3d Character Animation for Games and VFX

by Jan 8, 2016Body

3d Character Animation

Fundamentally, 3d character animation differs from simple 3d animation of objects because a 3d character is an entity whose limbs or parts need to be animated in sequence that resembles the movement of living things around us. When limbs don't move in a humanly recognisable sequence, humans get scared. The way this works is by creating keyframes at different object positions. Objects move from one position to another through these keyframes.

The way 3d Characters move in both VFX and Games is through animation of different Creature FX effects layers: Joints, Blendshapes, Body Dynamics FX. But, as joints are the fundamental layer of every creature rig, their rotation and translation animated through time dictates which position the animated character moves to.

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Animation Software

Some of the animation software people in the visual effects and games industry use is mostly created by Autodesk company. Maya, 3D Studio Max, Motion Builder. But, as technology progresses other companies have started taking market share from Autodesk, including open-source projects like Blender.

With that said, what we are mostly interested in is software which can be used for character animation. The software must also be able to easily export and import different file formats like FBX and Alembic.

File exchange is becoming more and more important for animation, mostly because there are so many aspects to creating complex sets of Creature FX which other softare may be much better at handling than a generic 3D application like Maya.


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Animation in Games

Animation in games is created somewhat differently. Particularly through the use of Animation Controllers, logical control units which are able to mix different states of animations.

This type of animation is not pre-planned, but created through the use of Motion Capture data, which may be acquired with by using a few different MoCap systems.

There are a few types of such systems on the market: Optical and kinetic. Optical Mocap is captured through multiples of cameras and kinetic ones are captured by placing accelerometer sensors on the body of a stunt double who is performing for animation.


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Best Regards,

Ruslan Vasylev

Ruslan Vasylev



Professional 3D Modeler with 17 years of combined VFX and Games experience, managing Vancouver-based 3D Scanning Studio,

Servicing Visual Effects for Film, Television, Games and Virtual Reality production studios.