INTERVIEW WITH ANIMATOR AND RIGGER FELIX MEIER
We’re happy, here at Gamma Minus, to have the very talented Rigger and Animator Felix Meier on our team. Today he is answering questions about his work, influences and more.
Could you tell us something about yourself and your background?
Hey! I live and grew up in Germany and after school I made my Bachelor of Arts at the SAE Institute in Cologne. I didn’t know much about game development before that. However I think my real education began when I started developing games with colleagues after university. That was the time everything got “real”, you know.
Who or what inspired you to get into rigging? What inspires you today?
I was never aiming to get into rigging to be honest. I’m actually more an art person. I do also do all the art related stuff for my company. For me rigging is more a job that has to be done rather a job you really want to do. For example you create a cool character for your game and now it has to move. Rigging is simply the process to enable animations.
If I had to name a person that inspired me I’d probably say one of my tutors from the university. I still ask him about rigging stuff if i have problems today.
What software and tools do you use for your work, and why?
For rigging and animation I use Autodesk Maya. I think it’s the best program for both tasks. You have very good control over every single process and that’s really what you want rigging-wise. For the work with Cold Comfort I also use the epic game toolkit ‘ART’.
Which of your creations are you most proud of and why?
In case of rigging I’d say every new rig I build myself because every new rig is better than the last. You learn with every step, even if you do the same rig over and over again. You’ll always find little parts where you can improve the rig the next time.
For Cold Comfort I’d definitely say Holliday (and her cursed bag!) because when I started your rigging test a few weeks ago I didn’t really expect I could do it. I was proud her rig worked out in the end. It was a good experience.
Is there a specific type of rigging that you enjoy doing the most?
I think the best part is always when you click [bind skin] and the bones connect to the mesh and you start to move the limbs. That is always the time when the character suddenly comes to life. Oh, and it’s also the end of the headache part: the base rig building, haha.
Could you describe your general creative workflow for us?
For all the Cold Comfort characters I use the ART toolkit. I look at the mesh and place the bones and get to the skinning process. For objects like the bear trap it’s different. You really need to understand how the thing works that you want to rig. Where you place your bones, what parts need to connect and so forth … Most important you need to build controls that are easy accessible and understandable for the animator. And if I got problems I simply start bugging Alberto, hahaha.
What do you think is essential in becoming a rigger? What are you continually trying to improve?
A lot of concentration. The slightest mistake can drive your entire rig right into hell. If you didn’t forget some step while rigging that is great but you’ll always find something to improve your process afterwards. It is every time a very complex part of the development.
Who are your heroes in this industry and why?
Well I don’t really know about rigging. But I also draw a lot and am a big fan of Iain McCaig. Games related I like Ninja Theory for example. They looked like a fun company with while creating Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Could you share any bits of advice for aspiring artists or practicing artists looking to get into the field of rigging?
If you want to get into rigging find someone who is really good at it and don’t let go of him, ever. You’ll need that person along your learning process, trust me.
Apart from that I really recommend the Character Rig series from the Maya Learning Channel on YouTube.
What’s the one thing you think is least known about working as a rigger for games?
Not really I think everybody knows already that it’s a pain, but you have to do it if you want a moving character. Anyways, it’s very rewarding when you finished a rig and it works. Always a good feeling.
Other than games, where do you go for inspiration?
For art related stuff I watch a lot movies and series and I play games and read a lot. Talking to all kinds of people can give you a lot inspiration as well.
What do like about working at Gamma Minus and what would you like to see in the future?
That’s easy. I really love to work with Alberto! Somehow he’ll always give you an advice or a workaround when you’re really stuck.
For the future I’d really like to meet more of you guys in person!
What are your favorite games?
Ok, I’ll try to keep it short:
- Dark Souls
- God of War
- Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Halo 3
- Heavy Rain
- The Last of Us
- Elder Scrolls
- Mass Effect
- The Witcher
You can check out Felix here.
Leave a ReplyWant to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!