This week I will be discussing different kinds of walk cycles we made for the main character for our game ADA – Automated Discovery Android. Whilst the character is not humanoid, it has many humanoid elements, and a rig that in a lot of ways is far more complex than a standard biped rig.
One of the major considerations for this character and rig, were to make it as animated and filled with personality as possible. The rig consists of 72 bones in total, with 27 controllers. In a rig of this complexity, a lot of the bones are simply used as constraints, or in conjunction with other bones for example in Inverse Kinematic setups. As such, not having a good controller system for the actual animation phase, would make life very difficult.
The rig consists of many similar controllers you would see in a standard humanoid, such as hips, ears, and a body controller to lift and drop the body as the robot moves. These were specifically designed into the concept; realistically a robot does not need to move its hips as it moves, nor does its body need to lift and drop with footsteps, but it adds a great deal of character, personality and most importantly sass.
In terms of reference, most of ADA’s design and movement was created uniquely through the creation process itself, inspiration however was drawn from certain cartoons, namely Adventure Time. Our colour palette especially was created with the idea of a bright cartoon aesthetic, and it was important that we were able to recreate bombastic over the top animations such as bendy stretchy arms for example.
An example of this in practice can be seen below.
Actually animating this character, especially in the arms can prove problematic. The arms are very complex, but moreover it is difficult to recreate a natural look to rope like arms moving. To create this look in the second animation, it was necessary for us to draw a sine wave to follow and animate the arm along; this is a bit of a tedious process, but really the only way of getting this sort of look and feel.