Animation Obstacle Course Project – Research Analysis on Chun Li

Picking My Character

For the obstacle course project we must choose a character with a unique movement style, and animate it maneuvering an obstacle course while completing an objective. I had a brief look over the suggested characters and didn’t really feel passionate about any of them. The characters that I did like on the list didn’t have a very unique style and was more of just a flexible athletic character, such as Sebastien Foucan and Kim Possible. This helped give me a rough idea of where I wanted to go with the movement, so I knew what characters I would have to filter through to find one I was eager to do. My first point of call was the Super Smash Bros games, as they all feature iconic and unique characters with very different move sets.

This turned out to be one of the best resources I could have gone too, and I quickly made a list of five characters I wouldn’t mind doing, and further narrowed it down to three. These three were: Link, Fox and Ryu. I would have enjoyed animating either one of these, but I eventually went with the character I liked most which was Ryu. Ryu has a fairly standard martial arts way of movement, but what I wanted to really incorporate was his iconic combat moves. I was realizing pretty quickly that I had strayed away from the athletic movement that I wanted to do, and was getting caught up on the combat (which I still wanted to do). I loaded up Ryu and was practicing his moves in test mode on SFIV when I solved the problem of wanting both athletic and moves. My main girl Chun Li.

It took a while to narrow it down to Chun Li but once I had I was very happy with my decision. What is there to not love about this bad ass martial arts boss with ridiculous thighs. She was the perfect bridge of iconic combat moves, and an athletic and recognizable movement style. I went and watched her move list from multiple Street Fighters on you tube, and played SFIV so I could get the feel of the character. Their is a distinct difference between playing and watching, as when you are playing you understand the flow of her movements a lot better instead of just watching.

For the obstacle course I will be using a mix style of the original Chun Li with her sprite animation, more so the victory poses, as well as her latest style from the later games such as SFIV and SFV.

street-fighter-5-chun-li
Street Fighter Two through to Five (Aswell as Extras)

 

Research and Analysis

Taunts and Victory Poses

Chun Li has a fairly common martial arts/ athletic movement style, however when combined with her combat moves it is very unique. I will be alternating between her combat and movement through the course in order to bring the iconic Chun Li feel to the animation. In order to bring out her character outside of movement I will be having her do a starting pose, a victory pose, as well as reactions that are iconic to her throughout the course.

start-tauntvictory

One of Chun Li’s most recognizable trait is her child like nature when reacting to things, such as victories. This isn’t as common in the later games however is very well known to those who played the sprite based games Street Fighters. It was well acted by Jackie Chan in the movie City Hunter where in one scene he turns into Chun Li and must fight Ken (Wong et al., 2016). 

Basic Movement

Chun Li’s running cycle is fairly stock standard, however she isn’t seen running too often and is more often than not in the air or down low on the ground. Because of this I will be focusing more on her jumps than her running, but I have still collected reference and will still animate a run cycle as she will still run, even if it is just an intermission between jumps or moves.

jump-basicjump-flipjump-spin

run-2run-1

Basic Combat/Attacks

Chun Li uses her legs for the majority of her attacks, and almost all combos revolve around them, as they are her biggest feature and the most iconic/ recognizable trait she has. For the obstacle course animation I am wanting to incorporate combat moves in order to speed up her obstacle course time as she would have a better flow. For example with the first kick sprite displayed below, she could kick the box in variation one to the wall, allowing her an easier way up the wall. Or she could use the spinning bird kick (technically a combo move, however for the sake of aesthetics I have listed it under basic combat) to leap over the final unmovable box without touching it.

The basic attacks would be easier to implement and wouldn’t be too far from something Chun Li might do while traversing the course, however I would much prefer to incorporate her iconic special moves, even if they stray a bit from how she would ideally move through the course.

basic-kickspinning-bird-kick

Special Attacks

This is the core of what I would love to be able to incorporate. Chun Li has amazing special moves, most recognizably being the famous Hyakuretsukyaku, commonly known as Lightning Kicks, which has been around since Chun Li’s first appearance in Street Fighter II (“Hyakuretsukyaku”, 2016). Along side Lightning Kicks there is the Hazan Tenshokyaku (Supreme Mountain Heaven Flying Legs) which is a series of rapid kicks in quick succession, with the possibility of hitting even the top of the screen (“Hazan Tenshokyaku”, 2016). Alongside these moves Chun Li also has the Hadouken, or in the more recent versions of the game, the Kikoken.

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Summary of Movement and Combat

In summary I will be using the movement style of both the sprite and 3D based versions of Chun Li. Focusing on the sprite animations is a great way to reference as they have more power poses and flexibility unlike some of the key poses in Street Fighter IV.

“…SFIV Chun-li  looks like she’s posing for a photo shoot, whereas SFIII Chun-li looks full of adrenaline and intensity… almost as though she were in a fight!”
(“Artist Explains Why Street Fighter III’s Animations Are Better Than Street Fighter IV’s – Siliconera”, 2016)

Through extensive research I am hoping to be able to recreate her in a way I will be proud of, and that I will enjoy animating. There will more than likely be two variations of Chun Li’s obstacle course animation. One would be a basic run through on how she would do the course in the fastest way possible, meaning that she more than likely wouldn’t use any super moves and instead stick to the basics. The second version would be one where she uses super moves and such to cross the course in an aesthetic manner instead of a practical one. Both will hold true to Chun Li’s character and personality.

 

Obstacle Course and Thumbnails

There are two different grey box obstacle courses to choose from, both with a different objective or two that the character must complete while traversing it. I think the first variation is the most interesting and would allow for Chun Li to navigate in a more free form manner like her personality. Two versions of how Chun Li would navigate the course were drawn up, one where she doesn’t incorporate a Kikoken or a Hazan Tenshokyaku, but instead uses spinning bird kick and vice versa.

