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WildStar Wednesday: Metal Maw - Birth Cycle

Written by Loic "Atreid" Claveau on March 07, 2012

Hello again!

We went back to Seth Kendall, our Senior Animator at Carbine Studios who, this time, drove us through the process of the Birth Cycle animation, so read on for more!


As promised in our last update, for this post we're going to show Metal Maw doing something a bit more dramatic. We call this a "birth animation", because it is the animation that plays when the creature is spawned in by the game. Most creatures and objects have a fairly quick and simple birth animation; however, because Metal Maw is a boss, we want his entrance to be distinct and dramatic.

Something to note, because it will be much more obvious with actual effects: When our fans designed Metal Maw, he was created with rocket boosters attached to his legs. In the future, the effects team will add those effects to his birth animation as he flies into the scene. But that's for a future Metal Maw update.

Step 1 - Blocking

As I mentioned before, Metal Maw will need to fly out of a large hole in the ground before landing and preparing to fight. So, I laid in some poses to help define where he will go, and the pacing at which he will move.

Step 2 - Continual Polish

Because this is not a simple looping animation, and more of a performance, the layered animation becomes a much smaller part of the process. Moving an animation like this from blocking to completion is more about filling in the missing poses, refining the timing and the action, working on weight shifts, and just continually refining the weakest parts until it reaches an acceptable level.

As you can see, changes were introduced in the polish phase of the animation process. I decided to make his gun start completely retracted, and let the opening up be part of his intimidation move. The poses at the end of the animation changed, and the timing of his tail movements sped up.

As a last step, I threw in a quick, placeholder leg rocket effect, and worked up a camera that shows him a bit more up close and personal.

Metal Maw has a few more stops before he's considered complete, but we're interested in hearing what you think. Be sure to check out our Facebook site for more discussion on Metal Maw's progress.

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