Games,  Prequel Trilogy,  Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars Battlefront II: A behind-the-scenes look at the animation work on Anakin

From EA:

“To make the wait for Anakin Skywalker* a tiny bit more bearable (players will get their hands on the hero of the Galactic Republic on February 27**), Mattias Kirsten, Animator on Star Wars Battlefront™ II, was kind enough to give us a peek on how the animations of the powerhouse Jedi were made. […]

Now, taking point on the animation work on the Chosen One is a task which, of course, requires a certain type of preparation.

“First, I re-watched The Clone Wars series and the prequels to get in the right state of mind and mood for Anakin,” Mattias says. “Specifically, I watched the Anakin versus Obi-Wan Kenobi fight a bunch of times. Not to get the exact movements, necessarily, but more to understand his intention and attitude, so I could start incorporating that in our animation system.”

Studying Anakin up close, Mattias realized small, but important, details that he hadn’t noticed before.

“It was interesting to see that Anakin is so good with a lightsaber that he seems to forego certain basic fighting practices. For example, he actually doesn’t use a lot of footwork, he’s more planted at a certain spot, while moving his lightsaber in a very skilled manner.”

“When I thought about Anakin, I pictured him as spinning around a lot while fighting. But watching more closely, I saw that he himself doesn’t spin around that much. Rather, his lightsaber movements are so quick and precise due to his advanced fighting style. That’s an interesting little detail that I didn’t think about before,” Mattias says.

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Motion capture data later serve as a base for Anakin’s animations.

The fantasy that Anakin’s design revolves around is one of raw power and being a passionate Jedi who cares about others. But it also tells of someone learning how to control his raw talent during a difficult time in the galaxy.

“The Anakin we’re bringing to Star Wars Battlefront II is still on the light side, meaning that we don’t want his anger to show explicitly in the lightsaber combat animation. We rather want to give hints on how it lingers just below the surface,” Mattias explains.

“One way of doing that is having his attacks being slightly wide. In some cases, his lightsaber is even hitting the floor, making sparks fly. So, he performs this very practiced and controlled move, but it’s slightly off-balanced, giving us a peek into how his passion and emotions affect his style.”

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A work-in-progress look at one of Anakin’s attack sequences.

Body language can really define an individual. Sometimes, you can tell who someone is from afar by simply looking at the way the person is walking. Mattias elaborates about how the team is incorporating Anakin’s personality and posture to Star Wars Battlefront II, saying, “Anakin is confident in his own abilities, so we’re having him standing with his back straight, even while attacking and dodging. We want to convey that Anakin never really loses that control, because he’s so good, and he can see exactly what’s going on.”

A unique thing to Anakin is that some animations tie into who he’s eventually about to become. “For example, Anakin has Darth Vader’s walk. You might not notice it if you’re not looking for it specifically. But it’s there.” […]”

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