Join Sue Blackman for an in-depth discussion in this video What you should know before watching this course, part of Animating Characters with Mecanim in Unity 3D.
In fact, I'm assuming that that's the reason why a lot of you are watching this series. I've created the animations for this course in 3DS Max, using the CAT, Character Animation Tools system. CAT is a great way to quickly prototype animations, but you may also want to try using motion capture for your characters. There are couple of free must-have Mecanim sample scenes on the Unity asset store that contain several motion capture animations. I encourage you to check them out if you haven't already.
So the first thing to do is get a clear idea of just what Mecanim does and doesn't do. To start, Mecanim is an animation system that was originally designed for characters. With its introduction, Unity also announced its intention of eventually incorporating their Legacy animation system into it. This means that you can expect regular changes in it, as they both add new features and sort out how they will handle the legacy functionality. So let's look at its features. Mecanim has 3 major features.
The first is this bone and or muscle re-targeting system. This allows you to use animations created on various different characters on your own character. And, yes, for those of us that would rather build characters than animate them, this is huge. If character animation is your passion, this provides you with a means of creating libraries of behaviors that you can reuse on a wide variety of characters, an animator's dream come true. The second important feature is its built-in state engine.
It takes care of transitioning the characters between states. Does this mean no scripting is required? No, but it does help immensly with the logic that runs the show. Mecanim provides a powerful way to blend between animation clips with a variety of transition options. Layers and mask let you combine animations on the fly, reducing the overhead of multiple clips for related behaviors. So you're probably wondering what it doesn't do.
Well, it doesn't magically rig your character for you. You will still need to have your character fully ready to animate before importing into Unity. Fortunately, there are several characters available on the Unity asset store. And you can also find several excellent courses on lynda.com on modeling and rigging. So is Mecanim easy to use? It's not difficult, but it's a complex system. And because it's complex, it's a very powerful means of animating and controlling characters in Unity. We won't be getting too deep into it during the course, but you should be able to gain a good working understanding of Mecanim.
So let's get on with the course.
- Importing characters and setting scale
- Setting up the controller
- Creating transitions
- Scripting the controls
- Adding layers and layer masks
- Handling nonhumanoid appendages
- Configuring blend trees
- Controlling states with speed
- Adding a multistate jump
- Targeting with IK (inverse kinematics)
- Setting up generic rigs
- Testing the character in the game