To create all of Groma’s moves, first we need to make her a skeleton. That bone structure is located inside the 3D model and is known as rig. With it, we can control how much the geometry will obey each bone, how it will move and in some cases how it will even deform itself. After we have the bone structure in place we create a number of controllers in the rig, so we can make her move.
Animation is not about just movements
There’s much more to animation than just moving something. The main challenge is in the acting of the movement, we need to make sure that all the actions performed have personality and adds to the character narrative. Since we already know what we want from Groma, how her personality is, we just need to transfer it to her body language. Groma is the Forge Commander, strong, formidable and inspiring to all her allies. We must think how someone with that personality behaves and acts.
Considering everything, we imagine and test how she would behave in the situations found in a battlefield, from the moment where nothing is happening up to the combat itself. Even while idling, she must be alert and ready to defend herself and counter attack. The Forge Commander is a natural leader, a very confident one at that, so her personality is not suited for timid or defensive poses.
The first pose we tend to make is the Idle. This is the pose when the character is chilling, when there’s no input commands by the player. The idle is a good starting point for all the other actions, since most of them will begin from it and come back to it after the action is done.
Pose to Pose
To animate we used a method called pose to pose. It consists in first creating just the key poses of the action and afterwards creating what happens in-between them. So first we put Groma on her idle pose, then we create the first key pose of the action we’re doing, followed by the last key pose of the action which will go back to the idle pose. If needed we can also add a number of other key poses in the middle. Once all the key poses are done we work on the intervals.
In Skydome all the characters have their animations split from upper and lower body. They are independent from one another because the game allows the champions to look and act toward one direction, while at the same time moving to another. We have a number of animations that are full body, like emotes, in those the challenge still lies in the acting. Specially on how to keep the funny emotes true to Groma’s personality.
That’s it for today folks! We hope you enjoyed our quick animation tour!
Any question, please leave us a comment below!
See you then!