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Tutorial Doctor

Game Animation Resources?

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Tutorial Doctor    2573

A lot of tutorials I find on animating are for film animation, but with game animation, it is different. 

 

I have a control system for a 3rd person game, but my character animation is sub-par. I can't find that many free and good resources for 3d character animation, let alone one that is geared towards game character animation (which has to be designed to work well interactively). 

 

I do understand also that rigs vary from character to character, and I don't know, yet, the optimal rig style for game characters. I am sure it depends on the complexity of the mesh, or on the range of movement you want the character to have.

 

And I don't know how you go from a low-poly character animation for the game to a high-poly character animation for a cut-scene (it seems the animation style also has to change.)

 

Anyone have any tips or links on this topic?

 

 

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Ashaman73    13715


A lot of tutorials I find on animating are for film animation, but with game animation, it is different.

From an artist standpoint, the concept of animation doesn't differ much. The advantage of film/cut-scene animation is, that you have more freedom when doing animation for it.

 


which has to be designed to work well interactively

Now we enter the realm of the technical aspect of game animation. The need to change the animation in a game to react to its environment is the reason, that the artist part of the animation needs special requirements. Eg you create a walk animation and a gun-fire animation and blend them in the game engine. This goes as far as, that certain animation are done in-game on the fly (ragdoll death-animation or IK feet placement etc.).

 


Anyone have any tips or links on this topic?

The issue is, that the technical part of the animation depends on engine and game, therefor it doesn't make much sense to describe a common game-animation tutorial. To make it even worse, the requirements of animation depends often on the implementation of the AI-system, because the AI-system managed the interaction of a character with the environment and other characters (locomotion). If you really want to learn something about game-animation, I would sugguest to look out for game specific animation tutorials (eg how to create animations for hl2), thought these are really technically.

 

If you want to learn something about animation creation (the artists view), then any animation tutorial will do, even 2d animation tutorials !

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Tutorial Doctor    2573

Thank you Ashaman for responding, I was just working on animation today. I am using Blender to do the animation, but I have to export the animation to another game engine. 

 

The engine only supports rig animation, and not shapekeys or anything. It doesn't use Blender's animation blending either, so right now I am just snapping to a new animation whenever I move, and by default an idling animation plays. 

 

I still don't feel comfortable animating in Blender yet, but hopefully the UI design changes that they have already started implementing beginning with version 2.7 will help a little. 

 

Thanks again. 

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Ashaman73    13715


The engine only supports rig animation, and not shapekeys or anything.

Shapekeys (in general morph targets) are almost never supported by game engines (exception: sometimes facial animation or character customizsation), skeletal animation (rigs) is the standard way.

 


It doesn't use Blender's animation blending either, so right now I am just snapping to a new animation whenever I move, and by default an idling animation plays.

Atleast animation blending to smooth the transition of one animation to a followup animation should be supported. With this feature you can archieve robust in-game animation. AAA games have really powerful animation/AI locomotion systems at hands, which often requires hundreds and thousands of  animations sequences, something not really necessary in an indie game biggrin.png

 


I still don't feel comfortable animating in Blender yet

Animation starts at the rig. With a good rig and some good driver,you can easily animate even complex rigs (a driver is a bone which is irrelevant to the final rig and animation, but it controls the movement of other bones). Here is a good tutorial of rigging a human character, thought it is for maya, you can convert it to blender (you need to test around with some constraints to find the right one, but the basic idea is really good).

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Tutorial Doctor    2573
Thank you again! Very much.
So perhaps I need to find tutorials on making a simple locomotion system?

I found a good tutorial on blendercookie for rigging, and while it was good, rigging is too involved when I have to make many characters like NPCs and such.

I have to still try out that 5 bone rig I saw in an article here. Another thing that gets me is doing the hands and feet, because you can run into a lot of bone orientation issues.

I wish I could replicate the animation tools that Curious Labs Poser has, which seems possible. I could have a starting woman rig with mesh, and a starting male rig with a mesh, and use shape keys to adjust the shape for a different npc.

I have found a way to paint new skin textures lighting fast. And I could use makehuman (for now) to make the starting make and female.

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3Ddreamer    3826

Hi,

 

I don't know if you can actually use Collada, but it or the plug-in for it would teach you some things about animation issues. Beginners to pros use something like Mixamo Fuse if they don't want or can't spend the time on elaborate custom animations made by themselves.  Blender is a good learning tool and is actually scalable in the sophistication of the animations, especially with plug-in like Collada.  By the way, if the export file format does not suit your game coding, then you may export to another 3D program and almost always get the correct export file format that you need in the conversion. You will really need to be very conscious of the whole workflow pipeline and be prepared to do a lot of research and practice to get your workflow going.  Another issue is to think in terms of model file format more in making serious progress at a more efficient pipeline for development and creation.  This is true for 3D model, 2D graphics, and animations.  The ideal is to land on a good 3D modeling software that includes animations (with or without plugins for animations) which will package all these components into a nice, comprehendible model folder.  Typically this model folder is the whole model, though there sometimes are reasons to dangle data outside the model folder, such as some specification in a configuration file which is outside the model folder. More specifically,  3D character "mesh", rigging, UV or other texture mapping (could include bump-mapping), rendering, lighting, materials, and animations all included in one export from a 3D software program.  Trust me, using a 3D software which packages all this for you is a huge time and coding saver.  There are software development kits (SDKs) to tie these model folders to your game source code.

 

Now, if all this sounds frightfully complicated, what you do is start with only very basic character or other model features and gradually add more in the future if you want.  Even with a simple character, you get much capability for the effort compared with manually coding every character instead of letting a graphic software write the coding files in the model folder for you.  The most efficient way from a coding standpoint is to create a class (file or folder) for a category of model and put the model folder in the class folder. Have your game draw from that class file when the gamer selects it. This shows the importance of modular coding and using interfaces as a kind of switchboard for coding.

 

The great advantage of using SDKs, IDEs, and/ or a game engine with a 3D software (creating the correct model folders for these software) is that so much coding and organization if done for you.  After a while of working on games, then you will begin to see the relationships of game structure, which are mostly standard in the game development industry.  It wil become more a matter of tying existing libraries together with coding, configuring them, and then adding game content to the files and folders of the game.

 

It is possible and common for beginners to code a game in a spaghetti fashion, but a nightmare to debug em and extend them.  dry.png

 

I hope that this helped.

smile.png

Edited by 3Ddreamer

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