For many, animation in movies and games are pretty much the same. While the tools, and principles used in both mediums are the same, the needs differences being techniques and processes. A good animator will know the differences and similarities and know when to use them for your project.
Since games are interactive, the player has complete control over the character and the camera. They are the ones driving the story and the character forward. In this case, the animation needs to look good from every possible angle. If a game is in the third person, the player can rotate the camera around to see a movement cycle of the character from a new angle, which can reveal new things to the player that weren’t there in the standard view.
An animator needs to take these into play to ensure their work stays true to whatever the player does. Animation in games needs to look great from every angle. When using the principle of arcs, the character needs to follow this smoothly from any standard and the animator needs to make sure everything works this way.
Game animation is pretty complex as it involves many cycles for the characters. These can be walking, running, breathing, idle stance, crouching, aiming a gun, laying down, and even crawling. The list can go on as movement is essential and imitates real life. Body mechanics drive animators in games. Even the acting scenes have these same mechanics and require a lot of perfecting on the part of the animator. Even timing for specific scenarios, like reloading a gun or opening a door need that same realism.
For the most part, many games are grounded in realism as it keeps a player involved in the game. To film this realism, the technique of motion capture is used. Traditional animation is still needed but motion capture is becoming more widely used in many gaming studios.
Animation has taken many strides forward in the genres of film and gaming industries. Today, animators are in high demand for their work as many companies and even independent filmmakers/game designers are turning towards this genre for their projects and marketing. While a lot of the tools to create both movies and games are the same, animation in games has moved a few steps ahead with the need for multiple angles and motion capture technology. Both mediums are great for animators, and small animation studios are there to bring your projects to life.