Here is a look at a few sequences I directed on Medal Of Honor 2012 single player story.
The process started with Pre-visualization of sequences from words on paper. (Previz)
Previz is a crude hand keyed animation that demonstrates the basic structure and tone of a scene.
At that point the basic plan for Layout, Camera, and Mocap Actor Direction was worked out.
For me, pre-viz is the only way to go. Even if you change the plan down the line, you need the first foundation to stand on.
To get the game production to move along smoothly, the previz (even if crude) is integrated to the game so designers, producers, and everyone else involved can have a basic understanding of intent and flow.
Many story, set, and gameplay problems are worked out at this rough and simple level. This is also where animation and engineering work together. Our engineers (Paul O’hanian, Torin Kampa, and Bobby Wilkinson) where the key to adding the necessary tools to frostbite in order to have cinematics like this. (Note that Battlefield and other frost bite titles to this point did have sequences quite like those I’m showing here) These engineers were making the impossible possible for us in the animation/story department.
Once we knew what we were going to make, we were ready to shoot mocap data.
I directed the shoot at Digital Domain along with my two lead animators. (Brian Wyser and Jen Cha)
We worked together over the days/weeks of the shoot to drive toward the best results possible.
As the data comes back we combine hand keyed sequences with mocap performance sequences (and a great deal of mocap clean up) to create the scenes needed to tell the story.
We drove to final quality with a system of daily reviews where the two lead animators and I met and went over the work of our in house animation team. As scenes become available and worthy, we applied the newer versions to the game.
Though Animation Director, I did not just become a talking head. I handled many assignments and fixes on this project myself. My direct work is in nearly every scene.
There were over a hundred sequences... they ranged from epic fifty shot dramatic scenes, to single shots as simple as a man checking his watch.
All the scenes I was responsible for were scenes that played in the game, meaning they ran real time in the frostbite engine.
These were not pre rendered movies and were there for bound by limitations of game engine memory.
I’ve shown 4 scenes as examples, but to remove the problem of game quality lighting, textures, and compressed animation, I’ve blended in the grey Maya movies, so the quality of the actual animation may be more easily seen. (Sort of a behind the scenes look)
Some technical notes:
Face Rig "BRIG" & "Rumble Cam" Camera Rig
Created By Robert Coddington
"Rumble Cam" is a camera rig in Maya where I added wave, shake, and jitter sliders in order to easily create warm looking camera motion very quickly. I love it when people ask about my process for mocap cameras because all my scenes feature hand keyed camera work on the "Rumble Cam" rig.
Face Brig is a layered facial animation system with look through cameras and key-able automated eye noise. I designed it to be an intuitive way for hand key animators to use or enhance performance capture facial data with less frustration. This face rig and camera rig that I created was used on Medal Of Honor (2012) and Army Of 2 (2013)
If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact me.
Here is a linked in url: