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Libertas Review: Level-up Your Fighting Scene with Hand-To-Hand Combat Pack


Erik Larson (Libertas)

Erik Larson from Libertas Video

Born in Chicago, Libertas started out with a passion for filmmaking at an early age, and ever since he’s had the desire to tell grand and fantastical stories featuring brave heroes on epic quests in lush and vibrant worlds, much like his Assassin’s Creed-inspired micro-short film “Modern Assasin Training Session.”

Libertas admits to always dreaming bigger than his shoestring budget could afford. Even still, he loves creating characters and their costumes to see them come alive, especially in his YouTube short films. Outside of his day job as the Manager of Videography and sole 3D generalist at his company, he spends his free time, once again, dreaming big and crafting new characters, costumes, and props for his digital actors who are instrumental in bringing his epic stories to life for the audience community and not just himself.

My Experience and Honest Review

The Hand-to-Hand Combat motion pack contains sixty-eight motions across four categories, including “Sparring”, “Evade & Counter Attack”, “Takedown & Throws” and “Win or Lose”. These motion-captured animations are designed for fights in games or films. Each animation is paired with its corresponding reactionary animation, and these combine as short choreographed sequences of high-action stunts that are useful for any close-quarter hand-to-hand combat situations. There are several things that I like about this pack, mentioned below.

Erik Larson (Libertas Review) gives his opinion on Reallusion’s Hand-To-Hand Combat Pack

Paired-up motions

As already stated, each action is paired with a reaction. If you’ve ever looked for any interactive fighting animations from Mixamo or Rokoko Studio, you’ll know how difficult it can be to find matching animations. You will typically find awesome attacking animations, but there are usually no corresponding defensive animations. If you do find one, odds are they are not in sync, and you’ll have to spend a lot of time modifying the animations to match them up. Since these animations are paired up, it makes it very easy to put the characters in visually stunning fight scenarios.

Easy to work with

Since these motions are paired up, they are extremely easy to work with. Typically, all I need to do is add my characters to the scene and then add the corresponding animations to my characters. I positioned the secondary character to line up with the first contact point of the animation. I then drag the transform point for that secondary character back to the beginning, and just like that, my characters are interacting wonderfully. Most of the time that’s all I need to do. The only time I’ve seen this become an issue is if there’s a drastic height difference between my characters. It seems these animations were recorded with actors of relatively the same height. So, if there is a height difference in your characters, the animations might not connect perfectly. But that’s an easy fix using iClone 8’s animation layers, or even easier with Reallusion’s Reach Target System. You can dial in the animations quickly with these tools, and be on your way.

High usability, diverse motions

Overall, these animations just look great, being that they are recorded with professional stunt actors. I feel like a lot of care went into providing a wide variety of animations that can be quickly applied, and give us good-looking choreographed sequences in no time. I also like how the fights are not completely one-sided in these animations. In most of the sequences, both characters are engaged in the fight; they both throw fight-ending punches and kicks upping the ante for the outcome. This makes it a lot more compelling for the action sequence and keeps the tension high throughout.

Tips & Tricks: What Magic is This?

The drawback of these animations for me is that they’re not all that stringable, and I find it challenging to flow from one fight sequence to the next to create longer choreographed sequences. If you want to overcome this problem and create stunning combat scenes, I have a few tips for you.

Add Expressions

Adding simple facial expressions to your characters makes your characters and actions come to life. I use the face key tool to quickly add changes to my timeline. If you want to use my trick on how to cut between the character’s transitions by focusing on one of the character’s expressions, I would recommend taking a look at the Digital Souls Pack from Reallusion.

Bring more tension to the film by adding facial expressions!
Bring more tension to the film by adding facial expressions!

Use Wide Angle Lenses

Without getting into too much in-depth on the choice of lenses and camera angles, if you want to accentuate the action, I personally like to use wide angle lenses: either a 35-millimeter or 24-millimeter lens; and bring the camera closer to my characters. This will place the viewer closer to the action, but will also provide a wider field of view in order to get more of your character’s movements in the scene. However, wider-angle lenses can distort your characters. Having lower sweeping camera angles can also bring a more dynamic feel to your scene. So keep your camera moving and avoid static shots for more visual interest.

Animation speed

Last but not least, keep an eye out for your animation speed. These animations were recorded with a lot of speed and intensity, which is a good thing. But it can also work against you. Sometimes, it’s more important to slow down the motions, in order for the viewer to visually comprehend what’s going on. The best fight sequences tell a story in and of themselves. And sometimes, we need to slow things down in order to communicate that story and emotion to our audience. So when using these animations, be mindful that you may want to slow them down a bit to help communicate the motions better to the viewer. This can be done directly in iClone 8, or if you export them out to programs like Blender as I do, you will be able to do that in various ways with your favorite 3D software.

Lower your animation speed and let your audience better comprehend your story!
Lower your animation speed and let your audience better comprehend your story!

Learn more

If you are interested in using the characters seen in the video, you can get them from Erik’s Content Store Page “Libertas Armory”.

• Erik Larson (Libertas)

• iClone

• Character Creator

•Previous review of the Parkour Pack

• Reallusion

Related topics


1 comment

  1. Thank you! I found your tips for stringing together the fight sequences extremely useful, and liked the way you demonstrated them in the accompanying video.

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