Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mo-cap vs The real kind (3D animation)

So the people at EA Canada are doing these "meet the characters" shorts for their game Facebreaker. I think they were excited by the ones that Valve is doing for their Team Fortress 2 characters and wanted to make their own. Unfortunately there is a huuuuge difference in the quality of the 2 company's shorts. I think the worst thing Facebreaker has going on are the characters themselves. They are all just kind of boring, one dimensional, simple, overdone stereotypes (among the black characters there's a DJ, a "bad ass" and a voo doo preist "quite complex, he comes from Africa"..eh). Beyond the dumb premise of an audition, the writing is aweful. A failed attempt at candid moments that don't work because the actors (both voice and in the mo-cap suit) are trying soo hard to fake those moments and reinforce the stereotypes.
Here's one of EA's new spots

Now Valve, next the more appealing character designs, the better looking lighting and textures, and terrific animation, their writing is great. It's genuinely funny. Rather than trying to force the characters to try and be funny, or to make fun of them, they gave them natural personalities that just ARE funny.

Demo Man


But I should talk about why i hate mo-cap. Can you see in the Facebreker video that the Russian guy and the fan-boy move like a skinny guy in a costume? Those are big guys. their arms, and fan-boy's gut, should have more weight to them. Nothing new or insightfull on the subject, i know, but these videos and the Soul Calibur IV endings that gametrailers has been posting are just perfect examples of how bad mo-cap can completely take you out of an animated scene. It's the difference between watching the Incredibles versus watchning the old Power Rangers episodes. It's the Difference between watching Steve (the fan-boy) take a puff from his imaginary asthma inhaler and the demo man's salute before he blows everyone up. The Difference between Moltov's spastic last laugh and line of dialouge, and the sniper checking his blind spot and using his blinker.

I don't know why I'm talking about this. I think it's just getting to me because I want to see more things like Valve's Meet the Team series (I want to meet the pyro) and I want to do something like that for the game I'm working on, but i don't want it to end up like Facebreaker. And I don't want other companies to do it unless they're going to do it right.

(also, i know i said I wouldn't post again until i had awesome animation to show off, but this was bugging me. plus, those Valve things ARE awesome animations. And i'm almost done with some animation of my own, so next time, for sure, you'll see some animation from me.)