When I was still sighted, my profession was visual effects, specializing
in 3D animation and 2D compossitting.
Although the CGI artist for these games will use live models to grab
animation data and texture maps, I think Thomas is a bit off here on how the
digitization is utilized. They don't simply reproduce the images as taken
in the studio, this would lead to a very unfluid animation in the game, as
well as limiting possible movements.
The texture maps are placed over polygonal models, which are then animated
on the fly either procedurally or from movement datasets. So to get a
realistic movement, they may digitize a body double jumping in one sequence,
then drawing a gun in another. These two datasets can then be combined as
necessary to allow for a jump while drawing a gun.
As for the texture mapping, the quality of the maps these days is amazing.
In the game half life 2 for example, you could see the moisture in the eyes
of other humans, and the face animation was incredible, and that is 4 year
They are approaching movie quality CGI in video games now at 30 frames per
second, amazing considering that when we were rendering for The X Files
television show for instance, single frames could take upwards of 5 hours to
render, depending on the complexity of the scene, and this was on dedicated
multi processor Unix boxes.
As for me as a developer of accessible games now, I'll be focusing on
input, interface and audio, as there are still new horizons to sail towards.
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