DRS stage 2 entry - Alex McCunn

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Nickelodeon Studios

The process began with an intent to improve and build upon the stage 1 entry by taking what I learned and expanding on it. Stage 2 required that a character be animated and have several different states from idle to cool down. I went down the route of a traditional fighting style combined with the effects and flare of an element taking heavy influence from the Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra television series. Going from a combat ready stance, to powering up in a centered and concentrated manner, then a powerful release and a cooldown to restablalise themselves, the animation sequence would clearly demonstrate my ability to transition between the states and make them flow into each other.

I then began the development by storyboarding the sequences in ToonBoom Harmony to help me understand the weight distribution and speed of the actions. I referenced Kung Fu sparing moves for the actions and unreal tutorials for creating the effects on YouTube.

Through multiple attempts and revisions trying to export the animations into a game engine as was required by the brief and failing, I looked to solutions like using a character rig that works in Unreal already but the controls for animating were rudimentary at best compared to Maya and proved to be difficult to work with. Trying new rigs, sending different elements to unreal and unity and sourcing numerous tutorials I still found that any of my attempts at making the animations work in a game engine were futile. This small part of the process that I had difficulty with I soon learned that I was going to be taught by my lecturers how to do it by the end of the semester which would eventually solve the issue but would not be done in time for entry to be submitted. that being said, the effort and willingness to learn about the process gave me the chance to experiment and test my ideas as much as possible and go above and beyond the expected research and development required for this stage of the competition.

If I had prior knowledge on the subject of exporting animations for games I would have submitted the work for stage 2 without issue, but having this brought to my attention will allow me to focus on this particular area in which I can improve upon for my work and future employment.

Video References

  1. Tai Chi for Beginners - TaiChiHealthProducts
  2. Avatar The Last airbender - Creating the legend

Programs used

  •  Autodesk Maya

  • ToonBoom Harmony

  • Unreal Engine

  • Adobe Photoshop


Rig testing and experimenting

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Rig References