Animating of minifigs on loose sand

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    Hello guys

    I work now on my brickfilm about pirates. There’s a problem with animating of minifigs on loose sand. For your reference, see my screenshot:

    It means the minifig stands on almost 1 inch thick layer of sand. I’d like minifig to leave footprints on sand, it’s look nice than walking on hard sand.

    However, the real problem is when the minifig has to make step, the sand can’t move around the minifig’s legs and at the same time the minifig has to stand in the same place like in the previous frame. Only legs have to move forward before changing the position and his torso has to be set perpendicularly to the sand, while the minifig is shifted. Additionally, I’d like to animate a pirate standing still and moving only his torso, while talking.

    Is there a solution of my problem to animate these scenes correctly?



    Lift the minifigs out of the sand when you want to move a part of their bodies, and be very careful when you put them back down.



    Here’s how I would do the footsteps in the sand thing.
    I’d shoot it backwards and then reverse it later.

    1.) Set up the camera so it is SOLID and won’t move between shots.
    2.) Set up the sand scene. Take a picture of the sand scene WITH NO FIGURE IN IT
    3.) Make all your footprints in the sand. Put the minifig at the END of the line of footsteps. Take a shot.
    4.) Progressively move the minifig backwards, using the footsteps as a guide.
    5.) Export your images as a short AVI film.

    Now you need to mask out the footsteps in front of the minifig as he moves backwards.
    There is a free piece of software called BafRan which will help you do this:

    This is on a German website, but there is English translation available.
    Follow the steps in the tutorial and then reverse your piece of film, using your first shot as a mask.
    Voila! Guy walking though sand and leaving footprints.

    Hope this helps,



    Having links show up as white is a dumb idea. You can hardly see them! I tried to edit my post so that the URL appeared in a different colour, but the forum software wouldn’t let me. Oh well.



    First, one inch of sand is crazy, it would move too much. You should build LEGO structures and cover them with sand (if you need hills), or use clay to sculpt the terrain then cover it with a very thin layer of sand. Then you gently place the minifigs on the sand to animate. I recommend you don’t show them actually walking on the sand very long, just do a few shots to let the viewer know they are walking on sand, then zoom in and show them walking, but not their feet. The audience will not know that they are really walking on baseplates now.

    For the sand shots, I’d say use clay underneath the sand. Just put enough sand to cover, but use the clay to actually make the minifigs stick. The sand will also stick to the clay. You won’t be able to use the clay later because of the sand in it, but it will be useful for this one short.

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