Nunchaku Reveal Cinematic

Originally created for the release of Warframe in China, this cinematic sequence was cut into a trailer and as far as I know it has never been shown in its complete, standalone form until now!

As the animator responsible for creating the nunchaku (AKA “Ninkondi”) melee combo animations in game I was most familiar with their rather technical animation requirements and was therefore tasked with creating “a 30 second reveal cinematic” for them. That was quickly shortened to half that length. Other than duration I was given complete freedom to do whatever I wanted so long as I could handle it on my own in the time allotted. I was responsible for everything from concept, to layout and cameras, to final animation. I leveraged existing mocap as much as possible for the background characters and keyframed the hero characters.

Unfortunately, as it was only used as footage cut into a trailer it never received it’s own dedicated audio pass. Fortunately, I was able to take some audio from a different part of that same trailer and overlay it so that it fits reasonably well.

“Ninkondi” Nunchaku

Five years ago I was given possibly the coolest assignment ever: frickin’ nunchucks!

As a prop, these things were a technical nightmare, constantly switching grips and hands. (All hail the power of bespoke locator rigs!) I was determined to cheat as little as possible. First, I actually bought some foam nunchaku and, using motion capture, was able to very accurately capture my ineptitude. Then, I found amazing reference from talented “nunchakukasStéphane Oberle, Ken Hill, and Arirang instead and used that for all but the impossible moves. It was a blast to work on! I was responsible for all the combat anims shown in the official weapon release trailer above. The only nunchaku animation that wasn’t mine is the very cool flourish at the end of the trailer, done by DE’s resident Pixar alum, and expert at making cheating look good, Chiwook Han.