3D Character Animation – Introduction

To begin my research for my final submission of the production piece, we were asked to create 3 action sequences with a minimum of 10+ seconds each, combined to create 30-60 seconds of animation. As my character was made for a playable game, I decided to create a prefab animation which will occur when the player presses a certain key. For example, a walk animation will trigger when the player presses ‘W’. From the suggested options, I will be creating a simple walk/run cycle along with a fighting animation where I will use my character’s sword to create a simple swinging motion. For the third animation, I will attempt to use the character wings to create a flying animation where the character will land from an elevated position onto the ground. If possible, I will attempt at making a short, idle animation if I have excess time at the end of the production piece.

The walk cycle, along with the other animations I am planning to do, will all be close to realistic and won’t have much exaggeration as the cartoon style does. I may experiment with this later if the realistic approach doesn’t work as well as I’d planned. To prepare my character for animation, I had to bring down the polycount as I had previously created it with over 2.5 million polygons. I have managed to get the model down to 150 thousand polygons without losing any detailing in the face or other areas which I did by using ZRemesher at various rates. I also cleaned up the model by deleting the areas that sit under other layers such as the legs that aren’t visible due to the trousers as well as the trousers that go under the boots. This further helped reduced the polycount drastically. However, when it came to ZRemeshing to face, I had issues where I would lose detailing in the facial features, even with the ‘keep creases’ option on.

With my Character prepared for modeling with about 50k polycount, I was able to start rigging my character within Maya

For the time being, I’ve only rigged the human shape and will be rigging the wings once I have weight-painted the model.