We spoke to Joshua, Senior Animator at Streamline Studios to find out what it's like working with Streamline and the ins & outs of animation in a AAA game with a global team.
Hi Joshua, as the Senior Animator at Streamline Studios, what sort of tools and software do you prefer to use when working on AAA games and why?
My preferred software for animation is Autodesk Maya, it is one of the best software for animators out there, if not, THE best! It is animator-friendly, and a majority of the companies out there choose to use Maya as well. The other software would be the Unreal Engine. As I began to dive deeper into the software, I realized this piece of tech is a beast!! I came from a VFX/Animated feature film background, and I used to wait for months on end just to see my animation shot rendered. But with Unreal, everything is done in real-time from lighting to visual effects. Not to mention having the locomotion system makes it easier to see your animated cycle in-game, in REAL-TIME!
How do you determine what animations take priority over others, particularly in a combat scenario?
Hmm...this is tricky, I don't think there is any animation that takes priority over another, but in terms of the animation process, the flow and energy of the action must be the top priority.
Depending on the genre or style of the direction of the game, are the animators allowed creative freedom or are you restricted?
That depends on individual projects. For some games, you are given the luxury to design the movements and timing based on a certain guideline or style, but in other cases where the Director/Game Designers has a clear vision of what he/she wants, we deliver the animations according to the required timing and movement.
What is the most important thing you need for an animation team to successfully work together?
Communication is 100% key in any team. Secondly, is to respect your teammate’s opinions and hear them out. There is this quote I got from a movie "Although all people have a different status in life, I don't believe that one person's integrity is worth more than the other." - IP Man 2. In short, every artist has a different status in their art career, whether it be a senior or a junior, but that does not make another artist's integrity worth more than another.
Looking back at all the games/projects you've worked on, what has been your proudest moment or accomplishment?
My proudest moment or accomplishment is when I see my name appear on the big screen or in the game credits (which I'm guilty of skipping). The second proudest moment was entering the games industry. It was a challenge to transition over, but I'm proud of myself for doing so as the industry is so much more than just games.
Are you working on any projects that you can talk about publicly? If so, can you elaborate on what those projects are, and when can we expect to hear more about them?
I'm currently working on an internal cinematics project but unfortunately, I can't talk more about the details of the project yet.
Do you have any advice for aspiring animators who wish to join the video games industry?
I would advise aspiring animators to not compare themselves to other animators. It is good to look someone up, but bear in mind that everyone has their own art journey. Some may improve at a fast rate, while others may not. Don't let that discourage you. Keep at your own pace, and you will eventually reach your goal. In short, the industry is tough. If you see yourself doing what you love and doing it for a long time, don't give up. You will eventually get to where you want to be.
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