Game cinematic/ film animation questions

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Old 07 July 2013   #1
Game cinematic/ film animation questions

I am trying to find some advice or tips about these questions.

Lately i have been watching behind the scenes, from game cinematic like diablo 3, starrcaft 2, iron man 2,3. i notice that, when they show animators work. The characters in the scenes are very low meshes, not really realistic. But on screen, they are really realistic. So how these thins are done. So here are my questions.

After character/creature got sculpted in Zbrush, and got approved from Art Director, or i don't know who give this task. So, you got high poly sculpted character, with armor, accessories, likeness. The next thing come re-toplogy right?

So you now need to do retoplogy the character, so to be ready for rigging and then animation? because this character won't go in-game for now, the polycont doesn't matter, or does matter? How to know how much polygon needs to be rigged friendly? For example Diablo 3 Cinematic trailer. Do you have some information how much polycont the characters were? For example Azmodan?

Now i have retopo character and it is ready to be rigged. But, before get the rigs on it. When the maps with the details from high poly is applied? After the retopo character are rigged or after that?
 
Old 07 July 2013   #2
The details from the hi-res sculpt that aren't in the animation map are stored in a displacement and/or bump map, which gets applied at render time. As for how heavy the animation mesh should be, that's something that really needs to be learned through practice. You need to have enough geometry to support any deformations the animators want to make, but if the mesh is too heavy it'll slow down the animators work.
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Old 07 July 2013   #3
It's fairly common for animators to work with a low-resolution puppet when animating, this puppet rig uses either the base-mesh (or a slightly reduced version of it) and doesn't have any fancy deformers on it - it's designed to give real-time performance when animating.

This puppet rig shares the same skeleton as the deformation rig - which has all the fancy deformers on it and uses the base mesh (or sometimes a level 1-2 subdivided mesh). When the animator is finished animating they bake out a skeleton cache which gets applied to the deformation rig and a geo cache is baked out.

On top of that you have displacement maps which are used to provide further detail to the rendered mesh.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #4
Many 3D apps allow for Linked Groups... the ability to attach both a hi-res and a lo-res model to a single armature rig.
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Old 07 July 2013   #5
All the above techniques are true but i think the original poster seems to be assuming the hirez cinematic geometry used for the Cinematics is the same used for the games somehow?!
Having done such work for several years i can say that this is rarely if ever the case even if the cinematics are done in-house (usually by an exclusive studio). Folks like Blur roll their own.

The assets for a high-end pre-rendered cinematic are usually exclusive to the prerendered cinematic. The game assets are usually little more than ref.
Why have an entire game map loaded if your camera only focuses on one
environment/location for its duration? But that which the camera looks at has to look as sexy as you can make it.

Just not an even swap with the game assets. Priorities are just *way* too different.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #6
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-gNsbL6BmA
Here's the Diablo 3 making off, I think it's worth every minute.

As for the workflow, I think that every single studio (even individuals) have their own workflow. So, if you're doing some stuff alone, or with team, you need to figure out best way that suits you, and it will require trials and errors.
Sure, you can pick up (very useful) stuff from making offs, like the above, and it will definitely save your time.

One last advise I could give you, is that you try to establish as much as possible with 2D images on how your cinematic will look and feel. So, you need a great (drawing, and painting) artist, so you can have animated storyboards, matte paintings, concept drawings, and stuff like that, where you can establish things like color harmony, composition, pacing of cuts.. etc, before you even start 3D app for the first time.
I think Blizzard (which you and I admire so much, have a similar workflow).

Best luck.
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Old 07 July 2013   #7
I have watched making of Diablo 3, couple of times. But what i am searching wasn't mention in the video. they only talked about references.

What are the stages after the sculpting character get approved.

When does maps are applied to low poly model?
When they put the rigs on low poly model, and animators do their job, what coming next?
 
Old 07 July 2013   #8
that's when the magic happens....
 
Old 07 July 2013   #9
Originally Posted by Zerflag: that's when the magic happens....


If you do know please tell me.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #10
honestly, there are a lot of different paths and workflows that could be followed.
are you asking "what does <studio blah blah blah> do in regards to a rigging workflow"?
or are you asking for general ideas of workflows, or do you just want to know if you need to be able to have good topology or is doing a highres zbrush sculpt ok?
 
Old 07 July 2013   #11
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