Friday, 16 August 2013

Animation for Games Final Show Reel... #22

Here is the Final Show Reel...

Animation by: Scott Westwater.

Final Show Reel Animation Plan (List)... #21

Final Show Reel Animation List:
1- Blob Monster Walk Cycle. [Done]
2- Blob Monster Attack Sequence One. [Done]
3- Blob Monster Attack Sequence Two. [Done]
4- Blob Monster Attack Sequence Three.[Done]
5- Game Character Walk Cycle.[Done]
6- Game Character Attack Sequence. [Done]
7- Wolf Pet Run Cycle. [Done]
8- Sea Creature Idle Cycle. [Done]
9-Sea Creature Attack Cycle. [Done]
10-Sea Creature Death Cycle. [Done]
11-Robot Vehicle Walk Cycle. [Done]
12-Blue Man Walk Cycle One. [Done]
13-Blue Man Walk Cycle Two. [Done]
14-Wings Flapping Cycle. [Done]

Note: 
The above list is in no specific order as of yet.

KEY:

[Done] - Completed Cycles/Events + Rendered Targa Image Sequence.
[...] - Possible Additions If Time Permits.
[...] - Not Done Yet.

Research - Industry Level Animation Sequences... #20

Rain Studio: Loop Cycles For Game...

DOTA2 Game: Courier - Gnome Pig - Walking Animation Set...

CGI Animation Training: "Games Animations Workshop"...

Sea Creature Cycles... #19

The finished Cycles for the Sea Creature - Idle, Attack & Death...

Sea Creature Idle Cycle...
Animation by: Scott Westwater.

Sea Creature Attack Event...
Animation by: Scott Westwater.

Sea Creature Death Event...
Animation by: Scott Westwater. 


Sea Creature Breathing Cycle... #18

Sea Creature Breathing Cycle Tests...

Nothing really hard here,  it was a pretty straight forward idle sequence to create. The most attention was spent on animating the creatures breathing gills. The rest of the animation just involved a little bit of movement up and down with the main rig controller. The creature's tentacles received a little bit of rotation as well as the head...


The Sea Creature Idle View One...
Animation by: Scott Westwater.

The Sea Creature Idle View Two...
Animation by: Scott Westwater.

The Sea Creature Idle View Three...
Animation by: Scott Westwater.

The Sea Creature's Gills Animated (Gills Only)...
Animation by: Scott Westwater. 


Research - Idle Animation... #17

Idle Animation Sequence:

An idle cycle is when a game character or creature, in this case the Sea Creature, stops
moving (whether being controlled by the player or not). It usually happens and enters the
idle state when the character/creature is literally doing nothing.

If the character/creature doesn't have an idle cycle animation it would be frozen in place and not move at all, until a different animation cycle or event was triggered. In some cases more than once idle cycle is created for the character/creature.

An example being, Nintendo's Super Mario game for the Nintendo N64. If the player wasn't playing the game or left the controller alone for long enough, the Mario character would stand still, breathing heavily. Every now and again he would look around himself and if the player didn't touch the controls for a few minutes. Mario would look directly at the player wondering why he wasn't moving and eventually he would lie down/sit and fall asleep on the spot.

An Example - Mario Sleeping in Super Mario 64:

As you can clearly see from the video clip above, Mario sits down to start sleeping (Cycle One), then after a short time switches over to lying down on the ground to continue sleeping (Cycle Two).

Other Examples of Mario's Idle Animation:
(Super Mario - Heavy Breathing Idle Cycle Sequence.)

(Super Mario - Sitting Down and Sleeping Idle Cycle Sequence.)

Another Example - Ocarina of Time, All Idle Animations:

As the 'Ocarina of Time' video clip shows, having multiple idle cycles can help to make the character(s) seem more alive by limiting the number of repeating actions they do. Thus adding a varying number of cycles to chose from that help to ensure the game/animation on screen doesn't look static or very repetitive for the viewer/player to watch.

