You might think character animation for video games and animation or movies are really the same thing. That's a fairly common misconception. Even though the same tools and principles of animation apply to both mediums, the processes and techniques actually differ significantly between the two. This workflow and learning path will give you a strong understanding of how creating animations for movies and animation or games are different, and what you need to know if you want to pursue a successful career as a character animator.
STORY AND LOOK DEVELOPMENT
One of the most unique and common forms of art on the Internet these days is called concept art. Concept art is a form of illustration where the main goal is to convey a visual representation of a design, idea, and/or mood for use in movies, video games, animation before it is put into the final product.
3D CHARACTER DETAILING
Texturing is the process of adding a surface colour and texture to the 3D models, making them recognisable and now near completion. This is where metal objects are given their shine, and humans are given their skin like textures.
Animators add the movement to rigged models and are responsible for much of the physical realism of CGI. Animators will often test rigs and attempt to “break” them, sending them back to the rigging department for refinement until perfection.
3D MODELLING AND TEXTURING
One of the most extensive and crucial aspects of CGI is 3D Modelling. This process actually occurs throughout all three stages of production, with iterations of varying detail being created for varying purposes. For instance, pre-visualization only requires low-detail representations of the final product. Depending on the importance of a given digital prop, it could be comprised of anywhere from hundreds to millions of polygons.
Rigging is what enables 3D models (such as characters and vehicles) to move. A 3D model of, say, an animal, is initially static, but once rigged, its limbs and body can be adjusted and given motion.
Realistic movement, especially of existing creatures and machines, is highly dependent on proper rigging.
2D / 3D VFX
Explosions, water, and smoke are all simulation-based effects that come to fruition here. Polishing effects (ranging from lens flares to fake cigarette smoke) are added over the existing scene, at which point the final product starts to become vaguely visible.