Articles

GDC 2013!!!


It's been a while since my last post but much has happened in the last several months. I'll get to all of it very soon, but for now I am really excited to announce that I will be speaking at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in Read more

And I'm back!


I know I've said this before, but what a year! I meant to write a lot more these past several months, but Hitman: Absolution took every moment I had. Even when our newest little one, Livia, was born I only got a brief break before diving right back into Read more

stuff...


More than anything, I just wanted a reason to post that image. So, I'm going to be making a couple of additions to the site. If you haven't noticed already, I have added an Animation page (you can click on it at the top). I'll be adding an updated demo Read more

a hell of a year...


Well, hello. It's been a while. 2011 has been one kick in the crotch after another and updating the blog always felt like the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day. Not that things have gotten any better or easier, but I'm getting the urge Read more

a pox on our house...


(artist rendering) So I have come down with the chicken pox. It sucks. Along with the Norwalk of '06 and the Rotavirus of '08, this falls in my top three worst sicknesses. I wish I could say the time off from work has been relaxing, but it has been a sweaty, Read more

Head Over Heels: Upper Body Movement In Gameplay

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For every gameplay feature that makes it in, ten were cut so that it could survive. In the epic battle (or collaboration, depending on your team/company) between Designers, Programmers, and Animators to see these features get shipped, some core fundamentals often fall by the wayside. In games animation, it is very common to approach quality of movement in the wrong order; starting from the ground up.

Foot planting, phase matching, complicated IK solutions, procedural layering; they all have their place but we often sacrifice much to keep them working. In film, animators long ago realized that audiences observe characters in a very specific priority order. We start at the eyes, then the head, then the silhouette. Animators work very hard to give the upper body a sense of weight, obey the laws of force, and move in appealing arcs.

When it comes to in-game locomotion, we rarely get to see the eyes clearly as we’re mostly behind our character, so the next stop down the chain of importance is the head. Unfortunately, when we place such a high focus on maintaining solid foot-planting, we create a fulcrum point at the ground and our characters often pivot in extreme ways to compensate. This is especially noticeable in bigger direction changes and when aligning characters to interact with each other (melee, high fives, piggyback rides, etc.).

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How to get a job as an animator in games…

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Andy Samberg, hair performance capture session.

The competition for jobs in the gaming industry is getting increasingly fierce (many companies receiving 100′s of applicants for a single position), yet many applicants consistently make the same mistakes which hurt their chances of landing the gig. I’m going to cover some of the more common mistakes I come across, as well as provide some insight into what I (and most others) look for when reviewing an applicant.

There’s no shortage of cover letter, resume, and interview “help” articles and services out there, but anything that really covers it from start to finish with information that is specific to games (and more specifically, game animation) is scarce. Much of the advice offered for cover letters and CV’s is geared towards a corporate position and the demo reel direction is often targeted at a job in film or TV, which could put animators at a disadvantage.

I’ll run through this in chronological order from a hiring perspective: cover letter, resume, demo reel, interview. So, let’s get started! Read more →