eli5: how do video game developers bring handrawn animation into a game?

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If video games are all cgi how is the hand drawn animation brought to the actual game

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So “hand drawn” can mean a couple of different things. I think usually games down in a hand drawn style are still digital illustrations. It would be possible to scan in traditional illustrations and mask out all the pieces in theory, but that would be incredibly arduous.

The premise is more that all the art assets are illustrations. In a visually simple 2D game, a simple animation (like say the idle animation for a character) might only be a few frames long, and plays on a loop. In a hand drawn game, the designer would illustrate each of those frames individually. This is in contrast to a more typical AAA title where the character model has a skeleton and animations are made by manipulating that. A hand drawn game also can’t rely on, for example, dynamic lighting and shadow, or physics for interacting with objects from the game engine.

Old sprite-based, pixel art games (think the NES and GBA) operated fundamentally the same way. The only difference is now we have the tools to make more detailed sprites at a crisp, high resolution, with more frames of animation, etc.

You can literaly draw every frame, just like old cartoons. Nowadays, I can only think of Cuphead that did it.

Other way os called shader. Shader is literaly fragment of code that is executed for every pixel on the screen. That’s where the magic happens and most of the epic graphic effects are born.

For example: Borderlans have this cartoon style. But that was not decided until the last moment. Devs were aiming into more realistic look. They literaly changed the look of everything by applying special shader. There was no need to model or texture everything from the scratch.

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If video games are all cgi how is the hand drawn animation brought to the actual game

In: 0

So “hand drawn” can mean a couple of different things. I think usually games down in a hand drawn style are still digital illustrations. It would be possible to scan in traditional illustrations and mask out all the pieces in theory, but that would be incredibly arduous.

The premise is more that all the art assets are illustrations. In a visually simple 2D game, a simple animation (like say the idle animation for a character) might only be a few frames long, and plays on a loop. In a hand drawn game, the designer would illustrate each of those frames individually. This is in contrast to a more typical AAA title where the character model has a skeleton and animations are made by manipulating that. A hand drawn game also can’t rely on, for example, dynamic lighting and shadow, or physics for interacting with objects from the game engine.

Old sprite-based, pixel art games (think the NES and GBA) operated fundamentally the same way. The only difference is now we have the tools to make more detailed sprites at a crisp, high resolution, with more frames of animation, etc.

You can literaly draw every frame, just like old cartoons. Nowadays, I can only think of Cuphead that did it.

Other way os called shader. Shader is literaly fragment of code that is executed for every pixel on the screen. That’s where the magic happens and most of the epic graphic effects are born.

For example: Borderlans have this cartoon style. But that was not decided until the last moment. Devs were aiming into more realistic look. They literaly changed the look of everything by applying special shader. There was no need to model or texture everything from the scratch.