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I need u guys input here.I have been racking my brain in the past 6 months to come to a decision on what format to use for my project.I keep switching from one format to the other due to problems I encounter.
My project involves a main character in a hugely populated city that gets overun by mysterious forces,there are other key characters in the project and I have been modeling the characters one by one.What's bothering me is the time its taking to create all the models as I have to rig them and their faces,(there will be lip synching).I am presently struggling with dynamics for their clothes and hair.I am thinking of rigging them and animating them by hand which is gonna take more time).Took me sometime to understand how rigging works especially for facial emotions.I still have to create 10 extras for a scene where people are runing on the streets away from an explosion and duplicate them around with different animations( I hate the fact that models used as extras are always repeated especially in games,will be cool if I could make different designs for extras).Its gonna mean more modeling and rigging and I haven't even started modeling the city yet,vehicles,props e.t.c.There are camera shots in my storyboard with people walking on the streets,vechicles.
Then I am thinking what if I animated it in 2d?I start animating right away and all I need to do is draw but we all know 2d animation involves drawing everything frame by frame and when I think of how I need to keep an eye out for maintaining volume as I animate,I remember how u don't need to worry about maintaining volume in 3d,u just focus on animation and animating is graph oriented(way easier)and the more complex the character and camera movement, the more complex and time consuming the animation is in 2d.I can't play around with camera movements like in 3d because I need to animate the scene everytime for a new camera shot but then things like hair,cloth movements,effects like fire,smoke,extra characters like the runing away from explosion part can be animated freely without limitations or simulation problems in 2d.
As for environments,I just need to paint backgrounds but that will be done for every shot but imagine modeling a room,furniture and props that ur main character only looks into and that room is never used in any other scene or modeling a character who only says one or two lines and never used again for any other scene.Feels like a waste and how will I make someone control things like fire,water e,t,c? By simulation? or animate it in 2d for the 3d character?
I could go on and on..what approach would u take as a one man team undertaking this project?Its a personal project I have had in mind for a while now.
is this a personal project, or a school project?
How much time do you have to finish it?
What is your perfered medium?
If you continue on the 3D route (it seems crazy to switch after putting in so much work already) you can always take your existing rigs and use props and textures to make them differ, instead of rigging entire characters.
Switching to 2D will certainly not make your life easier. it may seem simpler, but it really wont save you any time.
an elaborate 3-4 second scene might take us special effects people several days to complete- and we don't need to muck around with anything except the FX.
You also can't just start animating right away. You still need to design the characters, props, locations etc.. If you don't have a clear design when you start- your characters will gradually morph or melt ( like bell's face in beauty and the beast lol)
Personally, if I didn't have a deadline, I would pick my favorite and stick with that. I'd have more fun and my work would be nicer, because I cared more about it.