Animation Sells It!

I read an interesting article on Gamasutra regarding the art process in AAA blockbuster games. While I wish they got a little more specific in describing their design pipeline (rather than just kind of saying “yeah, we have guys and they’re really good and they go in and make it look good,”) it was interesting to see them mention the specific use of animation first and foremost as what defines this as a photo-realistic looking game.

As an animator myself, and more specifically one focused on 3D animation, it makes me happy to hear someone say this. Sometimes it seems like in the general public, the quality of 3D art is judged more by the visual punch of special effects and texturing, aspects that are more noticeable in still renders. If you’ve ever watched a Pixar movie, though, you have seen first hand that what makes those characters believable isn’t insane bump-mapping, its that they move in an incredibly expressive and “lifelike” fashion. I put lifelike in quotes, though, because it isn’t exactly like reality – much of the limits of the medium are made up for by expression and exaggeration of movement, even in a photo realistic film or video game.

At DDA I’ve worked on several projects involving 3D animation, with many more in progress. They’ve ranged from realistic 3D soldiers to a sassy cartoon seal, and in each instance I’ve incorporated bits of exaggeration to sell the movement and animation further. Check out our 3D animations as well as the rest of our completed video projects in our video portfolio!