Hello backers! As previously mentioned, today’s update will be a closer look into the animation process. We’ll save the usual Q&A section for the our next content update and jump right to the good stuff!
ANIMATION
As most of you know, we went an uncommon route with the character animations for The Banner Saga, deciding not just to do 2D animation, but to use traditional animation techniques to really achieve the old Disney “Sleeping Beauty” effect we were going for with the game’s art style. This decision was based on pure madness in retrospect, but more specifically a deep-seated love of classic animation. We wanted the game to always feel like you’re playing an animated movie.

I would wager the opinion that anyone who has done traditional animation knows that it’s extraordinarily complex and time consuming.

Here’s a very brief background on the difference between traditional and modern animating. I have no doubt that many of you know this, but let’s do a quick refresher:

3D animation
The artist creates a 3D model, an animator attaches a rig to it, also called a skeleton. This skeleton can be positioned the same way you would move around an articulate mannequin, by positioning and rotating joints. Making this movement look natural is the hard part, and requires buckets of skill. The nice thing is that you make a model once, and now it’s quick to rough out and make changes, you can move the camera wherever you want, change the lighting, etc. I’m not sure how many people know this, but 3D animation is now on the verge of being quicker and easier to produce than traditional animation. Proof: Disney channel cartoons are now made in 3D.

Modern 2D animation
This [...]