Soul Shard is a 3D platformer, 2-player local coop game set in a Victorian London Steampunk factory. Nimue and her sidekick Ambrose, a cyborg bear, are on a mission to destroy the factory so that it can no longer produce cyborg laborers that the owner has been using to replace the working class. This was a year long project produced by the team 19 Souls on Board
I was one of the two Animators that provided Animation for this project. I brought the character Ambrose and the cyborg enemies to life with hand keyed animations to fit the stylized tone of the game. The benchmarks we tried to aspire to in terms of animations were classic Disney films as well as other 3d Platformers such as Rachet and Clank or Crash Bandicoot. I really came to love Ambrose and was very inspired by some of the great animators like Milt Kahl when creating his gameplay animations. With him I wanted to emphasize his weight and strength while also keeping a bit of a goofy and approachable side to him which I think ultimately lead to him having a lot of appeal overall. For the cyborgs I wanted to give them jerky, unsettling movements as if they were marionettes to emphasize the fact that while they were mechanical there was something not artifical about them which tied with the narrative well.
Speaking of narrative: the finale cutscene is something that was dropped in our laps sort of last minute and served to be our final boss of sorts. I think the shots I contributed have been the biggest animation I've worked on yet. With 6 characters moving through one massive set piece, a moving camera with various different cuts and angles, lip sync from a difficult face rig, and characters directly interacting with the environment, it was a lot to deal with. But it was a challenge that I was happy to meet cause I knew it'd be what ties our story together. I even had to teach myself how to properly light and render out a scene in maya out of necessity since we couldn't import one of the cinematic rigs in unreal like we initially planned.
• Used 3 different bipedal character rigs to create stylized animations with an emphasis on personality
• Worked with tech artist on implementing animations in Unreal State Machines
• Worked with leads to create animations that support the aesthetic and creative vision
• Animated and rendered multiple shots of a finale cutscene in maya featuring 6 fully animated characters including one with lip sync
• Used live references to ensure natural looking animations
• Utilized animation fundamentals to create dramatic but believable character animations