I intended on having another two versions drawn up for the other course variation, however I wanted to dive right into the 3D animation and felt like I already had solid foundations, especially with the research and two sketches of course one. As a side note I also think it would be fun to add some environment props, character props such as her head buns and spike bracelets, and also possibly import it into Unreal Engine and add some cool particle effects to things such as her Kikoken and the environment.

Obstacle Course Variation 1

Basic

obstacle_coursev1_basic

In the Basic Version Chun Li starts off with a waving taunt and then follows quickly after with a full body twisting kick that sends the box in front of her flying to the wall. She rotates back to facing the course and sprints with her hands up as if she was holding a ball. She does a basic crouch jump to get on the box, followed by a twist jump where she spins 360 degrees clockwise. As she reaches the apex of her jump she twists her legs up into a crouch position and spreads her arms wide. Coming out of the jump she unwinds back to a neutral standing position and then slides down the ramp that she lands on.

At the end of the ramp Chun Li keeps her momentum by flipping, doing an anti clockwise 360 degree turn as she does. When she lands down on the column she loses some momentum, but follows up with the last of it with another clockwise twist jump, much like the start, except this time doing a 720 degree turn instead. By this point Chun Li has lost the momentum she had from the initial jump and ramp slide, but thanks to her huge thighs she easily propels herself to the other side with a basic crouch jump.

She winds herself back and use her powerful legs to throw herself into the air and performs the Spinning Bird Kick, one of Chun Li’s many recogniseable moves. She spins anticlockwise with the initial and end spin being 360 degrees each, as well as the spinning phase being 720 degrees, totaling at 1440 degrees. Chun Li stands up from her landing position and takes a step before celebrating with her child like charisma in a up and down jump, a shake of the hips and finishes it off with a peace sign.

Aesthetic

obstacle_coursev1_aesthetic

Due to the course actually being the same I don’t need to repeat a lot of her moves, and instead I will just go over the changes and differences between the Aesthetic version and the Basic version. The first difference in this version of the course is that instead of using a kick to send the box backwards Chun Li uses her Kikoken to throw it back. She continues the course as normal until she reaches the jump from the final column.

Instead of doing a basic jump to make it to the other side Chun Li decides to go all out and releases a Hazan Tenshokyaku, which is a rapid kick spin in an anti clockwise direction in a linear fashion. She keeps herself in the air through her powerful kicks and some sort of physics breaking game mechanic. Chun Li does a total of five rotations which is the equivalent of 1800 degrees of rotation. At the apex of the kicks she comes out of rotations/kicking and the linear motion stops and returns to the ends of a curve (the curve dramatically gets steeper after she comes out of the jump as her downward force increases thanks to both her Mass and her Acceleration thanks to gravity (math/science, fun)).

She manages to land on the box on the other side thanks to the distance that her previous move gave her. She jumps off with a fairly basic jump kick, landing directly at the finish line where she celebrates her victory in the same way as the Basic version.

 

Header Image – Retrieved from Sakimichan

References

Chun Li Animations. (2016). Fightersgeneration.com. Retrieved 17 November 2016, from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chunli-a.html

Chun Li Combo Kicks. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chun-mvc-kicks.gif

Chun Li Hadouken. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chun-ts-hadouken.gif

Chun Li MVC Basic Jump. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chun-mvc-jump.gif

Chun Li MVC Flip Jump. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chun-mvc-jumpu.gif

Chun Li MVC Taunt. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chun-mvc-taunt.gif

Chun Li MVC Win. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chunny-ts-winz2.gif

Chun Li Spinning Bird Kick. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chunny-ts-birdkick.gif

Chun Li Sprite Kick. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chun-ts-a5.gif

Chun Li Sprite Run. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chunny-cvs2-run.gif

Chun Li Sprite Run 2. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chunny-runny.gif

Chun Li Sprite Spin Jump. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chunny-ts-jumpf.gif

Chun Li Street Fighter Iterations. (2016). Retrieved from https://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1490225/street-fighter-5-chun-li.png

Chun Li Super 3. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chun-mvc-super3.gif

Chun Li Super Kicks. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fightersgeneration.com/characters/chun-mvc-super2.gif

City Hunter,. (2016). Jackie Chan Chun Li. Retrieved from http://i.imgur.com/glxyqCO.gif

City Hunter,. (2016). Jackie Chan Chun Li Victory. Retrieved from http://i.imgur.com/T1FjLoj.gif

Street Fighter V Gameplay – Chun-Li vs. Ryu. (2016). YouTube. Retrieved 17 November 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_VIxQ4fJiM

Wong, J., Hôjô, T., Wong, J., Chan, J., Norton, R., & Wang, J. (2016). City Hunter (1993). IMDb. Retrieved 17 November 2016, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103950/

Artist Explains Why Street Fighter III’s Animations Are Better Than Street Fighter IV’s – Siliconera. (2016). Siliconera. Retrieved 17 November 2016, from http://www.siliconera.com/2015/05/15/artist-explains-why-street-fighter-iiis-animations-are-better-than-street-fighter-ivs/

Hazan Tenshokyaku. (2016). Street Fighter Wiki. Retrieved 17 November 2016, from http://streetfighter.wikia.com/wiki/Hazan_Tenshokyaku

Hyakuretsukyaku. (2016). Street Fighter Wiki. Retrieved 17 November 2016, from http://streetfighter.wikia.com/wiki/Hyakuretsukyaku

Street Fighter IV – Chun-Li Move List. (2016). YouTube. Retrieved 17 November 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SELvzVGV9Jg

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