Working on Second Extinction has brought with it many challenges. The challenge of working from home under the trying circumstances the world faces, the challenge of making a shooter remotely, the challenge of… mo-capping a dinosaur.
Our four-man animation team is relatively new to one another, but nothing breaks the ice like dressing up as prehistoric creatures and trying to think and act like a dinosaur (and then sharing the results for peer approvals/ridicule).
Acting like a dinosaur is much harder than you might think. Jonas Wallin pioneered the project – he was the visionary who dared to dream we might recreate the look and feel of dinosaurs with our own human hands and feet. I think we have just about done him proud (you can be the judge when Second Extinction launches).
Dinosaur cosplay and method acting was definitely not in my job description, but it has genuinely become a great way for our team to bond and for us to get creative. It’s also crept into my daily routine out of hours: Trying to drink from a cereal bowl as a T-Rex is as hard and messy as it sounds.
Besides trying to act like a dinosaur, one of the hardest aspects of production has been the transferring of our motion capture from a human rig to the dinosaur rig. It could be quite destructive and you have to make sure the motion capture stays intact (or else you end up with some scary hybrids!). A noteworthy takeaway for me is that it’s worth considering using motion capture even if it’s far from the end result we are seeking since we get a lot of small details, weight, and timing right. It makes our job easier to then shape it into what we want.
I hope you enjoy the Beta when it’s out, and do pay attention to those dinosaur movements. You might spot one that I brought to life.
Daniel Knutsson, Senior Animator