Animation tips & tricks

GDC 2016 Tricks of the trade

Yes, I’m super late on this, but this 30m panel from GDC 2016 is absolutely packed full of useful tips and ticks for animators. The talk is directed specifically to video game animators but many of the tips can be adapted for many more medias.

Some of my favourite tips include-

  • Fixing repetitive animation loops. – Instead of going from pose A to B and back to A again, try adding a C. The C pose describes much more of the characters personality and attitude. A to B to C and back to A
  • One quick way to more effective loops is to use animation layers.
  • Head Movement – Erratic head movement can create jarring animation. Track the arcs and remember, the goal is to make the character look like it moved, not that it was moved.
  • Break It! – push the geometry to create smears and show inertia. Even in reality there is a great deal of deformation in intense physical action.
  • Reduce Blur. This is a tip I noticed a couple of my animations would benefit from. slowing down a small piece of animation just long enough for the audience to better understand or to emotionally attach to the movement/action.
  • Using curves for motion arcs – a cv can be attached to the geometry and modified to clean the arc. An ik controller can also be attached to a curve.
  • Ugly upper body animation – Counter-rotate strafe animations so hips can swivel while still running the same direction.
  • In-Place Cycles – When changing a forward animation into a fixed place loop, don’t lose some of the slight variation in translation values.
  • Body language precedes VO 9 times out of 10.
  • Bone chains – use the golden ratio.