Winning entry breakdown: ‘Sketchfab in Motion’—Twinmotion Community Challenge #9

Find out how our latest Twinmotion Community Challenge winner created a stunning animation using a 3D model from Sketchfab.

In our recent Twinmotion Community Challenge #9, we asked you to create a unique short video based on a 3D model from Sketchfab, and we weren’t disappointed!
Jesus Carbajal Paxi, a power user since the early days of Twinmotion and two-time top 10 finalist in previous challenges, was crowned the winner with his incredible animation of a break-dancing crash test dummy.
Inspiration hit while Jesus was watching animation reels that focused on a single object or character, when he remembered a video showing a dancer from an old music box coming to life. With the idea of breathing life into a static doll and having it move in a fun and natural way, he set to work creating his animation, taking full advantage of Twinmotion’s interoperability with other tools such as Mixamo and 3ds Max.

“Twinmotion currently has a wide variety of tools and libraries, which increases every month, giving it a lot of potential for visualization and animation in lots of fields including architecture, interiors, and product design,” says Jesus.

Here’s a full run-down of his workflow:
  1. Character selection

To give himself plenty of options and a better flow in the scene setup, Jesus opted for a symmetrical character, with few polygons and in FBX format. His chosen model was Crash Dummy from robomax on Sketchfab.
  1. Custom animation

Jesus used Mixamo for this set of planned animations, which had to be small but repeatable, similar to a loop, and also follow Adobe’s application recommendations. Among the chosen animations were:
  1. Jump
  1. Breakdance animation
  1. Head spinning
  1. Walking
  1. Dead
  1. Editing

Once the animations were downloaded in FBX format, Jesus imported them into 3ds Max. To import the animated object, he needed to have each frame populated with a different object which, when joined together, created the animation. For example, the first scene, of the jumping mannequin, has 30 frames.
To streamline the workflow, Jesus used a free 3ds Max script “mass_exporter_v1_6.” This enabled him to export each independent frame with a single click.
For the first scene, 30 objects were exported. The same process was carried out for each scene.
  1. Preparation in Twinmotion

 Animated objects:
Once the composition was defined, Jesus inserted all the objects into Twinmotion, which preserved the materials of the first object. He also added complementary elements such as chairs, tables, and plants.
For the first scene, featuring 30 frames of the mannequin jumping, only the first object was turned on and the other 29 were turned off. For the second frame, the second object was turned on and the others were turned off. To get the one-second animation, this process was repeated until Jesus had 30 cameras. This is because Twinmotion exports animations at 30 frames per second.
Frame 01
Frame 08
Frame 23
To complete the animation, Jesus carried out the same process for all the other scenes, adding a total of more than 300 cameras. 
Instead of using a 3D-modeled environment for his interior scene, which would have meant a longer render time, Jesus opted for an interior HDRI. This drastically decreased the render time as the lighting washes over the entire scene from all sides. This approach suited his intention of showing the mannequin performing custom movements, rather than presenting a perfectly modeled environment.
For the challenge, Jesus used 64 samples and four bounces, resulting in a render time of around 75 minutes. He notes that while using a 3D-modeled environment offers more freedom for the use of cameras, HDR, because it uses a defined measure, limits the use of cameras to prevent distorted or out-of-scale backgrounds.

This breakdown of Jesus’ workflow is a prime example of how creators are using Twinmotion’s real-time technology to bring their ideas to life. A long-time user of Twinmotion, Jesus found the tool easy to learn from the get go. He said: “The learning curve was really short. It only took a couple of weeks to learn the interface and discover Twinmotion’s features.

“The best feature of Twinmotion, and my favorite, is the Path Tracer rendering, which considerably improves the quality of images and videos, significantly reducing processing time. Another favorite feature is the interoperability with Quixel and Sketchfab, which simplifies and reduces search times for libraries, surfaces, and other scene composition elements.”

Check out the top 10 finalists for the ‘Sketchfab in Motion’ Community Challenge here:
Stay tuned for the next challenge! If you don’t have Twinmotion yet, you can download it here.