Apart from making super-simple flash ads through my job as a Graphic Designer, I have pretty much never animated a thing before. We had a couple of lessons when I went to the art academy, but nothing advanced. So… I´m expecting a pretty steep learning curve. I will make all the graphic material for our game, which involves a lot of moving objects.
After playing around in Adobe after effects for a little while now, I have come to realize that I not only have to learn how to animate, but I will also have to do some serious research on how different things move. For example: I tried to make a crate fall from the sky (because sometimes crates do that.) Sounds pretty simple. But then I had to figure out how fast it should fall, how hard it should hit the ground, the impact sending the crate back up again, and how fast it then would fall back down again. The game engine we choose will probably do a lot of this work for us, but it´s still practical for me to know how it works.
For now I´m using Adobe After Effects. I don´t know if that´s the best way to go around animating for games, but it´s a program I´m fairly familiar with. After animating your clip, it also allows you to export your movie into an png-sequence. Then you get all of the still-frames in separate image files. I can use this later to make sprites for the game.
I could of course hand-draw each frame to get a more dynamic look to it, but since Edgar is a robot made out of solid pieces connected with joints, I get a more realistic robot-animation by just moving and turning his joints as they are.
Anyhow: Edgar is alive! Look at him go! The animations need some polishing, and I have to work a bit with the timing of things. Like how fast the wheel is gonna turn, and how his joints will move. Still… I´m just happy to see him moving!
And: If anybody has any advice on how to make good sprite-sheets, and what kind of tools to use. Let me know!
This was the first animation I ever made of Edgar. It´s a rough test to see how he will function in an environment with different elements. I used the puppet-tool in After effects, which is stretching him like he´s made of rubber. The examples above, where I don´t stretch the joints, works better. The sound effects are hilarious! Just free samples I grabbed from looperman. And the jumping-animation is way off. He needs more power in his jump to go that high.