I worked on Space Team whilst studying abroad in Copenhagen at EUCROMA; an academy specialising in the development of cross-media products. I was assigned to Space Team, a project centred around the storyworld of the Marmor galaxy and the adventures of Ali and Alex, an intergalactic space princess and a highly intelligent human.
As lead animator for a pool of 6 animators, I was responsible for the output of the animations for an animated short and game. This included:
- Liasing with the Design team to ensure realistic targets for the Production team
- Setting up pipeline procedures such as naming conventions and asset standards with the Modeling, Rigging, UI and Programming leads
- Managing and assigning work to animators through asset breakdowns and time estimations
- Captaining Scrum meetings and task tracking
- Animating scenes through traditional hand-keys
- Setting up and running a Motion Capture session, including acting in the suit, and cleaning up the exported motion capture
- Exporting animations for Rendering or bringing them into Unity and hooking them up to the animation controller
The Animated Short
When Alex secretly follows his classmate Ali after school, he inadvertently enters her spaceship and embarks on a series of adventures across the Marmor Galaxy. This short film was a trailer for a tv series.
Pocket Planets is a planet tamagotchi style game for tablets set in the Marmor galaxy. Each planet has its own unique set of items, inhabitants and animations reflecting the theme. By farming food and providing housing and other items, the player tends to the inhabitants needs in order to make them happy, which in turn unlocks new planets.
For the animation, I decided to use Motion Capture (Arena & Motion Builder) for a number of reasons:
- The models we were working with had no facial and minimal hand animation, which matched our capture set-up
- Myself and another animator wanted to learn the Motion Capture pipeline
- With only two of us available to work on the game animation cycles, I knew we would be able to produce more content if we followed a Motion Capture path
The video below contains all the motion-captured animation that features in Space Team: Pocket Planets and a couple of initial tests. Each ‘inhabitant’ had nine cycles: a walk, idle and celebration when sad, neutral and happy.
Apart from five cycles of the candy bear, all animation are my own work. I was also the actor in the mo-cap suit for the candy bear and tropical flower.
In addition to the inhabitants animations (apart from the houses) all environment assets had an idle state and a unique animation when clicked on. Alongside another animator, we designed and animated the environment together and hooked them up inside Unity.