The animation cycle of a wing span

Aka. H***.



The though process behind this stale monstrosity was quite simple – effiency and modability. To explain further: Being the sole artist for the team I need to create a lot of assets and templates for said assets at a relativly high speed so that I won’t lag behind our programmer. Doing the animation properly, frame by frame, would almost be a week in itself. In an attempt to save my sanity I decided to create a semi-smooth wing cycle, which I added onto the body of the creature itself. I also decided to animate the tail seperatly from it to give it a bit more life. Effectivly cutting the workload from around 15 hours to 6 hours.

It still looks a bit stale however – servicable and not nearly as noticiable from a distance. However when I animated it I left myself some ways to modify it without needing to redo all of the work already done. The two easier ones is to add more colours, shading and texture to make it look less flat and adjust parts of the wing in each frame individually since the groundwork is already done. I know I’m not totally finished with it so colour will definitly be added later on.

The more difficult ways to make it more lively is to cut off the tail and reattach it at different angles and drawing to fill in the gaps. Since there’s a large space between the main body and the tail, this can be done without affecting the rest of the slug all too much. Another way to make it alive is too animate the mouth. Since one of the most jarring things for me personally when I look at it is how different the levels of movement is between the right and the left side. Again however, since the face (mouth + eyes) is about 1/5 or 1/6 of the actual creature, it’s once again easier to change without affecting all of it. And as I said, the body should preferebly be held in this position to save myself a huge head-ache, but who knows. This might also blow up terribly in my face down the line.

The workprocess is a mix between laziness, efficiency and “expirimenting” with photohop. It involved swearing, copy/pastying the wings and body between multiple frames on seperate videolayers. A lot of it became an automated work cycle between the wings and body in both “animating” and colouring it where I did the same thing over and over again. The tail part was animated seperatly between each frame and it was a nice way of trying to get used to following form and being consistent. Both of which I failed really.

The things I could improve upon, if I’m still using the same mindset, is the texturing and colouring of the Sky Slug, letting the tail be a bit more exaggerated so that it can really show the movement of the slug and not look as awkward. I should also have planned everything a bit better beforehand. Something I feel like I need to work on a lot.


2 thoughts on “The animation cycle of a wing span

  1. Thank you for this insight on your unique workflow of creating the animation cycle of your sky slug. You clearly communicate to the reader what struggles you have had while working on this challenge and how you faced them. Since this is the first entry on your blog, I would personally have loved to hear a small introduction on what game you are working on and why you chose the design of the slug that you present and what role it plays during the game. I assume it’s Aetherial and an enemy character, but for other people not familiar with the concept it would arguably be a huge benefit and result in a better understanding to shortly introduce the background. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading your post and especially the reflection on what issue you have had and what your plans for the future regarding this animation are, which I consider very valuable. While you explain what goals you have had for yourself for this project (efficiency and modability(?)), it would be very interesting to know for future animations what type of reactions you want to evoke with your animations from a player’s perspective and how you translated that into your animation process.

    Thank you again for the good read and best of luck for the rest of the project!


Comments are closed.