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BUILD | MIDDLEWARE // ANIMATION Bring animations to life


Ensuring seamless animations to your game characters is essential to creating an immersive experience. Craig Chapple has put together a guide of 12 tools to help you create the most believable character movements


MORPHEME WITH EUPHORIA Company: NaturalMotion www.naturalmotion.com/ middleware/euphoria


MORPHEME WITH EUPHORIA allows developers to create characters that can accurately react to obstacles in the game environment. Morpheme is an animation engine and tool-chain for character animation, providing tools for marking up and organising data. Euphoria is a runtime tech that builds on this by dynamically generating character motion at runtime, enabling them to interact with other characters and the environment around them.


HUMANIK Company: Autodesk area.autodesk.com


HUMANIK CAN BE used for creating real-time character animation for games. The software features a full body inverse kinematics system and real-time retargeting technology to enable characters to interact realistically with and procedurally adapt to game environments and other characters in real-time. The latest release introduces a


Creature Solver, a modular solver that enables IK computation on non- human characters with multiple limbs, tentacles, antennae or mandibles.


FUSE


Company: Mixamo www.mixamo.com/fuse


FUSE IS PART of Mixamo’s end-to-end character creation tool suite, allowing developers to create 3D characters from a library of body parts. In total, the suite features more than 60 body parts, 90 pieces of clothing and 25 smart texture substances, powered by Allegorithmic’s Substance. Characters created using Fuse can be exported as OBJ files or uploaded to Mixamo’s online 3D character rigging and animation tools. All models created within the tool can be used royalty-free by the developer.


MODO 801 Company: The Foundry


www.thefoundry.co.uk/products/ modo


MODO 801 IS the latest version of the animation, 3D modelling, sculpting and effects and rendering toolset. New additions to the animation workflow of the tool include time markers and onion skinning. Animators can also load standard mo-cap formats or transfer existing Modo character animation using the retargeting toolset. Rigging has also been updated to include new Wrap Lattice and Bezier Deformers, enabling animation on hi-res objects.


HAVOK ANIMATION STUDIO Company: Havok www.havok.com


FORMERLY KNOWN AS Havok Behaviour and Havok Animation, the Havok Animation Studio provides tools and runtime SDKs for character animation. The tech can be integrated into the Physics tool for ragdoll driving, blending and mixing. Features include the ability to manage animation quality, quantity and speed with a number of popular codecs, and enables developers to re-purpose existing content from one character to another with runtime retargeting and mirroring.


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IKINEMA RUNTIME Company: Ikinema www.ikinema.com


IKINEMA RUNTIME IS a full-body inverse kinematics software that can be harnessed to create real-time animation during gameplay on any fantasy creature or human. The technology can be used to reduce animation load on blend trees by animating the characters using full-body IK in the game. The SDK works as part of established animation pipelines, providing a full-body rig that can be used to quickly and efficiently animate any characters in your game.


EMOTION FX 4 Company: Mystic Game Development www.mysticgd.com


EMOTION FX OFFERS a real-time, cross-platform character animation software development kit that can be plugged into any 3D engine, game or other applicable product. The fourth iteration contains a fully artist-focused editor to set up complex character behaviour, with extensions of the API to handle the extra functionality from the previous version of the tool. Other functions also enable devs to add more details and expression to character, including lookat and IK.


SPINE


Company: Esoteric Software www.esotericsoftware.com


ESOTERIC SOFTWARE’S SPINE animation tool is designed specifically for 2D games.


The tool works by attaching images to bones and then animating them, which it claims has numerous benefits over frame-by-frame animation, including smaller files sizes, fewer required art assets and a smoother animation frame-rate.


Features include a dopesheet providing a detailed view of all the timelines that make up an animation, meshes and free-form deformation.


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