Ubisoft’s JRPG homage Child of Light employs a mix of 2D and 3D animation techniques, technical architect Jeff Preshing explained in a post on the game’s official Tumblr.
“In order to achieve a reactive and fluid result we experimented with different combinations to get it just right,” Preshing said. “We benefit a lot in animating Aurora in 3D, especially with the transitions when she changes directions in flight or turns around.”
According to Preshing, Aurora is a 3D model animated in 3D, but flattened using a modified rendering engine to allow a 3D mesh to appear as a 2D sprite, allowing her to fit in the Ubi Art–powered 2D world of Lemuria.
Similar techniques were applied to animation details in Aurora’s movement, such as her hair.
“I added fluid dynamics to the game because Pat [Plourde, creative director] said he wanted things to look like they’re floating underwater. At the start of the project Aurora’s hair was 100 percent driven by this fluid simulation,” Preshing explained. “It was a neat idea, but the results were a bit too lifeless. Her hair ended up looking like a bunch of spaghetti just floating around.
“Even though its not the main driving force behind Aurora’s hair we still use fluid simulation; for example, when Igniculus flies past Aurora, the hair gets swept up in the breeze.”
Child of Light is set to launch on PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U sometime 2014.