Saturday, 5 April 2014

Infinity Runner- Teaser Trailer

So here it is, the latest game I have been working on. Its called Infinity Runner and it's a Sci-fi Action Running game for PC, Mac, Linux and will also feature Oculus Rift Support, which I'm really excited about. In terms of animation it has a bit of a Mirrors Edge vibe to it, but as you will see in future trailers there will be plenty of features to set it apart. There's still lots to do and a fair few things to fix, but the project is going well and I'm happy with the progress we've made so far.

Oculus Rift Developers

Look what's arrived at the studio, Wales Interactive will now be supporting the Oculus Rift. More importantly I finally got the chance to try it out, yay! A bit dissapointed that I succumbed to motion sickness though.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Jak and Daxter- Acting Piece

I'm a big fan of the Jak and Daxter games, so when I found this Daxter rig on Creative Crash, I felt that I had to at least attempt some animation with it. The rig was a bit broken in some areas, but I overlooked the imperfections as it was alot of fun to animate such a great character. Below is my first blocking pass, followed by the end result.


You can find the rig here. (C) Jak and Daxter and all its characters belong to Naughty Dog. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Top 10 Books for CG Animators

Over the years I have built up a large collection of books related to Games and Animation. Some invaluable and others more a shelf filler. With that in mind I have compiled a list of 10 must-have books for CG animators. These are in no particular order:
The Animators Survival Kit
Most animators would consider this an essential animation resource. You will find it on most similar lists and for good reason. It is clear, consise and does better than probably any other book at conveying the knowledge and overall essense of animation.
The book includes a short history of animation, the 12 principles, walks, runs, dialogue and much more. Not everything in this book translates well into the 3D though, so just be wary of that. Find it here.

Stop Staring- The art of facial modelling and animation
As you might of realised from the title, this is more of a specialist book focusing on the facial side of animation. It's a 396 page guide on a range of topics including facial animation, lip syncing, facial rigging, facial anatomy and Python scripting. 
It also includes sections on facial modelling, but I have been told by other artists that some of the techniques included are a bit outdated. So maybe look elsewhere for that. Find it here.

                                          How to cheat in Maya/ 3ds Max
Includes step-by-step walkthroughs of essential techniques every animator needs to know. Part of the "How to cheat" series, both these books take you through their respective programs interface and tools, as well as a range of animation techniques including character animation, pose-to-pose blocking, facial animation, fixing gimbal lock and much more. The book also includes free and easy-to-use rigs that would look great on any showreel. A new version comes out every year so be careful which one you buy, as there are a few different versions on amazon at the moment. Find them here and here.

Body Language- Advanced 3D Character Rigging
Apparantly this book was first released in 2007, which might explain the front cover. Put that aside and you will realise that this is a brilliant book for any character TD and despite its age is still one of the most in-depth and worthwhile rigging resources available. It covers basic rigging concepts, IK spline spine setups, custom stretchy FK/IK arms, legs and reverse foot techniques, facial deformation/blendshapes, eye setups and muscle systems. Find it here.

Timing for Animation
First published in 1981, this is an updated version that covers both modern digital production methods and the basic principles that apply to 2D, 3D and stop motion. Includes practical guides for correct spacing and timing in common situations and how to infuse weight, mood and power into your animations. Also covers key techniques like squash and stretch, animated cycles, overlapping and anticipation. Find it here.

Force- Dynamic Life drawing for animators  
Like many on this list, this book will probably benefit 2D animators more, but it is still incredibly helpful to any CG animator. It covers how to create strong forceful poses, line of action and how to use straight and curved lines to show the direction of force in the body. All this helps to create better thumbnails and better animation poses. It is informative, concise, and packed full of inspirational illustrations. It also teaches about human anatomy which is key knowledge for any animator or rigger. Find it here.

                                           Force-Animal Drawing
Another book in the Force series. This is an excellent guide to animal drawing with a specific focus on force, form and shape. It is similar to the previous book, but I personally prefer this book as it explores in greater depth the anatomical side of its subject. It explores in great detail the different types of animal anatomy and how this creates different animal locomotion classes within the animal kingdom. It is fairly detailed  but is supported in great success by a mix of traditional hand-drawn studies, exaggerated observational illustrations and still photographs. Find it here.