Pre-Production Demo Reel Planning... #16

Pre-Production Sketches:

 Pre-Production Plans. ^

Storyboard Layout Thoughts. ^

Demo Reel Animation List Example:
1- Blob Monster Walk Cycle. [Done]
2- Blob Monster Attack Sequence One. [Done]
3- Blob Monster Attack Sequence Two. [Done]
4- Blob Monster Attack Sequence Three.[Done]
4.1-Blob Monster Idle Cycle. [...]
5- Game Character Walk Cycle.[Done]
5.5-Game Character Walk Cycle Two. [Done]
6- Game Character Attack Sequence. [Done]
6.1-Game Character Lip-Synching. [...]
6.2-Game Character Conversation Animation. [...]
7- Wolf Pet Run Cycle. [Done]
8- Wolf Pet Idle Cycle. [...]
9.0-Sea Creature Breathing Cycle. [Done]
9- Sea Creature Idle Cycle. [Done]
10-Sea Creature Attack Cycle. [Done]
11-Sea Creature Death Cycle. [Done]
12-Robot Vehicle Walk Cycle. [...]
13-Robot Vehicle Attack Sequence. [...]
14-Blue Man Walk Cycle One. [Done]
15-Blue Man Walk Cycle Two. [Done]
00-Extras-Game Character Sneek Walk Cycle. [...]
00-Extras-Game Character Idle Cycle. [...]
00-Extras-Game Character Jump Sequence. [...]

KEY:
[Done] - Completed Cycles/Events + Rendered Targa Image Sequence.
[...] - Possible Additions If Time Permits.
[...] - Not Done Yet.

Research & Wolf Run Cycle #15

Reference Material (Slow Motion Wolf Run):

[Time Sequence - 0:27 -> 0:48]
Note: Mute the audio as it is a bit annoying...


Dog Running - Still Frames:

Practice Test:
Using Photoshop & Flash...
video
Animation by: Scott Westwater.

The Wolf Run:

Animated the basic foot movements for frames 1,6,11 & 30 the same on both sides, only changing the Translate X on the left side to the opposite of any value on the right side (E.g: Right Translate X = -1 Then Left Translate X = 1). Then went into the graph editor and flattened the tangents at frames 1 & 30 for all movement.

video
Animation by: Scott Westwater.

This was done with the intention of turning the synchronized movements to Asymmetrical
movements with a little bit of offset to make the overall movement less mechanical and
more organic.

Essentially copying the key frames from one side and in the graph editor, pasting them
in another twice on the time line and then moving the whole set back to offset the animation -
thus creating the asymmetrical animation.

Research - Animation Sets #14

Soldier Animation Set 1-


Howitzer Crew Animation Set 2-


Mortar Crew Animation Set 3-

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Game Character Attack Sequence... & Planning #13

Here is a look at the attack sequence I've done for the Game Character. 

Next I'll probably do an Idle Cycle if I have the time to animate it...

Something I've learnt while doing this attack sequence was the trick to fake 'idle' movement. By taking a static channel within the graph editor, selecting tangents and picking spline. This will add a curve to the static channel and make the motionless slightly lively. Its a pretty cool little tip to keep in mind while animating and I think it really helped to make this animation better than the previous walk cycle.

The biggest challenge with this animation was actually the gun and the holster. Due to the size and length of the gun and the limitations of the arm (realistic rotation etc...), the weapon draw had to be faked too. Because the weapon draw is quite a fast move, the weapon is able to clip through the holster without being overly noticeable.


video
Animation by: Scott Westwater. 

I've decided that by the time I have my final Game Animation Demo Reel completed, I want to try and have a little bit of everything. So using the Rigs I've secured, I want to try and have Rigs consisting of Biped (Two legs), Quadruped (Four legs), Apodal (No legs) & Hexapede (Six legs). Each animation test showing cycles and sequences such as walk cycles and attack sequences etc...


An Example - Final Demo Reel:
1- Blob Monster Walk Cycle. [Done]
2- Blob Monster Attack Sequence One. [Done]
3- Blob Monster Attack Sequence Two. [Done]
4- Blob Monster Attack Sequence Three.[Done]
4.1-Blob Monster Idle Cycle.
5- Game Character Walk Cycle.[Done]
6- Game Character Attack Sequence. [Done]
6.1-Game Character Lip-Synching.
6.2-Game Character Conversation Animation.
7- Wolf Pet Run Cycle.
8- Wolf Pet Idle Cycle.
9- Sea Creature Idle Cycle.
10-Sea Creature Attack Cycle.
11-Sea Creature Death Cycle.
12-Robot Vehicle Walk Cycle.
13-Robot Vehicle Attack Sequence.
14-Blue Man Walk Cycle One. [Done]
15-Blue Man Walk Cycle Two. [Done]
00-Extras-Game Character Sneek Walk Cycle.
00-Extras-Game Character Idle Cycle.
00-Extras-Game Character Jump Sequence.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Game Character Walk Cycle... The Arms... #12

The next step was to focus on animating the arms in time with the legs. I also added some secondary movement to the wrists at this point as the arms sway back and forth. Next I'll need to focus on move of the secondary animation, more specifically the coat...


video
Animation by: Scott Westwater. 

