At V1 Interactive, I was the Animation Lead where I established animation/cinematic/mocap pipelines with the Technical Art Lead, Micah Zahm, and researched workflows for the animation team. In addition, I was also responsible for prototyping animation gameplay systems with the Technical Design Director, Joe Arroyo, along with scheduling and giving feedback as needed to my team and cinematic outsource.
Being at a small studio, I was given the rare opportunity to help build the animation team and wear a lot of hats. I, and the other animator, Matt Lefferts, animated all our gameplay characters, each of us owning whole animation sets for characters. The majority of the gameplay animations were hand animated with a small percentage based on mocap. We also were responsible for the implementation of our animations (i.e. animation blueprints) in UE4. Additionally, we shot and acted in ALL our 27 cinematics with the Cinematics Director, Lee Wilson. This was done in-house using our Vicon mocap system (that I researched for our studio).
Our in-house mocap system was integral for a small animation team. We relied on it heavily for cinematics, but we used it for menu animations and a few gameplay animations to expedite content authoring.
We got to animate a handful of cinematics, while giving the lion’s share to outsource. The last 6 months, we hired our last animator, making it a team of 3 animators (including myself) to finish out the project.
For those interested, here are some mocap progress reels of the 2 cinematics I worked on.
Because of our space limitations (we also shared the room with our IT guy and servers), we could only shoot 3 people at most at a time. It posed a challenge for have a story that had sometimes 7 characters at a time on screen. Thanks to Lee, there was a lot of careful planning and intentional writing to help reduce the need for large scale shoots.
I am still in awe how our team created such a complex game with just 30 people. What I loved about working at V1 were these people, so without further ado, here are some quick credits for those who worked directly with animation:
- Matt Lefferts: senior animator who owned the other half of gameplay animation: first person weapons and vehicle animations, and animated a handful of characters and cinematics
- Melissa Chan: our contract animator while I was on maternity leave, helped with mocap shoots for cinematics and a handful of gameplay anims
- Autumn Palfenier: our 3rd animator we hired on to finish out Disintegration, worked on cinematics
- Micah Zahm: made all the rigging and animation tools we needed for Maya/MoBu/UE4, also helped shoot mocap
- Lee Wilson: responsible for story, cinematography, staging, lighting
- Marcus Lehto: game direction, lighting, environment, VFX
- Jack Menhorn: sound for EVERYTHING
- Joe Arroyo: the engineer responsible for all our animation/AI gameplay systems
- Scott Shepard: character models (cinematics, MP crews)
- Raj Nattam: weapons and vehicles models
- Julia Li: modeled the Tank/602 and WMD
- Aaron de Leon: modeled the Thunderhead
- Jon Everist: music composer who created all the music for our game (which I used in all the reels on this page)