                                                     Directing the Story
I wasn't entirely confident about this purchase at first, but this quickly faded once I realised how detailed and in-depth this book truely was. It demonstrates professional visual storytelling techniques, that all animators should learn, in a simple graphic novel style. It is a comprehensive look at the art and craft of storytelling that will benefit animators, storyboard artists and filmmakers alike. Find it here.

Mocap for Artists
Motion capture has now become a prevelent part of animation, especially in Video Games, so it is more important than ever for animators to learn. There aren't many good books out there on the subject, but this seemed the best out of the small amount on offer.  Demo files and tutorials provided on the companion CD deliver first-hand experience with some of the core processes. Find it here.

         Eadweard Muybridge- the human and animal locomotion photographs
This is an 804 page monster of a book that covers the life and work of Muybridge, a pioneer in visual studies of human and animal locomotion. This book is his complete collection of motion studies and is a treat for any animator. It is rather expensive and has actually doubled in price since I bought it, making this more of a luxury than other books on this list. However if you can afford it, definately think about investing in this amazing collection. Find it here.

Friday, 31 January 2014

2014 Updated Animation Showreel

More of an updated reel than a completely new one. Swapped in more of my latest work. A complete shot breakdown can be found below:

0.02s- Pole rip- Crysis 3
0.04s- A Pre-visualisation animation for an upcoming title called Infinity Runner- Wales Interactive
0.12s- Test animations- Crytek internship
0.17s- Personal Work
0.47s- Test animations- Crytek internship
0.56s- Personal work

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Stewart Rig

So I recently started using the Stewart rig as I've wanted to try it out for a while now. It’s the new rig by Animation Mentor and it’s specifically designed for body mechanics, hence why there’s no mouth. As of late I have mostly been animating body mechanic pieces, so this rig sounded right up my alley and I was not disappointed. It’s a brilliant rig and I have been having a lot of fun using it. Here are a couple of quick animations I've done so far:


Most people will know where to get the rig but I'll post the link here anyway just in case. I'll definitely be using this rig again, so expect more in the near future.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

2014 Update

So a lot has happened since my last post. Master reboot made it onto Steam and will soon be out on Wii U and Playstation Network. Its also available on Desura, Greenman Gaming, Gamersgate & Mac Game Store. To purchase Master Reboot on any of these platforms visit the official Wales Interactive Website. The soundtrack and artbook are also now available.

Since Master Reboot has been out I have been working on another title. Its an Infinite Running game with a bit of a twist and it should be out around February. I've put a lot of work into it over the last couple of months and I am looking forward to its release.  Below is a promo image for the game.
As well as that I have also started lecturing part-time at the University of South Wales, on the Computer Animation course. I always thought about going into lecturing eventually and this is a nice little taster early in my career. Its also a lot of fun and the students are great.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Master Reboot- Steam Greenlight

Master Reboot is now on Steam Greenlight and we need your votes. Check it out here and help us get the game on Steam. Below are a selection of our latest screenshots.



Sunday, 12 May 2013

Wales Games Development Show 2013

So this years Welsh games develoment show is right around the corner and as I will be attending again this year I thought I'd cover it. I visited the first show last year which was great fun. It had over 350 visitors, 30 exhibitors and even a Stormtrooper. This years show is set to be bigger and better as it has expanded into the second exhibition hall at the Millenium Center and will feature the inaugural BAFTA Cymru Awards for Games.

The main reason I attended last year was because I'd just recently graduated from University and was eager to break into the games industry. You'd be forgiven for thinking that Wales doesn't really have much of a Games Industry. However what Wales lacks in big companies (e.g like Scotland and Rockstar North), it does make up for with its emerging Indie games scene.

It was great to see games being devoloped locally and gave me hope that Wales could eventually be in a position to take advantage of the talent that our Universities produce each year. Welsh universities have a pedigree for producing talented individuals within this sector, unfortunately most have to look and go elsewhere in order to find a suitible job.

The show is also a brilliant networking opportunity. I gave out a few cards last year and actually managed to secure an interview, which was a nice surprise. The show coincides nicely with the end of the university year therefore this could be an excellent opportunity for recent graduates.

This year's event is sponsored by the Welsh Government  and gives Welsh games and Entertainment companies an excellent platform for their upcoming products. I'll be there representing Wales Interactive, manning some of the desks and exhibiting our latest games. Hopefully all will go well and next years event will be even bigger. To see some of the products and companies that will feature at the show watch the following trailer. Enjoy and I hope to see you there.