How Halflings Happened - Art and Animation

Posted date / 10.11.17

This month, with the reveal of our Halflings and the recent Twitch stream highlighting our latest advancements in technical art, we thought it would be the perfect time to catch up with our Senior Concept Artist, Jared Pullen, to see what he has been up to in the past few weeks and to introduce you to our Animator, Julien Abenhaim.

First up is Jared with a quick recap of his most recent escapades.

Jared: It is an absolute joy to help create Pantheon as a concept artist. After having worked up visual concept treatments for Elven dwellings and other Elven feature structures like the Towers of Faerthale and the S'iolaen Gate, it was time to move on to the Archai, perhaps one of our most unique races in Pantheon. A unique race calls for a unique signature treatment; a visual call out that best depicts both the joyful and pious nature of the Archai people, and in the last 2 weeks I have been detailing dwelling structures and typical Archai vegetation grown from rich crystalline minerals that will be encountered in their home region of Su' Roa.

I've been working up floor plans and architectural views for Archai housing also, building them from the inside out so as to best provide our modeling team with solid blueprints that work to scale and hopefully make their job a straightforward joy at the build phase. All graphic emblems, banners and motif work for the Archai nation are in place also, and it has been a true joy to help bring these wonderful creations, these Archai, to vivid and believable life. Currently work is being carried out to bring their home dwellings to final render in Photoshop, complete with lighting and texture, upon completion of which I'll be moving on to perhaps their most signature structure of all, one of monolithic proportions, the Atahaen order chambers. So many rich aspects of the Pantheon lore to explore, and so onwards we go!"

As with the Halfling design pictured above, Jared has started on the Archai. Click to enlarge

Julien Abenhaim is one of the newer members of our team and has been hard at work breathing life into the colorful cast of characters that inhabit Terminus. We sat down with him recently and got to know him a bit better.

It sounds pretty straight forward, but what does and Animator do?

Julien: 3D Animation starts once the 3D character model is handed off to the animator. From that point on, the animator will manipulate the virtual bones, think of them like real human bones, able to rotate in very specific ways to move in a realistic manner.

Your character is running, slashing, gathering, jumping, dying, dying again, dying yet again (get yourself a healer!) All those movement actions are created by the animator manipulating the bones over a period of time. The process involves posing characters in specific poses which over a timeline of saves poses, transitions to the animations you see on screen.

Can you describe the process a little further?

Julien: The process usually starts with finding references. Let's say I must animate a character slashing with a sword, I look for real world video examples and start to look at tons of references of people using swords to slash. From that point on, I find the key poses, also known as golden poses. Those are the main poses that dictate the action of an animation. Once the key poses are all setup, they are spread over the timeline depending on the length of the animation. From that point on, In-Between poses are put to refine and polish the action to give it more personality and flair. The important thing when you animate for games though, have the animation able to loop on itself (Have the first frame and the last one be the same) since in games, actions are often repeatable and go one into the other.

So that's the life of an animator eh?

Julien: Life of an animator? Watching cartoons, sitting on a bench in a park watching people' No no, really! So much can be learned from watching people and analyzing their movements.

Read On!