The Fight Scene (FS)

From the film "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy". A bizarre and unexpected fight scene worth watching.


Please refer to FOL for assignment weight and due date

The Fight Scene (FS)

    This is a group project you may have the opportunity to pick your team or one will be assigned to you. The first purpose of this assignment is learning to work as a team with different people, so there will be no working alone, quitting teams or trading places with other classmates. I want to hear if there are issues and I can help advise but the heart of the assignment is to learning how to work it out for yourselves. This 'case study' activity can give context: - Teamwork Troubles)

    The second purpose of this assignment is to develop your research skills, so there will be some tasks that you might not know how to do. **(MoCap onto Advanced Skeleton rigs, refining and merging clips in Maya or MotionBuilder) This means some independent research and learning will be required here.

    Teams are welcome to share information freely with each other. Tutorial pages, links to useful resources, answers to questions are all fine things to share. If you figure something out: let every team know. *However* no digital assets are to be exchanged between teams and no one is to do work on behalf of another team. No shooting MoCap for other teams, no sharing rigs, no making models or rendering shots.

    This will be a 30 second, fully lit and rendered 3d animation of a fight scene between 2 characters: Green and Red. The character performances will be created using MoCap that is then cleaned and edited for quality. key poses only, in stepped mode. Teams will use the Adam base mesh previously provided to create their rigs. Rigging should be done with Advanced Skeleton (including facial rig!) to make animation easier. Students will need to plan the choreography of the fight, storyboard the sequence, create a simple 3d camera layout, Create motion using the MoCap stage, Edit the clips in MotionBuilder and Maya make key poses in stepped mode following the 12 principles of animation. 

    The film should take place in a simple, low poly environment that has a clear sense of locale. (eg. A park, a restaurant, a kitchen, a backyard etc.). Keep the environment simple. Everything should have basic shaders or materials applied. Final output should be lit and rendered in Arnold, with editing done in Premiere Rush (or other non linear digital editing software.) The film should have audio as well - music, simple foley and sound effects.

    While the recommended software tools to use are the ones provided, teams are welcome to use any software tools they have access to so long as they observe the following restrictions carefully.

Restrictions are as follows:

  • No cloth or hair simulation is allowed. 
  • No rendering watermarks are permitted. 
  • Except for the character geometry provided, no previously fabricated or purchased digital assets are permitted, including 3d models and MoCap clips: even if they were made by a team member for a previous assignment.
  • All work must be original and authored by the team for this assignment.
  • No digital assets are to be shared between teams for any reason, including the rig.
If you're uncertain if your plan doesn't meet one of these restrictions, just ask your teacher.

    In week 5, the teams will give a 15 min presentation to the class. The in-progress version of the film will be screened, then each student will talk for about their contribution to the project, what tasks are remaining, what has gone well, what has gone poorly, what (if any) special software or tools have been used and what (if anything) they've learned from the project so far.

    An anonymous team feedback survey will be administered at the completion of the project. Every student needs to complete their survey promptly.

The final film will be exactly 30 seconds long (720 frames @24fps). Students are welcome to add up to 3 sec (72 fr @24fps) total for titles/credits. Featured principles: Staging, Timing, Exaggeration, Posing (Solid Drawings), Appeal.

Hand-in file parameters:
  • Movie file type must be one of the following formats: .MOV or .MP4
  • H.264 codec compression
  • 960 x 540 resolution
  • File size must be < 250 MB
  • Final output should include simple shaders and materials as well as clear lighting
  • Audio levels are clear and consistent
  • File must be named as follows:
Film should be named: Team_##_FS.mp4
(eg. Team_03_FS.mp4 )

What I'll be grading on this assignment:

  • Has the team completed a 30 second 3d film that meets all of the assignment criteria?
  • Has the team authored Motion Capture data, refined for improved physics and clarity?
  • Does your film have animation to tell the story?
  • Have all the members of the team contributed to the success of the project, sharing work evenly?
  • Does the film follow good rules of cinematic storytelling?
  • Does the team present their work clearly, with evident understanding of lessons learned?
  • Have students completed their team feedback survey?


This student poll matches very closely with the feedback we get from our industry partners.

Some of the activities for the roll-out of this project.

  1. LinkedIn and Web Presentation (LP) / (WP) assignment (10 m)
  2. Share your pain: Horror stories from group work in the past (15 m)
  3. Assign groups. Confirm Discord channel access with Lastname, Firstname (15m)
  4. Teamwork Troubles. In teams, discuss the case studies of group project issues for 15 min. Teams then pick a member have 5 min to present the group's suggestions to resolve the issue with feedback from the class. (45 m)
  5. Define Asset vs. Task. In groups, generate an asset list for the project and from that a the class will make a master task-list for the entire project. (15 min)
  6. Agile project management - the bullet tour. The rule of small teams, The rule of the client, The rule of the network. (10 m)
  7. Grading a group project: common grade? peer feedback modifier plus/minus? peer feedback bonus only? (15 m) (Interesting analysis of different methods by uwaterloo)
  8. Make a team member grading rubric: top 5 criteria for a good teammate? (15 m)
  9. Questions and concerns: Now what? (10 m)
  10. Closing thoughts: Simultaneous work, not consecutive. Unoccupied? Find work! No place to hide in agile teams. Busy vs Productive. MoCap space: dglatour - YouCanBook.Me (10 m)
** Pandemic note - strikethroughs (like this) to suspend assignment elements like MoCap that are not possible to do remotely at this time. Hopefully This has been restored in future current iterations. 

If you're experimenting with MoCap on a rigged character
 - check out this video from instructor extraordinaire Jeremy Dilks: