Meet Andrew H.! He loves animation, graphics, and comic books, so as part of Game-U’s New Jersey Accelerate program, he and instructor Jessica explored the foundations of animation. Together, they taught a robot to walk!
There’s a lot that goes into digital animations, even the so-called simple ones, so animators like Andrew learn digital movement the way humans learn physical movement – they start at the beginning! Jessica introduced Andrew to Maya, the professional animation and modeling software, by showing him basic 3D navigation as well as some of Maya’s more important tools. After learning about how to create a basic walk cycle (a series of graduated movements that loops to create a continuous animation) from an example, Andrew tackled his own version. He started with a premade, rigged robot model, which came equipped with digital “strings” and joints that allow the computer to control the robot’s moveable pieces. With Jessica’s help, Andrew attached the standard Walk Cycle positions – Contact, Recoil, Passing, and High Point – to the robot’s rig. Maya’s timeline tool also let Andrew determine the arrangement and duration of each position, so that when the cycle plays, viewers see a lively, realistic walk. Animation complete! Thanks to Andrew, this is one robot with a spring in his step.
What a great start on an exciting skill, Andrew! Thanks for sharing your first animation project with us. Keep up the good work, and you’ll find yourself modeling and animating even more cool assets in lessons to come. Welcome to the world of game design!