TUG Animation Information for the Masses
More on planning, with a hint of Predators
Hey all, Skittles here again, and today we are continuing our exploration into Animation in TUG!
Last time we chatted about the my focus on planning, gathering information on restrictions/requirements (like needing things to move at a certain speed or hit on certain frames to keep certain beats), and just overall working with the team so as to get the most of of each animation. This week, before we get down to the nitty-gritty of taking an animation from planning to something closer to what you see in-game, we are going to chat a bit more on the planning side of things.
After having gotten done determining movement speeds and sound information, the last bit of planning before starting an animation is “how many states will this character/critter have”. Now, to better illustrate this, allow me to use you, dear reader, as part of this example. You have many states you go through during the day; one of which is sitting, another sleeping, and yet another is walking. Now for you, you might consider that you right now are just sitting there reading this, while for me, your state is the “sitting” state, and you are performing the “reading” action at this very moment. Now that I have hopefully illustrated what I mean by “state” , let me proceed with my animation explanation. After determining the state, I then must conclude what sort of animation it needs to be. There are two types of animation I tend to use to get the variety of animations we have in game, the animations are either an action, or a loop set. These two can either be used to transition from one state to another (A), or to simply complete an action and return back to it’s previous state (B).
On top of these two, there is also the determining factor of should this animation be combined with one or more of state’s default animation? If it can, this is then called a mask (both images above use a mask for only applying the animation from the hips up, thus allowing from the hips down to either walk, run, idle, or crouch). Last, but definitely not least, is the action frame. The action frame is the frame in which the important piece of the animation takes place: the strike of the weapon, the contact of the pick, etc. The action frame is something determined and balanced by the game designers, and then it is up to me to take their timing adjustments and make sure I hit the correct timing.
So yeah, with that all in mind, I open my 3D program and load up the rig Shotgun Ninja has so awesomely put together for me, and then go to town. It is here at the first animation for the character/critter that I choose either to animate the walk, the idle, or the run animation. Now the idle animation will most likely have the most animations branching from them, but the walk and run cycles give me the chance to explore the personality of the character/critter. I normally choose to start with the walk, that way I can get into the character’s personality faster and use it to influence the rest the animations. The predator was a fun one to work on because it needed to be fierce, stealthy, and powerful. Starting with the stalking animation, I immediately brought his head down so as to give a more ominous feel stealthy feel, while having his tail whip from side to side to show his excitement in the hunt. I tried to keep his head as centered as the movement of his body would allow, to give the impression of focus and determination.
Alrighty good peoples of the internet, it’s been fun sharing this time with you, but now I must get back to actually putting these tips and tricks into practice and giving yall new animations to play with. *high five*
… hmm… would a “high five” be loop set or an action… action I think… unless… unless we wanted to have the hand stay up in the air WAITING for another person to participate… Then a loop set it is… the high fiver would wanna be able to move around or stand still, so it has to work with idling, walking, and running… now which hand shall I apply this to… I think the Gem hand, that way the high fiver can still be productive…
Yeah… *waves* bye now!