The high-tensity competition of the modern entertainment industry induces video game animations to look ever more fascinating. A gamer should be able to effortlessly dive as deep as possible into virtual worlds and attain full control over their alter-ego character and the surrounding virtual reality. Seeing the character from a third-person point of view, they are free to manipulate the camera whatever way they like, rotating it in every angle to see things from different perspectives.
Thus, game developers are obliged by the modern extremely critical gaming communities of players to consider every possible flaw of their three-dimensional worlds, paying close attention to details to make sure that all the objects stay integral from any angle.
What is Animation?
Animation is a sequence of processed frames shown in the correct order, creating the illusion of motion. At the dawn of cinematography, animation was produced by applying still shots onto transparent sheets, again – put in order to create motion. But time dictates new rules, so today’s animation is mostly done using computer-generated imagery (CGI).
Experts from Melior Games have a lot of experience in developing CGI animations. And not only that, but we also offer a wide range of services for creating Your project: from consultation to implementation of the idea itself.
General Methods of Creating Computer Generated “Illusions”
Over the years, filmmakers came up with multiple methods of creating cinematic illusions. Let’s look at some of them:
- Classical 2D was the initial way of creating animation. Objects were drawn on plastic cells and each frame would be shot separately using these cells in front of a background;
- Digital 2D is in many ways analogous to the previous one, but the majority of the process is now controlled by a computer, which saves producers lots of time as there is no more need to draw every single frame by hand;
- Digital 3D is basically creating digital volumetric objects making the process of animation composition even more convenient;
- Stop-Motion takes a step back from computers and uses material objects for the frame-by-frame filming, which is obviously a much more tedious process, but makes up for a great animation style eventually;
- This one combines the previous method with puppets who can also become movie actors and even have facial expressions with the help of the abovementioned stop-motion filming and changeable heads;
There are actually many more models for creating animation. What you can do is contact Melior Games today to find out about them all and choose the one that would be perfect for Your own product.
The Difference Between Character Animation In Video Games and Movies
The main difference is, of course, the perspective of the shot. In movies, the camera is basically fixated in time, you cannot go back and look at the same shot from another angle. An operator holding the camera doesn’t have to consider all the possible options of perspective at once, concentrating on a single scene.
Whereas a character animations specialist has to consider the outlook of a character from all the possible angles: up and down, side and back view. The model in question has to be flawless however you look at it. For example, using arches for modelling, the movements of the character have to be smooth and stitchless from every perspective available to the players.
Read also: The Key Principles of Animation in Video Games
TOP-7 Examples of Animation in Game Design
The majority of character animation in video games is intended to imitate character body movement mechanics. And the process of its imitation is definitely not an easy task! Animators have to consider things like the smoothness, attractiveness, and duration of every move. Depending on the specifics of a project, they can decide to make a game character animation faster when the priority is to go back to the game quicker when, say, a character is picking up a gun. Sometimes, they will slow it down, emphasizing the realism – reloading a gun, for example.
Now let’s take a look at the top animation characters that can inspire game developers and lead their enthusiasm in the right direction.
Prince of Persia, Contra, and Battle Toads
These are perhaps the most vivid examples of video game industry pioneers. Despite the limitation of 2D graphics of the time, the animators performed an excellent job of creating seamless character motion. There is an instant of delay for every action, realistic performance time for every animation. For those times, these games were great examples of realism achieved by all the possible means.
One of the more peculiar methods of animated game character creation was using rotoscoping – like the designer of Prince of Persia Jordan Mechner did. He filmed his brother perform different acrobatic tricks in white clothes for further editing of the footage.
Read also: Animate a Fighting Game in 6 Stages
Mortal Kombat XL, Tekken 7
These combat game series are well-known all around the world. The genre of fighting often presents gamers with some revolutionary mechanics and possibilities, attracting ever more players year after year. Realistic strike combinations with fascinating animation followed by harsh sounds of breaking bones and dramatic finishings (fatality, brutality, stage kill, etc.) are the key factors responsible for such popularity of these franchises.
Grand Theft Auto V
Even though this one doesn’t place its whole stack on directed combinations of animation – GTA is more of a sandbox game about the freedom of action. However, character animations in this game are extremely smooth and realistic. Pedestrians react to every change in landscape naturally, and Los Santos has plenty of those.
The most astonishing aspect of animations in this game is the attention to details – take for example the flip-flops separating from the feet during walk. Such minor things make up for a huge world that looks and feels alive.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
A great example of animation in game design. The developers are making players empathize with the main characters using insignificant but highly realistic animation features such as natural emotions. Even professional actors couldn’t play like that! And all that visual package goes together with excellent dialogues and the overarching storyline that easily satisfies most picky gamers.
Motion capture, or just mocap for short, is the key element of the L.A. Noire animation mechanics. The game puts a huge emphasis on the process of interrogation of alleged criminals. A player should be able to see if a character is telling the truth of lying based on their facial expressions and body language. Incredible face animations helped the game stand out from the crowd at the time when other games mostly featured puppet-faced, emotionless characters.
Horizon Zero Dawn
This is an excellent example of an action game that involves constant gun switching, movements in different directions and solving puzzles of the in-game physical world such as avoiding traps. All these things require animations being played one after another without any stitch ever being noticed by the user. There are huge combating robots infusing fear with their massiveness that move in a slow, smooth manner. And the attention to details is also noticeable in things like the hair fluttering even outside the gaming process. Things like that only serve as bonuses for an already great game.
Yet another good example of the motion capture technology. To make the main protagonist come alive, the developers even went as far as creating a casting for dancers to use their movements for Bayonetta’s dancing gun slinging. This approach allowed them to recreate the real drive and emotions of real people for their game.
Creating animation for a video game is a highly laborious job that demands consideration of every aspect of the physical world and its meticulous reproduction. Faithfully animated game characters are one of the key aspects that allow players to delve into the fictional world and believe the narrative, forgetting about the laws of the real world for a time being. Isn’t this the main purpose people enjoy watching movies and playing video games? Pleasant realistic animation creates a world that you want to visit again and again. While using novel methods such as castings and the latest technology guarantees the success of an enterprise.