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Art Update 13: Ask the Animation Team Anything!

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What is the process of making the rigs for all the characters? Is there a base rig that each character starts with that is refined for the character or is there another process?

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Go watch the Animated movie How To Tame Your Dragon. Then watch any flying scene, but specifically the one where the girl and the boy go flying together for the first time. And then ask your self, ‘how the, F, is every flying scene in every video game, not nearly as visceral, epic and mind blowing as this one, right here, exactly the same?!’ Because there is absolutely no reason that it shouldn’t be. To me, that is interactive narrative. That scene, in a game where I fly around on a dragon and am the hero. I Know the words ‘interactive narrative’ go to a lot of different places for a lot of different people, but for me, its that.
Would play that.

Colossus: I remembered you talked about that one in one of the 2P videos so I figured I'd mention it as like, well, *besides* that one... cause man, that game. Can't wait to see what Ueda does with Last Guardian.

I'm not a fan of zombies but I guess that makes two zombie games now that I really probably should play despite the theme... Last of Us and Walking Dead.

I feel like now that still graphics have kind of plateaued people are starting to pay more attention to what can be done with animation, but sometimes I feel like the real milestones are quickly forgotten in favour of shiny new tech like performance capture which is 100% non-interactive. :/

Maybe if they figured out a way to break performance down into smaller components to create something more dynamic (like brief expression moments, or held moods)... I want to see what a more procedural LA Noire would look like, with more back and forth and reacting to the player instead of linear questions with only one right answer, with expressions that change dynamically as the conversation progresses instead of just one set performance. Maybe it could react to timing and the order in which you ask things, current mood, what you're looking at etc... so many things you could try!

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...I want to see what a more procedural LA Noire would look like, with more back and forth and reacting to the player instead of linear questions with only one right answer, with expressions that change dynamically as the conversation progresses instead of just one set performance. Maybe it could react to timing and the order in which you ask things, current mood, what you're looking at etc... so many things you could try!

Here's the funny thing about LA Noire. I remember being really, REALLY impressed with the facial animation tech until I saw in game how it actually worked. The face isn't actually animated at all, instead a video plays over the texture/model. I discovered this near the end of the game when I had the camera positioned quite close to the face of the main character at the time. It wasn't a cutscene, just a casual conversation that tends to happen quite often in the game. After the main character finished the conversation, I saw the video fade out into the normal face texture.

I admit the way it was done was extremely clever but I don't like the idea of everyone thinking it was modelled/animated/captured when it really wasn't.

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Here's the funny thing about LA Noire. I remember being really, REALLY impressed with the facial animation tech until I saw in game how it actually worked. The face isn't actually animated at all, instead a video plays over the texture/model. I discovered this near the end of the game when I had the camera positioned quite close to the face of the main character at the time. It wasn't a cutscene, just a casual conversation that tends to happen quite often in the game. After the main character finished the conversation, I saw the video fade out into the normal face texture.

I admit the way it was done was extremely clever but I don't like the idea of everyone thinking it was modelled/animated/captured when it really wasn't.

That reminds me of that one most likely really old cartoon I saw somewhere in which the characters' mouths were filmed videos instead of animations. Looked kinda creepy.

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Here's the funny thing about LA Noire. I remember being really, REALLY impressed with the facial animation tech until I saw in game how it actually worked. The face isn't actually animated at all, instead a video plays over the texture/model. I discovered this near the end of the game when I had the camera positioned quite close to the face of the main character at the time. It wasn't a cutscene, just a casual conversation that tends to happen quite often in the game. After the main character finished the conversation, I saw the video fade out into the normal face texture.

I admit the way it was done was extremely clever but I don't like the idea of everyone thinking it was modelled/animated/captured when it really wasn't.

That reminds me of that one most likely really old cartoon I saw somewhere in which the characters' mouths were filmed videos instead of animations. Looked kinda creepy.

You are probably thinking of Clutch Cargo which was the basis for a ton of old Conan O'Brien sketches back in the day.

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...I want to see what a more procedural LA Noire would look like, with more back and forth and reacting to the player instead of linear questions with only one right answer, with expressions that change dynamically as the conversation progresses instead of just one set performance. Maybe it could react to timing and the order in which you ask things, current mood, what you're looking at etc... so many things you could try!

Here's the funny thing about LA Noire. I remember being really, REALLY impressed with the facial animation tech until I saw in game how it actually worked. The face isn't actually animated at all, instead a video plays over the texture/model. I discovered this near the end of the game when I had the camera positioned quite close to the face of the main character at the time. It wasn't a cutscene, just a casual conversation that tends to happen quite often in the game. After the main character finished the conversation, I saw the video fade out into the normal face texture.

I admit the way it was done was extremely clever but I don't like the idea of everyone thinking it was modelled/animated/captured when it really wasn't.

In Kilgore, TX, at the East Texas Oil Museum, there's a walk-through street scene from the era of the oil boom. In at least one area, there's a mannequin with a motion-activated projector that projects a talking face onto the mannequin so he can describe some aspect of daily life in the "oil patch". I'm not sure I was ever young enough for it to be convincing.

I'm not certain that calling it a "video" on the face of the L.A. Noire character models is entirely accurate. It IS a 3D composite captured from the actor's performance, but it is displayed\played "over" the stock character model. So...yes and no.

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For some reason, to my eyes Prince of Persia character animation is still one the best i have ever seen.

I really enjoyed the story of how Jordan filmed his brother actions for rotoscopy

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I have worked some years with 3dsmax, and recently moved to Modo 701.

Q: Procedural animations. I know this is most likely not in the "ball park" of adventure games as we see them today.. but what do you guys think of the future of procedural generation of game content, including animation? I think it's extremely early days, but I think it has a future if programmers get the right algorithms up.

Clarification: I do not think this will ever "replace" true keyframed animations for story based lovely games like adventure games :)

But for example for games where life forms are procedurally generated, such as (the very boring) "Spore" - it would also be necessary for the IK solving and walk cycles to be generated procedurally by smart algorithms. Since the amount of creatures that can exist are close to ∞, you need such a system.

Spore's animation system http://chrishecker.com/Real-time_motion_retargeting_to_highly_varied_user-created_morphologies

Now, I didn't think the animation system in Spore worked very well, as it just seemed like the IK solving was done by an invisible wheel rolling the IK targets. That's how it looked anyways.

Overgrowth has a procedural animation system for kung fu :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkI-jt9K530

The problems with doing it this way is that it very easily can look unnatural or unvaried.

But things are definitely happening in this field:

David Braben has stated that one of the expansions for Elite Dangerous will have procedurally generated planets (and an entire galaxy of solar systems) - and some planets will have wildlife .. and I suspect the wildlife is going to be procedurally generated. They will then obviously have to use procedural animation.

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