Post 12 - Animating Blaze
*The contents below are my own opinions and not that of my employer*
Need A Light
I'm sitting in a small meeting room with my lead when he asks the question, "Hey, how do would you feel about being the main animator on Firebat?" Without a second to spare I responded with, "Yes. Absolutely." And instantly that feeling of excitement and fear rushed in. I had just said yes to being the owner of a lot of animations and that needed to be brainstormed, created, troubleshooted, and signed off on in a very short amount of time. Needless to say...I felt the heat.
We knew from the start that he was going to be a very big and bulky character. One of the challenges was going to make it appear his heavy suit wasn't too much of a burden for him. Blaze and his suit have seen a lot of time in battle. We just wanted to complement the movement that he was doing from inside of the suit. Making Blaze feel like he was plucked right out of the StarCraft 2 universe was the main goal. Secondly, I wanted to portray this driven, powerful, merciless tank.
Nothing in the core animation set could come across as cartoony or silly. With this mentality, we made sure to stay away from things like: jiggling his fuel tanks too much or having his rubber hoses bounce around too much. The secondary actions were very methodical and sometimes very minimal. I was able to use squash and stretch in a few cases like his Flame Stream ability which was a ton a fun to do. Allowed me to push his silhouette further and make it really read from our new camera angle that's further away from the character now. Still, that squash and stretch had to be small to keep Blaze grounded in those rules we had established at the beginning of our brainstorming process.
When I started to dive into ideas for his charge ability my research lead me down the path to Juggernaut from Marvel vs. Capcom. He had an attack that was similar to the charge I had envisioned. On top of that, his frame and suit very much fit the silhouette of Blaze. So I studied Juggernaut a ton. The 2D frames of his attack set were a fantastic reference and inspiration.
In the end, Blaze turned out awesome. I mean, there are always details here and there that I'd love to go back to and touch up but lucky for me our fast paced schedule does not allow for that extra time. Or else I would never release it to the public. I hope you all enjoy the hard work the team put into him!