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  1. #1

    Default Rival 5: The Final Confrontation

    Quick intro:
    Hi there! I'm not sure many of you know me, but I started stick animation back in 2002. I was about when Oscar started his Castle series, and with the return of him on Castle it's inspired me to conclude my stick series. So, I thought I'd create a thread to help encourage people to animate, and push our boundaries, as well as keep me on track as much as possible with progress.

    Like Oscar, the original Rival animations were made in early versions of flash. The first Rival Part 1: When Hatred Dawns was created in a month, released in Jan 2003, follow by Rival Part 2: Escape in May 2003. A third part, Rival Part 3: Max and Alex came shortly after in August 2003. From there on College and University took all my time away, and I worked on other animations purposed for that.

    Upon finishing University and having some free time, I returned to try and push myself to create the next in the series Rival for part 4: Demise in 2010. As soon as I finished I started Rival Part 5: The Final Confrontation. However, the redevelopment of things which people disliked in part 4 hindered on the progress to get the next one out.

    Things people asked for were, Better dialogue and story. Rival 1 to 4 was product of an old script and story, but times had changed, and people expected something bigger and better. So the script was completely re-written, as it was a decade old. Dialogue was all re-recorded, and preproduction animatics were produced for pacing and consistency. The characters were slated for having 3 fingers, so the body was remodelled to have 4 fingers and a thumb, with better deformation in the joints. Heads, and rigs were also completely redone, and to be honest, they could do with another reiteration. People want to know a more of a backstory to the whole reasoning with the Dojo, so comprehensive scenes were added to help understand it more. As well as all this, I've intently tried to cover as much as I can to please both myself and fans, and create a final animation which concludes a long awaited finale while staying true to the original.

    With all that being said, you can watch Rival 1, 2 and 3 compiled. Here, but please remember it's a product of it's time. Back in 2003. 12 Years ago when I had just begun flash.

    Part 4, is here, which is now over half a decade old:

    I'm currently working on Rival 5: The Final Confrontation, it stands at 5mins long currently, with it being around 17 mins in total duration. This will be the final part as I want to really close this chapter to my life, and if I return to stick animation, create something much more amazing and not restricted by an aged idea when I started. However, like Castle, Joe Zombie, Killing Spree etc, this was one of the handful of stick series which made a promise, and I plan to keep it.

    So, with that being said, hello to all that remember me and pleased to meet you to those who have never heard of it and prepare for some Rival 5 wip! Which I will always keep spoiler free!

    Last edited by Peter Satera; December 19th, 2015 at 06:14 PM.
    Rival Stick Series: Facebook Group

  2. #2

    Default Rival 5: TFC Character Changes

    Rival 5 Went through some character changes mentioned above. Here is an image showing the differences between Rival 4 and Rival 5. If you ever want to talk or critique about a certain WIP shot, then feel free to number the image so I know what you're referring to. All images/vids will be given a reference, also clickable if you need to see it bigger.

    Rival 4 to 5 Character Changes.

    Rival Stick Series: Facebook Group

  3. #3
    Administrator Oscar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Pete, I'm really glad and exited to see this. Feels awesome to have a "colleague" from the ancient stick figure era Not many of us are still doing what we used to do, I felt quite lonely there for a while. Much nostalgia, much wow.

    1. Interesting, how is this done technically? More strands of hairs or works with textures? I haven't come to this point myself yet (making hair). Will it be rigid or somehow dynamic?

    2. Will the facial animations consist of blend shapes alone or do you complement it somehow with actual bones? My own rig has a bone for the jaw but that's about it...

    3. *Adds to avoid list*

    4. Nice, it should help to make - if only subtle - more human kind of gestures.

    5. I'd love to see some video of this. Rigging is one of the hardest things so far for me, though very fun when yourself and your results progress.

    6. Very nice improvement, I'm struggling with this myself, it's like when you're happy with the deformation in one angle, another angle will not look as good and you have to re-consider and settle somewhere in between. What's you philosophy in this area? The comparison pictures definitely shows the new results are way more pleasing. Do you have muscles elsewhere in the rig like for twisting of upper arms or shins?

    Also, are the characters' meshes one single mesh or split up somehow? I ask because I've found myself having to redo lots of morph targets for facial expressions in case I had to fix something in another area of the body. It becomes tedious, making me consider splitting at least east the body from the head.

    7. Good improvement, I'd say it's more "boot" like.

    8, 9. Do you use some special plugin for this or do you just make custom shaders?

    Please keep posting updates of the project! Considering we have similar style and background, I'm hoping we'll be able to share some of our experiences and discoveries to further polish our works. I'm sure I'll find methods from you which may come in handy for Castle.

  4. #4


    He Oscar! Yeah, it's great to get back to it, my lip sync could do with a bit of work, but there's a lot to do, so im bashing through it as much as I can. It's fantastic to see both our productions in flow again!

    Some answers for ya.

