Courtesy of a truckload of very helpful YouTube tutorials.
In order for the character to move, joints need to be added and later binded into the skin. Maya comes with a default IK system I could easily slap on, but I decided to make an entire skeleton hierarchy from scratch, as the said feature doesn’t necessarily have all the features that would match how I designed my character (it came with finger joints which my group isn’t too fussed about).
Painting Skin Weights
I was naive enough to think that once I’ve completed the skeleton hierarchy, I could go straight into animating. Unfortunately, it turns out to be way more complicated than that. I found out about this after attempting to move the arms around, when parts of the head and torso gets dragged along with it, and the only easy fix is a rather time consuming process called Weight Painting, where you basically have to indicate which parts of the model is affected by which joint. This involved making rather extreme poses for my character and a lot of going back to fix any visible deformities. More information on weight painting is further explained in this video.
Testing the rig and adding animations
Once everything seemed to be working fine, it was finally time to animate. Luckily I wasn’t a beginner at this like I was with the previous two processes, as I’ve done quite a bit of Maya animation over the past year in my AUT Digital Design course, so it didn’t take long for Posthumus to start running.
From this point on I was able to work a lot more quickly with the animations until they’re ready to be exported as .FBX files straight to our programmer to add to our game. Besides navigating around, my group needed an attack animation for when Posthumus equips and throws a rock at the enemy, as well as some extra pushing and crouching animations to use mainly for emphasis of action. I have posted a separate video that compiles all of the animation needed for gameplay, such as that of the run, throw, push and crouch. Check it out here!