As a follow-up to last week’s episode, here are a few resources that might help with improving your animations on your projects. None of us at Blue Tengu are experts on the subject, so we’re doing our best to heed some of the expert advice from these pages as we move forward with Project Spaghetti.
Some advice from game animators Paul Robertson and Jonathan Kim, care of this Gamasutra article
1) Push it to the limit
- Make ridiculous or interesting animations to make your game stand out.
2) Make everything feel alive
- Make things bouncy and energetic (blinking, breathing, etc.) to bring life to the characters.
3) Create strong key frames and silhouettes
- If you make sure the animation works even with only one color, then you’re safely conveying information to the player. You also want to ensure the key frames you choose are striking.
4) Limit your frames
- Don’t compensate by adding frames, let key points do the work.
5) Don’t fret over craft
- Don’t get hung up on perfection and technical details, make something that feels right. (a relief to hear this advice, because we’re far from perfect!)
Manning Krull’s detailed guide to 2 frame, 4 frame, and 8 frame walking animation, with fantastic advice on when it’s appropriate to use each style.
And finally, a video inspired by the classic animator’s friend, Disney – The Illusion of Life
1) Show what the character is about to do before they do it
- This can be tricky for games because “more animated” characters can lead to less responsive gameplay. Too much animation can lead to “stickiness”, and, depending on your game, users may or may not tolerate it. There can also be cultural differences, for example, gamers in Japan tend to be more forgiving of “sticky” animation, while in the West, especially for people who grew up on PC games, even a frame of warm-up animation can ruin a game.
2) For 2D animation, work with silhouettes
- Using silhouettes is the easiest way to tell whether or not you’re clearly conveying what your character is doing. Strong silhouettes are a sign of strong animation.
3) Slow in, slow out
- Only machines move at regular rates and precise angles, humans and animals start an action slow, speed up as the action peaks, and finish it slow.
4) Unbalance is natural
- Perfectly symmetrical imagery is unnatural, even if it’s easier to draw.