    1. Good question. Hair thankfully isn't dynamic, so it doesn't use physics to make it flow, or any effect which is created using a post effect/strand generation. Instead I opted for a simple route, and something which could reflect the original series, and just create polygon strand hair. Max's hair isn't a good example. But Bruce is, any motion needed on it I'll do through morphs/blends for ease of control. The textures don't have bump maps/normal maps, spec, as im still enforcing that cell shaded look. So the polygons are assigned a texture with a transparency map, and then I just sculpt the hair around it. Pretty much how its done for games.

    Hair Setup

    2. I'd usually do some bone stuff for the jaw, just to help deformation, but with stick characters they basically don't have a jaw. So it's all done with morphs, I was going to create a face controller for it all, but it's just too much work for something so dated. It's amazingly odd though to see a character not use a jaw to talk!

    5. Yeah, I have redone them already twice. And to be honest, they could be done with updating it again for the third time. Fortunately rigging has really evolved in the last 4-5 years, and they could be redone with using a robust bipedal system, rather than my own crappy rig. But it means relooking at a lot, something which Im putting off, but will need to be done when it comes to the action.

    6. Lightwave has compensation for bones which simulate muscle expansion and compression. So I started to learn them a bit, and do a lot of trial and error. What it does is bulge out parts of the mesh when they get bent in the opposite direction. It's a very handy thing, but not perfect. Things are changing though in 2016.

    Joint Compensation

    The Character meshes are one object, but they aren't a continuous mesh. The neck feeds into the head, as the hair is nothing but clusters of polygons shaped. I understand where you're coming from though, and I would have kept i t a single mesh too if I were to have the same sort of character you did for Castle. With stickmen it looks fine to have this defined line under the head, normal characters tend to be continuous down the next and starts into the shoulders, then stop there if they have clothes. So making it one mesh is a challenge to maintain. If you dont mind the separation though, and it doesnt look bad then you could definitely go for it!

    7. Yeah! Looks like he isn't about to fall over. XD

    8. The cell shaded look is a mix of a plugin and my own stuff.

    So on the top right you can see a node editor, this is just a material editor. In there I have a color Layer 1. (circled in red). This panel opened is on the far left, in it is a value layer at the bottom. This is just a colour (base). Ontop of that is an Incidence Angle Layer. What that does is that polygon angles that are shallow to the camera are one colour (the light green), and then the more steep angles are the polygons are it goes to the other colour (dark green). If you ever seen a pearlescent car paint this is basically how you do it.

    So that allows me to have a subtle fall off so it's not pure flat colour. The second part though is the cell shading, which is done via a plugin. So the plugin takes the previous node, brings it in, whether its a texture, colour whatever and applies a tonal restriction via the light position. Because it's pure black and white it's easily transferable to every other character and I dont have to fiddle with colours. As long as the base colours are fine (which were taken from the flash animations) then the cell shaded is basically splitting the light fall off, which is why you can see the light list in the plugin.

    The edge stuff is part of the plugin too, it has an edgetracer, and it's absolutely fantastic but I've decided against it because it's causing renders to go through the roof. Although it creates a really nice line, the render times were so huge (adding a 2minutes per render) did not merit the effect. So i have recently went back to the old way which is a simple select object and tell it to render a "silhouetted line".

    Cell Shaded.

    The image breaking down the changes is a bit out of date, so Im thinking of going back, and making a few under the hood adjustments. Things that dont change the visual of the animation, but do enhance productivity.

    Rival Stick Series: Facebook Group

  5. #5


    This is really great to hear you're concluding it Peter, the Rival series is one of the first things I saw on Newgrounds back in the day, I actually tweeted you about this last year but you said you were busy with observatorium. So for me it's awesome to see this news. Faith is restored in the stickman era with Castle and Rival coming back. Now we just need Joe Zombie concluded hah. Will be watching out for updates!

  6. #6
    Administrator Oscar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Satera View Post
    8. The cell shaded look is a mix of a plugin and my own stuff.
    Thanks for the interesting read, Pete.

    That's cool. I'm kind of in the same spot regarding plugin or "vanilla" for the cel-shading bit. It's faster rendering with shaders you make on your own, but the process to make outlines is more cumbersome. Might end up doing a combination we'll see

  7. #7


    Thanks Rees303 and Oscar! Yeah, I still have a lot on, but my intent is really to make it happen. We certainly do need Joe Zombie concluded! XD

    Looking forward to seeing more Oscar!


    Most major parts of Rival 5:TFC were storyboarded, for others they were drawn straight into an animatic. This helps pace timing of shots and dialogue communication. Camera angles are also important, they establish a stage of a scene, creating things specifically placed to direct the audiences attention to specific characters and elements. Here's an example part of the storyboard created for Rival 5.

    Rival Stick Series: Facebook Group

  8. #8
    DQ Senior Member NoxArcana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    The current whereabouts are unknown...


    I just watched the Rival series. It's really great to see you're working on a fifth, and everything is looking awesome so far. Looking forward to seeing more stuff!

  9. #9
    DQ Senior Member Blackwater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005


    Hello Peter

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