Using game technology for non-game animation

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  09 September 2012
Using game technology for non-game animation

Recently I've seen some incredible real-time renders from game engines. I'm not a gamer and have never worked on a game, but am exploring the the idea of learning to author in one of the game engines to use as a renderer. I've looked at great examples from Unity, Crysis and sourceFilmmaker (Valve). The environments are great and it looks like animating is an order of magnitude faster than a 3D app, but in most of the examples I've seen the facial animation still looks pretty stiff - not enough resolution in the faces for subtlety (with the exception of this proprietary solution).
I don't know what the workflow would look like, but it seems that one could use a game engine for environment/rendering and import facial animation (or other subtle types of animation) either onto a character in the game engine or using a export tool like alembic.
Alternatively, I see that Maya is also evolving to take advantage of this technology.
I'm curious what insights other might share and any tools/recommendations for how to approach this?

If animation couldn't change the world, it wouldn't be such a Micky-Mouse place.
  09 September 2012
Seems like a good idea. I see rendered content being replaced by real time in the near future. Game engines are already being used for Previsualization. Considering the Crisis engine is one of the best looking out there, and available for free, I'd take a look into how to utilize the tools. Unity is getting better and better, and if your concerned about multi-platform, then I'd brush up on it as well. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if all the free tools go for browser/mobile/console in the next couple of years.

some more eye candy:

Non proprietary toolsets used by both VFX and game artist are essentially the same. It certainly makes sense that viewport evolution is a priority to Autodesk and third pary developers.
  09 September 2012
Also interested in this.
I feel a promising approach could be Crytek:

However, I am unsure who much this could cost. If I think about a game studio is buying a license for a game (what will this cost? 1.000.000$ ??) and pay a fee for every sold game, so how much would a engine cost for a movie or commercial?

However, I believe there a much projects out there which could be done with a real time engine.
  09 September 2012
Maybe go with Unreal Development Kit then?
It's free to use - even commercially. But you will have to pay license costs if you earn more than 50 000 USD from anything you create with it... or something like that. That might be worth looking up?
Nightshade UV Editor (script for Maya) - Extends Maya's default UV Texture Editor with additional tools.
  09 September 2012
You could give a try to Machstudio Pro 2.0. You can get it for free at It uses the gpu for rendering but it only have plugins for maya 2010-2011 I guess. And is now defunct. So you wont get any help or tutorials.
  09 September 2012
New tutorial for Maya to UDK.
If animation couldn't change the world, it wouldn't be such a Micky-Mouse place.
  09 September 2012
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