For ACIII however we wished to step it up a notch and hire stunt actors. Throughout the project, we retained the actors used in the Target Game Footage. Ken Tran had the weight and power of the Assassin, while Stephane Julien could sell the impact of a hit so made an excellent Redcoat. The benefits of using stuntmen became immediately apparent; crazy moves, creativity and the animators didn’t have to fall 100 times in a day. Rehearsals allowed for experimentation without blowing our budgets on the days of shooting.
Fight Mocap Process
In looking at the below video, one can see that we still don’t care about timing, opting to cut up a take and reshuffle actors’ positions and timing. It is the animators responsibility to decide exactly what he or she needs from each mocap session and then reassemble the single action from the component parts. In general, every take is sped up 15% as a starting point, and at every stage animators exaggerate and “plus” every movement, make poses more dynamic, and adjust timing to give attacks more impact and feel faster in the player’s hands.
There were just over 30 shoots for whole game, with an average of 70 takes done in a day. Over the course of three years this makes for a lot of animations, so the team generally met once a week for animation critiques – showcasing only actions they want feedback on. Critiques are learning-focused and leverage the knowledge of all animators in the room. This process is highly recommended, and I strongly suggest showing animation not as videos, but via Autodesk’s FBX Converter which can quickly and easily be installed in any meeting room. This enables deconstruction of the live file from all angles – essential for ingame animation.