To make a character or an animation more appealing you need to look for ways to make it more alive, more “organic” by adding more details, very often a simple reaction to a main action would be sufficient
When robots and mechs are usually characterized by their stiffness, the animator here added a nice little touch by making Overwatch D.Va’s mech react to her fun idle (emote) and moving as Hana goes side to side stuffing her face with crips and fizzy drink alternatively while focused playing a holographic shmup.
The animation and Mech are definitely more alive and we still buy it is a mechanical object that could spring up to action anytime.
Great work Blizzard!
Dear blog, it has been a while since we last spoke. I was intending to finish and upload the shots I did while attending AnimSquad but things went a bit crazy since last December ;-)
The last few month have been really busy with a secret project I can finally talk about.
I have been privileged to get involved with “Tofu Fury”, a launch game for Amazon’s Fire phone, a pretty cool mobile device that among many other features, can track the head of the user thanks to four additional cameras and simulate 3d in a manner that hasn’t been seen to that level of depth on a mobile device yet.
If you want to know more about the phone, The Verge got it all covered with several articles. The Mayday feature will be of a great help to my mom and dad who just don’t understand how to operate a smartphone.
I still can’t divulge too much about our game but it is coming very soon and it was awesome to have it demoed on stage by Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos himself when the device finally got announced two weeks ago. Funny enough, he called the game “Angry Tofu” because the idea delighted him and the title caught up with the press to the dismay of our producer and our studio owner.
Working on the game was a great challenge as on top of being the animator, I was also the Character TD and it was the first time I relied so much on Morph targets (blend shapes) in Unity (the game engine we used).
Since blend shapes are really new to the version of Unity we used and there were so many horror stories on the Unity forum, I tried everything I could to stay away from them and use bones and joints deformation instead but blend shapes were ultimately the best way to create the stylized deformations we were after.
As the main character is 100% animated with blend shapes, “Tofu Fury” is a testimony that blend shapes are perfectly reliable in Unity. I even went to the extent of using blend shapes for some of the bad guys and “non-playable-character’s” (NPC) skin deformation that are traditionally handled through joints and the result was visually more pleasing and less resource intensive, at least for the test we did we Martin, our programmer mostly involved with character animations.
Ok, I think that is all I can say for now so here is a video of Jeff Bezos demoing our game.
Ah, one more thing. Like most cool kids I just created an Instagram page for my Life drawings and sketches. If you are also an Instagram user, feel free to follow me at
I went to see Madagascar 3 in 3d few days ago and I was struck by how efficiently they used the 3d.
Like most purist I don’t usually care about 3d and would usually go for the cheaper and flatter 2d version when/if available but this made me realize that we are living in a very exciting time.
As soon as I got out of the cinema I wanted to do some modeling and animation. Not because the movie was so good (you can swim from Tanzania to Monaco in 5 minutes, but can’t reach New York in 10? right….) but I am guessing because I had been sharing 90 minutes with CG puppets made alive, and, thanks to the use of 3d, those puppets were simply made real.
For the past few years we have merely tried to replicate in CG what had been done for 100 years with traditional 2d animation when we actually have the tools to take storytelling and cinematography to greater heights.
Let’s have a look at what video game company, Valve, just presented in a very compelling video today.
Non other than Gollum’s creator, Bay Raitt, is introducing Valve’s “Source filmmaker” (SFM).
From what I understand, they basically give you the best tool to create your own Machinimas.
We will be able to to use Valve’s realtime VFX, lighting, animation engine to create our own realtime shortfilms… for free? ;-)
On top of that, we can already imagine that animation, props, VFX creators could sell the fruits of their labour on the Valve marketplace or Steam, for everyone to enjoy. Got some crazy walk/run cycles? Sell them! You missed out on the Iphone App market? This is your chance!
Those guys are definitely thinking outside the box and created a really fresh ecosystem and business model. I look forward to hearing more about it and seeing how the wider audience will react to it.
Hit to following link for loads of tutorials.
While we are at it, check out that “Meet the Pyro” video I hadn’t seen before.
Few weeks ago “Last Chac” shared with me a lovely animation he just finished, a lovely cartoony singer/pianist on a Lady Gaga acoustic sound track beautifully rendered.
Last Chac also happen to be a very good animator performing his duties at Ubisoft Montpellier in the south of France and I was immediately seduced by his “Raving rabbids” showreel. The Wii is too last-gen for me so I have never tried any of the cartoony titles it offers but that one would be one of my favourite games on Xbox 360 or PS3.
I don’t have a direct link to his Raving Rabbids reel but you will find it in the Demo reel section and “Lapins Crétins” section. Really fun work Chac and obviously no motion capture went into the making of that game!
Friday was my last day at EA Brightlight and I received some really really cool presents! One of them was a Moleskine sketchbook with an 8 Bit version of me on the cover, an original “Spare Parts” drawing by Ross our concept artist extraordinaire and nice words from my teammates inside. My time at EA had been really good.
After a great experience in Angouleme and 2minutes last year, I wasn’t too keen on coming back to the UK and the insane cost of housing but working on “Spare Parts” and moving to Guildford was one of the best things that could have happened to me. I have met some incredible artists and improved my skills tremendously.
