With my role in this project being the lead animator it isn’t all that surprising that most of my time has been spent with our main character and the many animations he needs for the finished game. Much of that time was spent trying to work out the various little difficulties that tends to arise when someone deals with software one is not an expert with. Seeing as our game is made with 3d assets we and mostly i get the terrific opportunity to improve my knowledge around the topic of 3d animation, an area i have previously been rather uneducated and inexperienced in. Coming from a background of having worked with 2d animation the basic concepts and principles as to what makes an animation good are still very much the same although of course the tools, and thereby the workflow has changed quite a bit. Things such as feet skidding across the floor despite my best efforts to make them stop and a tendency of the software i am using to produce strange and unnatural stops and pauses in between my key frames are issues that have been encountered quite a bit as of late. As previously mentioned however most of this is more a result of my inexperience than anything else.
Specifically this week i have thus far been spending time with the animations regarding the various tools that the players of our game will be able to use such as a pair of pliers, a stretcher and an axe. Animations in this category include such things as a pick up animation for the pair of pliers, walking animations in all directions with each individual tool, animations for using the tools on the patients and so forth. When it comes to things such as walking animations for the tools a design decision needed to be made. In the name of saving valuable time one might argue that you should try to reuse your assets to as high a degree as possible, a statement that indeed is worthy of consideration. Say for an example that you want to make a walk animation where your character holds a heavy object and you just so happen to have a walk animation without it. It would not be all that hard to use the original walk animation and simply switch position of the characters hands and add a few details to make sure that everything works. What is also worthy of consideration however is whether or not you want your characters various animations to feel unique or not. When reusing your work, especially if you do it to a high degree it is usually a good idea to think about whether or not you are getting enough variation between the individual animations. In the end i made a sort of compromise by using what animations i already had that fitted the new ones i needed to some degree and then make sure that they got their own look to them. Things like making the character pause slightly between each step to bring across the point that he’s carrying something heavy, having him lean back considerably more to stabilize himself and counter the weight from the object he carries in his arms. These are the kind of details that helps making a motion believable and readable.