EQII has some super talented artists. They make everything from pretty zones to really cool looking armor. But that isn't ALL! This week it's all about animation and Tom Tobey, Sr. Artist, answered a few questions for us and slipped us a couple of sneak peeks at what he's working on for the future!
What do you draw from for inspiration for your animations?
I am mostly inspired by Pre 1980’s Disney cartoons. Robin Hood, 101 Dalmatians, Pinocchio and Fantasia are some of my favorites.
What’s your favourite part of EQII?
I have a level 84 rat guardian and I mostly solo. When I group, I wind up getting everyone killed so it’s better that I play alone. I’m finally high enough level where I’m able to kill some of the NPC’s I animated without dying so often. The new zone’s in Sentinel’s Fate are some of my favorites. I think the enviro-artists really took EQ2 to a new level.
What's your favourite animation that you've done for EQII?
Toxxulia and Roehn Theer’s animations are definitely at the top of my list and the panda combat animations were a lot of fun. There’s a T-Rex that is really great, he’s one of the best characters I have animated but he’s not in game yet. There’s still a few of my EQ1 characters that are near and dear to me. There was the little gnome robot from Depths of Darkhollow, The Frogs from Ykesha, and the werewolves from Darkhollow to name a few.
How did you get started in the industry?
I trained with ex Disney Animator, Milt Neil. Milt was one of the original Disney guys and he worked on Snow White, Pinocchio and Dumbo to name a few but he was also know for animating Donald Duck in Der Fuehrer’s Face. After working with Milt, I worked for Don Bluth studios and then the 2D cartoon film industry tanked for awhile and I ended up animating SNES and Sega Genesis games. At Sega I started animating in 3D and I have been doing that ever since.
What are some of the other projects you've worked on?
Some of the older games I worked on that most people won’t remember are ComixZone, DieHard Arcade and Blasto. I started working for SOE on EQ1’s Planes of Power and was there until The Depths of Darkhollow. I spent two years working on Pirates of the Burning Sea and then came back to SOE and EQ2.
Do you have any special (or just super fun) projects you're working on now?
Yes! and Alan will kill me if I say anything before Fanfaire. I actually thought some of the best monsters I have animated were in Sentinel’s Fate, but I think what the art team is doing for ******* ups the bar again. There’s some really fun and unexpected surprises coming to EQ2.
Do you have any advice for aspiring game animators?
Don’t neglect your 2D tradition animation rules, squash and stretch, anticipation and overlapping action. Exaggerate the heck out of your animations. You can always pull back if you go too far depending on what kind of game you are working on. Good books to have in your library are Richard Williams “The Animator’s Survival Kit” and Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston’s “The Illusion of Life.”
And check out my website www.giganticrobot.com !