The magic of animation – ZoinkDay #30

This week I thought I’d talk about one of the parts of development that actually makes the characters come to life – animation! Problem is I don’t know squat about this particular subject. So I sat down with our animator Ebba and let her show me the ropes. Here’s what I learned!

In short, you could say the work of getting a character from a sketch and into the game consists of three parts:

  1. Painting
  2. Rigging
  3. Animating

The painting part kinda speaks for itself. In this case, it’s Henrik who creates totally awesome coloured versions of the original sketches using Photoshop (we might go more into that in a future blog post!). In the next step, the 3D artists begin the rigging, which is basically the process of giving the characters a digital skeleton that later allows it to move.

gunborg_anim

Animated Gunborg to the left, her skeleton to the right.

Time to start acting!

There’s really no difference between creating in-game animations and longer cutscenes, the process stays the same either way. Having lots of people active in the same cutscene can be very time consuming for the animator, though. There’s simply a lot of limbs moving around, and it’s quite the job seeing to that everyone on-screen looks alive! In that sense, animators at Zoink also work part time as directors.

gunborg_anim_happy

From sour to jolly!

On bigger projects, there are often storyboards made prior to animating, showing who should be in focus and in which angle at a certain point of time, but since we’re a fairly small team, the animator plans this while working. The animating itself is like a kind of digital puppeteering. You arrange the characters in different poses (keys) that connects to each other to create movement.

Oceans and worms

Can you guess which Zombie Viking character was the hardest one to animate? Why, if you ask Ebba it’s our good old friend the North Sea. Notice all those parts, moving at the same time to get that floaty feel? Well, that takes some time! Martin, on the other hand, wasn’t a big fan of the Worm Prince, since he actually consist of two different pieces – worm and body.

NorthSea

The second-largest body of water between Britain and Norway!

So, any questions? Ask them in the comments and I’ll make sure to… let the animators help me answer them. So long!

Alexandra Dahlberg
Community Manager
@dalbergskan

  • minirop

    I would love to know how the painting is “deformed”. When Gunborg is moving her arm, we don’t see different blocks moving but a nice curved piece.

    • All characters are 3D rigged with a skinned mesh. That’s why we can deform the bodies in such a smooth way. Can provide you with a screen shot if you’d like to see more.