / framerate / 2

So, for 30 fps, the shutter speed would be 0,0167 and for 60 it would be 0,0083. You can try to render stereoscopic, but since it's a sh.itty effect, it won't work properly. Don't you ever watch a movie in 3D. It will make you dizzy and will regret it right after.

How to loop an animation
You've got 2 options: you either go in the clip editor and click this button until it turns like this , or you modify the animation's keyframes.

If you want to modify the keyframes, you will have to make sure that the first keyframe for each bone on your model is exactly the same as the last one. Now, you can combine the 2 techniques. If you want to just loop a couple of times, take the second keyframe from the beginning and copy paste it after the last keyframe (check the ending for an example).

Make a hold inside an animation
"Holds" are a small part in your animation that will just hold the action for a bit. You simply copy paste the keyframe on which you want the hold and then set the tangents to flat. Remember that the human body never stands still (excluding when it's dead). Because of that, you can set the tangets to spline and refine them a little just so the movement is barely noticeable.

With holds, the animation becomes more realistic and it's very useful for some situations. For example, when a character is in a horror situation, he could stop, slowly move his head towards a strange shadow, hold, then run away.

Slow motion
You have 2 options again: create an actual slow motion animation or edit the clip's time scale.
However I recommend combining the two because the animation will much more detailed and adjustable. Remember that the default value is 1.

First person animation
I don't recommend doing this in sfm. However, if you're really into it remember that there is no good rig and it will take a lot of time. If you want to just do it on a character with an actual body, go ahead, it's fun.

To do this, get a camera, a pair of hands, an object, place the camera behind the hands and the object in the hands. Adjust the FOV on the camera. For csgo hands I use 0.367728(double click on the slider to edit the value). Now simply animate whatever you want, if you can.

To be continued.
Thank you for reading this and I hope you learned something. If you didn't learn anything new, you should continue animating. Don't give up!

If you have questions ask in the comments.

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Prometheus Feb 12 @ 2:26am 
This literally has no fucking use
Madhardt Jul 21, 2017 @ 4:27pm 
Thank you for this wonderful guide.
The last of Barret's privateers Jun 1, 2017 @ 5:56pm 
I like how "drinking Vodka" is labeled as one of the toughest chalenges in SFM.
Mikasa Ackerman Jan 5, 2017 @ 12:15pm 
thx. this is helpful
The big fat monkey Sep 17, 2016 @ 9:25am 
Nevermind. Fixed itself after restart. Phew.
The big fat monkey Sep 17, 2016 @ 9:22am 
So i have a problem suddenly. The animation is suddenly playing slower than the actual lipsynch i did, just suddenly. Its affects the whole 83 seconds. What in the hell went wrong?
fuck source engine  [author] Aug 9, 2016 @ 9:01am 
@Ratchet Move it down in the ground using step tangents.
Mr.Ratchet Aug 9, 2016 @ 7:53am 
but not from the whole animation, just in 1 sequence for example a ball i have a ball and then suddenly dissapears
fuck source engine  [author] Aug 8, 2016 @ 7:40pm 
@Ratchet go into the left panel with model names, right click, delete animation set.
Mr.Ratchet Aug 8, 2016 @ 5:22pm 
hey 1 thing, how you make things dissapear?