Where to Start

Staring at the T-pose in Maya is like facing a gigantic blank sheet of drawing paper. You know you should start somewhere but the choices seem endless. Sometimes it helps to begin with a simple breathing cycle. I didn’t consider this unmotivated motion (moving body parts just to move them) because I was answering specific questions about George's posture and default energy level.

I also pushed the design by shortening his arms and shrinking his gloves and gun. His original model was appealing, but I anticipated his knuckles might scrape the ground and cause problems in a more complicated shot. These changes were minor and helped minimize frustrating intersections during polish.

Self-critique

The breathing here was too subtle and boring to stand on its own, especially for a video game environment where animators often exaggerate motions. It worked okay in the final shot as “dirt” on top of George’s frantic motions and brief pauses.

I was still familiarizing myself with the rig while animating this quick pass. My original intent was to create a base layer of keep alive, then sprinkle game-style idle actions over the top. Once I settled on the gun misfire idea, I abandoned the generic idle motions and focused on storytelling.