As you can see, right now if you look close enough, the legs are clipping through the coat and this obviously needs fixing in order for the walk cycle to look right.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Animation Cycles & Sequences... (Continued) #11

Continuing on from my last Blog post... [ Animation Cycles & Sequences... #9 ]

It turns out Game Engines handle animation cycles and sequences in varying ways, some game engines handle these cycles and sequences very differently. Some can blend between the cycles. While other game engines need to have the sequences and cycles animated to a common pose, in order for them to blend together seamlessly.

Since none of these animation cycles and sequences that I'm creating are actually going to make it into a game engine, but instead a Demo Reel. - I think I'll just work under the assumption that if they where to be incorporated into a game engine, it'll be one that will be able to blend the cycles and sequences on its own.

Edit:
Looking into this further, I found out that Game engines can also handle the animation (Cycle & Sequence files) differently too... some can handle all the animations being across multiple files - one animation per file. While others need the animations to be in one large file - requiring the animations to play out separately across one long time line instead.

The latter of the two meaning that when incorporating the file into the game engine, you'd need to tell the engine exactly what frame number to start on and end at for each particular cycle or sequence.

Game Character Walk Cycle... The Legs... & Poses #10

Research:
While researching different poses for the Game Character, specifically Cowboy & Cowgirl poses, it turned out to be a lot more difficult than I first thought to avoid overly sexualised images.

Moodboard:

Character Poses:



Here you'll find the beginning of a walk cycle for a game character. So far we have seen the walk cycle for a blob monster. Now a human type game character... so far we have the leg animation set down in stone. There was a slight wobble in the animation, but upon looking at the graph editor, it turned out to be a slight kink in one of the curves.

So with that sorted out, here is a little look at what I have so far...

video
Animation by: Scott Westwater.

Next I need to work on the Arms and then add all the secondary animation. The secondary animation will include stuff like the tassels hanging from the characters coat arms, the tail of the coat, the gun holster etc..


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Animation Cycles & Sequences... #9

Note:
Animation in games usually comes in two forms, a Cycle or a Sequence:

The cycle animations are meant to repeat so that they can be played over and over again. An example of this would be a character's walk or run cycle animation.

The sequence animations are supposed to be events that, when triggered, don't necessarily or immediately repeat but play once and stop.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

The Blob - Attack Cycles #8

So from general research on the internet and what I've learnt from books I have flicked through briefly. I've come to realise that game characters all have their own sub-set of animation cycles (called lists or trees). Each has their own walk cycle for instance - however these can also have iterations based on facts such as the character being healthy or possibly tired or even sick and injured.

So as you could imagine, the list of different animation cycles for just one game character alone, can be quite a huge fact on its own. - Let alone factoring in other characters and their own list of animated cycles!

Here is an Example taken from Youtube, showing what it is that I mean...


Here (below) is the Attack Animation Cycles I've been working on, since completing the initial walk (or crawl) cycle for the Blob Monster. Games tend to have quite large animation lists (or trees) where you find every possible animation the specific character/animal/item needs in order to move and preform a series of tasks within a game like; walking, running, attacking and idle etc...

So in essence, so far we have four animation cycles for the Blob Monster:
  1. The Walk.
  2. The Attack
  3. The Attack Iteration Two.
  4. The Attack Iteration Three.
Now if this hostile blob character where to be implemented into an RPG game, or something similar, we would have a basic walk and three variations of attack for the game engine to pick from when the player comes across the creature and attacks it. The enemy character would walk over and begin to attack the player's character, using a combination of the iterations of attack to make the game-play seem less repetitive and dull.

Stage One:
The basic walk cycle animation...

video

Stage Two.One:
Having worked on the attack and secondary movement...

video
Stage Two.Two:
Having reiterated the attack cycle with secondary movement...

video
Stage Two.Three:
Having reiterated the attack cycle again with secondary movement...

video

Rigging & Animation by: Scott Westwater.

Friday, 2 August 2013

The Blob - Walk Cycle Continued... #7

Reworked the Blob Monsters walk cycle, paying a little more attention to secondary movement...


video

Rigging & Animation by: Scott Westwater.