Game Specific Animation Techniques

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Hey guys,

I'm finally enrolled on Animation Mentor and due to start in June, I'm beyond excited but I know AM focus on feature animation and whilst I certainly wouldn't scoff at the opportunity to work in film, I think my current preference is a games industry position.

I wanted to get a bit of insight into animation workflows from a games/realtime point of view as oppose to film. Obviously the fundamentals will be the same, as well as the techniques in Maya, but I'm thinking a reel full of feature style shots, dialog and acting etc would not be ideal for a games application, right?

So, to put myself in the best position when it comes time to job hunt, I want to be working on and learning stuff that relates more to animation for games. What kind of things are different to film, the kind of thing to put in my reel etc etc.

Cheers

Replies

  • slipsius
    Cycles. Having all your animations blend together, is the main thing. I do work in the industry, but havent worked on any large games yet, so I don't know all the differences and techniques. I have enrolled in iAnimate Games and start in May. So i`ll be learning more then. But ya, I would say cycles is the main thing. But honestly, if you can animate, you can animate. If you can show companies you can animate with a reel full of film stuff, and it's good animation, I doubt they would say no. You`ll just need to learn on the job.

    edit: Also, if you are in AM, you really should just focus on those assignments. Don't waste your time on other stuff. Focus on that stuff. Make it amazing, and you shouldnt have trouble getting a job after. If you spread your time over a bunch of projects, quality will suffer, and from what I hear, AM is very time consuming.
  • thatanimator
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    thatanimator polycounter lvl 6
    I would like to see less game animators using the standard boring Maya character rigs and at least put some effort into modeling their own stuff, or at least get some SDK characters (like the awesome SDK meshes here on pc) and rig them up for some animation.
    It just feels way off to me, seeing whatever-his-name-is-character doing a cartoony runcykle in a game anim reel.

    I'd much rather see a proper game character doing a game run.

    The kind of animations that runcykles and walkcykles cater to would be more gameplay or navigational - I guess, animations. rather than set-piece animations with monsters breaking through doors at the activation of a trigger from the player.
    So while a run and a walk could be good to focus on, most gameplay animations are short, script-raped and code driven animations, not something you really can show of in a reel I think.

    I mean, if you have a runcykle as a base, and added layered animation in your animation program to have the character twist his body as he's looking left and right or as he's aiming his dual wielded pistols, to simulate how it would look being driven by scripts/code and whatever, then that would actually be more game-animation related I guess ;)


    I myself prefer set-piece animations (love the ones in Doom 3 for example) and tend to focus on those kind of things.

    I dont really know what kind of stuff an animator would want to work on or learn other than that ;)
    But I would want to kind of answer your question of dialogue, cutscene-esque animations or what have you not being ideal for a game applicant with, no. I'd say those kind of animations are just as applicable as 1:30minutes of runs and walks.


    I personally don't like AM just because it features on feature film and I tend to not see the point for game animators (who I think should be strong fans of GAMES rather than pixar movies) to undertake those studies, but games such as Ratchet and Clank of course show us that the style that one would learn at AM can be applied to an awesome game as well as a pixar internship reel.....

    I'd say that even if AM will give you a bunch of tasks where they'd want you to animate acting or whatever, you could still use those same principles in animating set-piece or cutscene animations for your game reel.. hopefully using game characters.



    dat ramble
  • System
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    System admin
    Thanks guys!

    Slipsius - Yeah good call, I've heard AM is pretty intense. I think I'll wait until afterwards and see where I'm at, I guess as you say, my reel should show my animation skills regardless of the actual content.

    ThatAnimator - Yeah I'm thinking all the stuff I pick up in AM should be either directly applicable to any medium, so hopefully I'll be capable of putting together the cycles/blends if I need to upon graduating.

    What about things like rigs, do they differ much in realtime assets compared to models for feature films? Also, MotionBuilder... what is it? I see it's a 'preferred' skill on a lot of games job postings, but I have no idea what it does or why you'd use it.
  • slipsius
    Motion builder is another autodesk program. Mostly used for mocap clean up. Though an asset to know, definitely not required. Again. Show you can animate, they`ll teach you the tools. Most companies dont have an issue teaching you the programs they use if you demonstrate excellent animation skills. Focus on maya or max (probably maya, since that's probably what AM uses.
  • thatanimator
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    thatanimator polycounter lvl 6
    I can't imagine the basic functionality of a rig being different from game and feature film, the only thing feature film rigs would have is .. more shit :) muscles and corrective blend shapes and what have you..
    if you think of showing of rigging in your demo, then I don't think you need stuff like muscles and whatever, just some cool IK/FK solutions (like locking the arms to the hip or world or head, I find that impressive, heh) and perhaps a stretch rig..maybe :)

    and Motion Builder is the best program for game animations, that's what it is ;)
  • System
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    System admin
    Ok great, thanks. Sounds like I just need to get focused on learning to animate and nothing else, which is a relief since that's exactly what I'd hoped to be able to do. Fortunately I've been using Maya for ~5 years so I don't need to worry about technicalities, or faffing around with the software rather than learning the important stuff.
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