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Character Animation In Videogames

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Character Animation In Videogames . Introduction Character animation in videogames thus far…. Animation. Movement Timing. The Flour Sack. Show attitude Strong poses Movement Timing. Computer Animation Vs. Traditional Drawn or Stop-Motion Animation .

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animation

Animation

Movement

Timing

the flour sack
The Flour Sack

Show attitude

Strong poses

Movement

Timing

traditional drawn animation 2 d animation
Traditional Drawn Animation (2-D animation)
  • Advantages
    • Animator can work between key poses
    • Animator can edit as little as one frame of animation without negating the rest of the scene
    • Animator can experiment freely with timing between poses
traditional drawn animation 2 d animation8
Traditional Drawn Animation (2-D animation)
  • Disadvantages
    • Animator must generate, or “render”, every frame of animation involved (i.e. new drawings for every frame)
    • Animator’s abilities as an artist directly effect, or limit, the quality of the visual presentation of the animation
stop motion animation
Stop-Motion Animation
  • Advantages
    • Animator uses actual models and sets (No need to render characters yourself; characters always stay “on model”)
    • Characters and sets have real depth and make use of actual lighting sources
stop motion animation10
Stop-Motion Animation
  • Disadvantages
    • Animator must work ‘straight-ahead’ shooting the animation sequentially frame by frame
    • Characters don’t allow for much change of shape, volume or structure
cg animation
CG Animation
  • Advantages
    • Animator uses virtual models and sets (No need to render characters yourself; characters always stay “on model”)
    • Characters and sets have depth and make use of lighting sources
cg animation12
CG Animation
  • Advantages
    • Animator can work between key poses
    • Animator can experiment freely with timing between poses
    • Animator can edit as little as one frame of animation without negating the rest of the scene
cg animation13
CG Animation
  • Disadvantages
    • Animator must work indirectly (no direct contact as there is with pencil to paper or animator to model)
    • Animator is only as good as the hardware and software available
    • Still takes a lot of time, a lot of talent…
    • ….and can be a pain in the ass.
character animation
Character Animation
  • Animation techniques and methods
    • Completely independent of the medium being used
    • Same techniques apply in CG animation as they do in 2-D or stop-motion
combination of two disciplines
Combination of Two Disciplines
  • Actor
    • Performance
    • Timing
    • Staging
    • Expression
    • Emotion
combination of two disciplines18
Combination of Two Disciplines
  • Artist
    • Posing
    • Silhouette
    • Design
thumbnails are your friend21
Thumbnails are your friend
  • Thumbnails are beneficial because…
    • They allow you to work out the action before you’ve committed too much time
    • They provide a visual reference when posing the scene
using reference
Using Reference
  • Reference gives the animator clues to a believable and natural performance
    • Movement
    • Behavior
dirty up your screen25
Dirty Up Your Screen
  • Use a China Marker or a screen-safe wet marker to plot arcs of action
    • They provide a visual path to follow when working through poses
    • They help ensure that paths of action look and work the way you intended
when in doubt act it out27
When In Doubt…Act it out!!!!
  • Acting out an action gives a clearer understanding of…
    • Movement
    • Positioning
    • Timing
    • Attitude
contrast in position and movement

Contrast In Position and Movement

Giving a character Life

character animation techniques
Character Animation Techniques
  • Contrast In Position and Movement
    • Parts of the character in relation to the whole
    • Character in relation to the environment
    • Animation “reads” more effectively
    • Action is more dynamic
creating strong and clear poses

Creating Strong and Clear Poses

Giving a character Attitude

character animation techniques31
Character Animation Techniques
  • Creating Strong and Clear Poses
    • Define what the character is doing
    • Define what the character is feeling
    • Communicates these elements clearly
    • Communicates these elements quickly
timing in animation

Timing In Animation

Giving a character Rhythm

timing in animation33
Timing In Animation
  • “Slowing” or “easing” in and out of poses
    • Character feels more organic
    • Allows audience to “read” poses clearly
timing in animation34
Timing In Animation
  • Altering the timing of an action effects the perception of character motivation
    • Faster actions are perceived as more aggressive
    • Slower actions feel more cautious or less motivated
arcs in animation

Arcs In Animation

Giving a character Flow

arcs in animation36
Arcs In Animation
  • Almost every organic thing moves in some kind of arc
    • Arcs tend to feel more natural and help “sell” the action
    • Using arcs provides a more pleasant flow to your animation
secondary action

Secondary Action

Giving a character Weight

secondary action38
Secondary Action
  • Overlap
  • Follow-through
    • Primary action drives secondary action and direction
    • Degree of secondary action determines the weight of the object
anticipation

Anticipation

Giving a character “Thought”

anticipation40
Anticipation
  • Anticipating an action serves two functions:
    • Helps audience recognize the action they’re about to see
    • Suggests that the character is “thinking” about what they’re doing
exaggeration

Exaggeration

Giving a character Flexibility

exaggeration42
Exaggeration
  • Exaggeration has two uses:
    • Helps animation feel more “natural”
    • Utilizes the strength of animation over live-action
suggested reading on animation technique
Suggested Reading on Animation Technique
  • “The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation” by Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston
  • “Cartoon Animation” by Preston Blair
  • “The Animator’s Survival Kit” by Richard Williams
cinematic cutscenes vs in game character assets46
Cinematic Cutscenes Vs. In-Game Character Assets
  • Cinematic Cutscenes
    • Occur in a set location
    • Occur in a set order
    • Occur from a set angle
    • Occur over a set period of time
cinematic cutscenes vs in game character assets47
Cinematic Cutscenes Vs. In-Game Character Assets
  • In-Game Character Assets
    • Occur in various locations
    • Occur in non-linear order
    • Occur from various angles
    • Occur over varying periods of time
creating solid in game character assets49
Creating Solid In-Game Character Assets
  • The “Idle”
    • Central pose that all other actions work out of
    • Helps maintain continuity between actions
    • Helps eliminate “popping” during transitions between actions
creating solid in game character assets50
Creating Solid In-Game Character Assets
  • The “Idle”
    • Should consist of a subtle, natural action
    • Should be contained enough to work out of easily
creating solid in game character assets51
Creating Solid In-Game Character Assets
  • Secondary Idles
    • Actions that keep the character alive
    • Actions that communicate personality
creating solid in game character assets52
Creating Solid In-Game Character Assets
  • Character Locomotion
    • Needs to feel natural and correct
    • Needs to feel like it belongs in the environment
character locomotion
Character Locomotion
  • Runs
    • A more bounding style of run allows for variations in speed of movement through world
    • Also helps prevent sliding because feet only contact ground for a couple of frames with a wide spacing
character locomotion54
Character Locomotion
  • Walks and Turns
    • A slower paced movement requires closer synchronicity between pace of world movement and pace of animation
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