We love to be transparent and to share with all of you as much content as we can, taking into account the short time we can dedicate to write here. Of course, there’re limits: we’ve to keep some characters, songs, scenarios and plot twists secret in order to surprise you during the game. But let’s focus on what we can show. In this post, we talk about the character animation process.
The first step is, obviously, filming a human model. In the video above you can see a female model walking forward and swinging her hips on a treadmill, wearing high heels. This movement is captured by 8 cameras at the same time, placed around the center of the film set. They can’t be turned on and off as we start or end a movement so we record all the movements we can one after the other; afterwards, we synchronize and split all the videos in the editor at home. Although we use many tricks to center and orientate the camera as correctly as we can before recording, it’s always necessary to process the videos, rotating them as needed. Even during the next stage, the artist has to move the frames to counteract camera vibrations or oscillations (remember that cameras are set outdoors on a 3 meters high support).
Rotoscopying and pixelating
Once we have 8 corrected raw videos for a movement, the artist selects a set of key frames and draws a kind of “colored template” on them using GraphicsGale editor. This template will be useful later on to animate any character with a similar constitution; the colors make easy to differentiate extremities when they overlap each other. This is a complex operation, the artist has to choose which pixels to include in the final draw and which not; in such small sizes, 1 pixel can change the aspect of the character completely. Besides, the artist includes 2 levels of shading, one main color for each part of the body and a darker tone of that color for the internal shadowing. This way, he doesn’t have to think about shadowing every time he animates a new character that uses the template.
The final step is the funniest. Using the template and a concept or draft of the character as a reference, the artist can now paint the real pixels of the final animation, customizing every part of the body and giving the character her own personality, including all the details needed (simplified, of course, otherwise creating these animations would be even more expensive of what they already are).
You can see the results here:
Note: The animation on the right has been discarded, the movement has to be recorded again because we didn’t realized it was too exaggerated.
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