Working on a downloadable game with such a small team allowed me to understand the intricacy of how a game gets done and this was a very challenging but enjoyable experience. Unlike my experience at Rare, I was entirely involved in the whole process and tackled in-game cycle, marketing videos and cutscenes (those look amazing by the way). I really want to make my own game now! ;-)
“Spare Parts” comes out this winter and you should definitely keep an eye on it, at around $10 it is one of those must buy games for the whole family to enjoy. Thanks you EA Brightlight and my team for such an awesome experience!
so we have a new gameplay trailer, a poster and a Facebook page!
ah I wish you could see the cutscenes…..
My buddies game designer Gary Napper and concept artist Burt Ross got recently interviewed about the game industry and their role in the game development process. Check that out, you will see some of the earlier concept from “Spare parts” and Ross look really sexy in that familiar Tshirt ;-)
Our game designer Gary Napper just came back from San Francisco where he presented our game “Spare parts” to reporters. Want to find out what “Spare Parts” is about?
The robots at the bottom in the background are performing some of my “idle animations” by the way.
This game and the team I am working with are awesome. I have only been in the game industry for few years but making a downloadable XBLA/PSN game is probably the closest thing to what it was back in the mid 80s/90s. Unlike the 70 and upward teams most games require nowadays, in a project of that size, every team member can truly participate to the direction of the game.
All the character animation has been done by Neil, my lead animator, and myself.
E3 2010 just finished. Microsoft stole the show with the announcement of Kinect, the newly renamed Natal system, and a slim version of the Xbox but for the time being, my 2010 favourite games are pretty much all for the WII. Could companies bring more cartoony games to next gen consoles?!
Here are this year’s announcement.
Donkey Kong Country returns. Donkey Kong country is the reason I decided to work in games and join Rare. I fulfilled part of my dream and managed to work on Banjo Kazooie but I still have to work on Donkey Kong country. Well looks like it could happen!
EA just announced what appears to be a very fun XBLA, PSN game!
“Electronic Arts has announced a new tiny action-adventure game called Spare Parts, to be released during Winter 2010 on Xbox Live and PSN. Your goal is to repair your spaceship to escape from an unfriendly planet. Therefore you can upgrade your robot with collected items and a friend of yours can join the game to help you in co-op mode.”
Would a video be following very soon?
I just realized that I never featured my friend and (ex)coworker Dan Carrey!!!
Here is his short film. “Shower Power”
You will also find Dan’s showreel on his website
We definitely had a bunch of top animators at Rare. Here is also Peer Lemmers showreel if you didn’t know his work:
My current animation lead, Neil Parkinson, is also a very inspiring animator/modeler/rigger/concept artist. Don’t be surprised about the crazy amount of skills, all my coworkers are Jacks of all trades at EA which can be a bit overwhelming sometimes.
Neil is currently finishing rendering his short film so in the meantime check out his reel:
Well while I am at it. I think I should also feature our local concept artist Burt Ross. Ross is a crazy Scottish guy who can be pretty loud when he plays Fifa at lunch. He also happens to be really talented at what he does, namely Concept art and Storyboards.
Ross is also the creator of the Astrofunk comics. Number 2 just came out by the way!
Check out his blog:
Ok, that’s it for today but I will soon create a new post feature the other crazy artists surrounding me.
I am about to buy a new game console and didn’t know what to choose between the Xbox 360 and the PS3 since my Bluray movie library is increasing dramatically but this is something exciting coming on the Xbox 360!
This looks like a clever move from Microsoft. This looks like the Itune version of Arcade games and this is a great opportunity for the old Arcade developers to bring their old IPs out of the dust and fight against or conquer the illegal emulator scene. Pac Man at the click of a button on your Xbox 360 or what about “Ghost and Goblins” with portable achievements!!!!
I have the feeling “The King of Kong” will have a sequel in no time ;-)
Passion pictures The-beatles-rockband-intro
I just found that great blog from some Insomniac concept artist. Too bad most of their sketchbooks are sold out.
I would love to model some of their characters one day.
 well I just started ;-) Proportion are off, it is a very rough pass.
well, I just started working for the UK branch of Electronic Arts, the Bright Light studio located in beautiful Guildford. The only thing I can say is that it is a new IP and it is a really cool project. I am doing a crazy amount of commuting between Guildford and London at the moment but hopefully I will be able to settle down very quickly and find the time for my personal projects.
Several month ago, with few other Animation Mentor graduates, I was asked to write some clever thoughts about the increasing role of character animation in games. My name got misspelt few times but the article is still a very good read.
You can find the article here on Animation Arena.
Googling my name I realised that Microsoft had put my name among all the great people who worked on Banjo Kazooie “Nuts and Bolts” on the Microsoft website. Cool
Banjo Kazooie is a fun little game I was about to say but it is actually a fun Massive game!!! Just like “Viva Pinata”, I think Microsoft could easily make a TV series or even a feature based on those really great characters. To me, Banjo Kazooie is probably the strongest cartoony IP on the Xbox 360 at the moment so whywnot a true plateformer in the meantime?
I am finally done with it, well it is just time to move on so here it is! This is the work I did at Rare/Microsoft game studio for the past 18 month, working on Banjo Kazooie “Nuts and Bolts” and also the Avatars.
you can find a Quicktime version here