Remember Jordan? He works with instructor Jess as part of Game-U’s New Jersey Accelerate program. To move even closer to his goal of becoming a professional game developer, Jordan recently branched into animation. Check out his dancing robot!
Jordan’s already into 3D modeling as a way to design, build, and market his own static digital assets to other game developers. But 3D assets don’t have to be static! With help from instructor Jess, Jordan explored Maya, the professional modeling and animation software, to begin creating dynamic assets. He used the default Buckid rig to get started. What’s a rig? Think of it as a digital replica of joints and musculature. The rig attaches to key parts (joints) of a model and creates connections between related parts. For instance, when a humanoid rig’s hips move, its legs, back, and feet adjust accordingly, just like a human body would. Jessica showed Jordan how to use the rig to set up a simple walk animation cycle, and encouraged him to study his own movements to better break down complex cycles into step-by-step actions. Jordan saved his completed walk cycle as the basis for a much more ambitious project: a dance routine!
Jordan began his dance routine by picking the soundtrack he wanted the robot model to dance to. His choice? Stayin’ Alive, by the Bee Gees! He played it several times to get a feel for the song’s beat before he planned the animation’s choreography. Then he broke up the routine into individual keyframes that specify particular movements, like a foot raise, a knee bend, or a hip wiggle. Jordan arranged these keyframes into the correct sequence, with carefully timed durations, to keep the robot dancing in time to the beat. Some trial and error came into play here as Jordan tweaked the placement of different keyframes and added extra movements into the routine. As a finishing touch, Jordan added in the music itself and set the animation on a loop. His robot now swings its hips, nods it head, waves its arm, and taps it foot to rock out to the music!
Great job, Jordan! This project shows off your knack for animation. We’re excited to see you learn something new and continue to build up your portfolio! Let us know what else you’re up to as you explore game development and all the skills that go with it.