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Questions about using Unity for short animation films...

Discussion in 'Virtual Production' started by YolandaFiFi, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. YolandaFiFi


    Sep 22, 2014

    We are currently trying to settle on a platform for producing short, 2D animation films.

    We're working with 3 2D characters and we're quite comfortable using Unity's animation tools (specifically, we are attracted to Unity because of the ease of controlling animation transitions and the Animation State Machine which are very cumbersome and demanding to mimic in classic animation programs like Adobe After Effects). I've been reading the documentation and have seen some guides on YouTube about how to use Unity's Timeline to create animation films. This all seems very promising but what I can't quite figure out is:

    How does animation control work in the timeline? Specifically I'm thinking about transitions and events. Can you use the timeline to say, for example, that character A should transition to a walking animation instead of an idle animation? Or does the whole sequence have to be scripted and timed in code before "filming"? It's not that I can't script it, but it seems relatively demanding if compared to how easily you time things in other programs). I understand that each element of a given game object can be altered via keyframes, but I can't find documentation on how the Timeline would interact with an object's entire set of pre-defined animations.

    Hope somebody can educate me on this - it's the last thing we need to know before making a decision.

    Thanks in advance. :)
  2. gekidoslayer


    Unity Technologies

    Sep 27, 2016
    Working in Timeline is much more like a traditional NLE system like Premiere or Final cut - you sequence your animations directly ON timeline instead of working with the state machines or motion trees in the Unity Animator.

    Our team created a few videos describing the workflow recently, hopefully they will help:

    Hope this helps, feel free to reach out if you have questions.
    HanselMagnum likes this.
  3. YolandaFiFi


    Sep 22, 2014
    EDIT: Never mind, I fiddled around with the timeline and a free asset and found that this is indeed possible. Which is awesome! :) So the last thing I'm trying to figure is whether or not it works with animation blending, but I don't see why it shouldn't. Anyways, thanks for the help - I'll experiment from here for the final things we need to know.

    Cool! Thanks for the response. I hadn't found that video yet. It does make it a little easier to see. Specifically here, I see that there's a "Racoon_Walk" animation being added that also gets stretched with the mouse across the timeline:

    Screenshot 2019-06-18 at 10.25.42.png

    Has this animation been sequenced without using the normal animation tools in Unity? Ie. does it get keyframed/manipulated as a separate "composition" that you then add to the timeline (as you classically would) or could I, for example, open a Unity game and add a character plus their walk animation (made with the normal animation tools) directly to the timeline?

    The reason I ask is because I was asked yesterday if using Unity would make it easy to use the same assets and their animations for games (since we may want to make small educational games using the characters from the animation films). But if I understand what you're saying correctly, that's not really how it works?
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019