Learn Animation Rigging can level animation in your project up

A year ago, Unity introduced a preview package called Animation Rigging, and we’re adding new functionality to it in 2020. We’re also sharing new presentations from GDC and Unite Now, which detail the expanded possibilities and show the creative potential and flexible workflows of this preview toolset for real-time films, AAA games, or smaller indie titles.

Animation Rigging Unite Now session

It’s never been easier to create believable and dynamic animations, and we want to help you bring yours to the next level. Already a fan? We have a Unite Now session coming up about animation rigging on Thursday, June 25th so mark your calendar.

Overview

The Animation Rigging package makes it possible to do both runtime rigging and animation authoring:

Runtime rigging is when skeletal animation is modified during gameplay using constraints such as TwoBoneIK or Multi-Aim as a post-process. In game development, it can be useful for scenarios like attaching hands to props or aiming a head to look at a specific target. It is also commonly used to set up deformation fixup, such as shoulder twist correction. All of this makes it possible to get more precise and higher-quality animation results that are tailored to your specific gameplay situations.

Animation authoring is when an artist creates new animation content. With the Animation Rigging package, it’s possible to set up control rigs with visual rig effectors using the Animation Rigging constraints – similar to how this often works in external DCC applications. Within the Unity Editor, you can create and edit keyframes in the Animation window, and you can also sequence and blend multiple clips in Timeline. The end result is a new skeletal animation clip that can be played back during gameplay.

Gawain (from The Heretic short film) is enhanced with an IK rig on his hand, which is being keyframed here directly in Unity’s Animation panel.

New features for Animation Rigging in Unity 2020.1 

We are excited to share a preview version of a powerful new set of tools for animation authoring in the 2020.1 release of Animation Rigging.

Freeform animation workflows are now possible using the new Bidirectional Motion Transfer tools. This addition gives animators more flexible workflows by allowing you to transfer motion between constraints and bones both ways:

  • You can bake skeleton motion onto the rig constraints, where it’s easier to make keyframe edits.
  • You can also bake the dynamic motion produced by the constraints onto the skeleton for more optimized performance at runtime.

These capabilities make it possible to modify existing animations inside the Unity Editor while building upon existing motion – which is great for cleaning up motion capture or creating custom motion variants.

For a more complete explanation of how you can use Bidirectional Motion Transfer tools, be sure to check out our new GDC presentation “Freeform Animation Rigging, Evolving the Animation Pipeline” (you can also find it on the GDC Vault).

We have also added the following automated setup utilities to make it faster and easier to build rigs in Unity:

  • Rig Setup
  • Bone Renderer Setup
  • Restore Bind Pose
  • TwoBoneIK – Auto Setup from Tip Transform

Animation Rigging use cases

One of our main goals has been lowering the barrier to creating high-quality animation. Animation Rigging is a powerful addition to a full animation workflow that involves several tools and potentially different people authoring the same animation clips. If your studio or project is smaller, you might be wondering whether this feature can be helpful to you. We hope you’ll join us for our upcoming session on Thursday, June 25th as part of Unite Now to learn more about how Animation Rigging includes solutions for animation projects at any scale. 

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Animation Rigging is used to enrich character animations in a prototyping scene.

In this webinar, Lead Evangelist Ciro Continisio will show some interesting use cases and how to configure them. He’ll use both runtime rigging and animation authoring to demonstrate how the Animation Rigging package can enhance the motion of almost any type of game, even when animation resources are limited.

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