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"Tabula Rasa" Animator Returns to U-Me
Former New Media major Kiel Figgins returns to share a glimpse of the world of game character animation.



Establishing an online presence and how to transition from academics to a career

Public Lecture
Date:� Thursday, October 26, 2006
Time: 4:00-5:30 pm
Place:� Lord Hall - Room 100

Kiel Figgins (www.3dfiggins.com), a Character Animator for NCsoft (www.ncsoft.com and www.playtr.com), will be giving a lecture on creating an online presence for promoting yourself to the professional community and giving an overview of the transition from Academics to a career in a digital medium.


Maya Animation Workshop



Overview: Kiel also will be giving a Workshop/lecture covering the fundamentals of 3d animation, 2 step by step tutorials, a Q&A section for Animation and the Video Game Industry, as well as a free rig and class notes.

Day One:
Date:� Friday, October 27, 2006
Time:� 1:00-4:00 pm
Place:� Lord Hall - Room 311

Day Two:
Date:� Saturday, October 28, 2006
Time:� 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Place:� Lord Hall - Room 311



Workshop Outline:
-Animation Fundamentals
-Animation Introduction:� Bird Flying tutorial
-Animation Process:� Overview of a walk cycle
-Q & A

Workshop Assignment:� Personalizing a walk cycle

If you are interested in attending the 2-day workshop you will need to sign up for it through Velma by email, phone (581-4358) or in person.� There is only room for 16 students to take the workshop.

Kiel Figgins has worked as a character animator in the game industry since 2004, most recently on Tabula Rasa by Richard Garriott, creator of the well-known Ultima series. More on this work from a September 2006 Full Sail feature on Figgins:

Combining first-person shooter capabilities, and the social aspects of role-playing, Tabula Rasa is strange brew of extraordinary creatures, monsters, and even a giant snake-like plant complete with slithering tentacles and a razor sharp beak. In order to create characters that incite fear and awe in their enemies, and move with the agility of warriors, the creators of Tabula Rasa have compiled a team of animation professionals ready to take on the job.

[Figgins'] job as a creature animator for NC Soft's Austin, Texas branch allows him to get up close and personal with creatures you'd hope to never see in real life. "I came on as a part of their creature team, so I do animation, set up, rigging, skinning, scripting- all kinds of fun stuff," he says. Kiel enjoys animating all of the unique characters in the game, but it's Maw, that bizarre snakelike plant, that tops the list as his favorite. "That was the most fun to do," Kiel explains. "It has six tentacle arms and a huge beak made out of bone. It traps characters with its roots and simply tears them up if they get too close."

Its title meaning 'blank slate' in Latin, more and more new players are being drawn to Tabula Rasa, which has in-game characters that start off simple, then change, evolve, and become more complex as you progress through the story. Offering a lot of character variety is a huge selling point for gamers. It's also a lot more work for animators, which Kiel says that translates to more fun for him. "We have to animate a lot of variety," he says. "We have a huge breadth of creatures that are pretty detailed and complex for games. Once we get the finer details animated, they really bring out the personality in a character and make them that much more believable and entertaining."



Updated: 2006-10-24 by Jon Ippolito

Updated: 2006-10-24 by Jon Ippolito

Updated: 2006-11-01 by Jon Ippolito
Posted 2006-10-24 05:12:52 by Jon Ippolito
Comments on this story... (toggle all)

All right! [Jon Ippolito, 2006-10-25 10:33:33]

This sounds great--everyone should go!

jon


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