Will knowledge of physics help you become a better game artist or computer animator?


The answer is YES and for so many reasons!


Physics is the branch of science dealing with the properties of matter and energy. It is how we make sense of our universe. Everywhere you see, everything you do and hear can be explained with physics.


About 30 years ago, Pac Man was all the rage… It was so exciting to play because you could move Mr. Pac Man left, right, up and down and collect small blue dots and compete for the highest score.  A few years later, 2-D platform games like Mario became much more popular. What made Mario such a big deal? Why was Mario so fun to play? THE ANSWER IS PHYSICS! There was so much more to do because gravity was added. Mario could walk, run, crouch, jump, and fly.  This variety of movement is so appealing to gamers.  Games have continued to change a lot in the past decade while gamers are continuously demanding more. One of the major transformations of games was moving from 2-D to 3-D. Because of this, games today can be much more realistic and similar to our world, but this realism comes at a price; more physics. Just because a game is behaving with the same laws of physics that we do in real life, doesn’t mean that it can’t be imaginative.  A developer may change the value of gravity, or replace the water in the ocean with mercury, but the game is still going to follow the laws of physics we know today.


Whether you are modeling, rigging, animating or doing some sort of visual effect for a game or a movie, physics is sure to be a major component of your work. Employers value their employees that have a solid understanding of physics because these employees know how to create a plausible scene that won’t break the audiences suspension of disbelief.


When game artists have a solid understanding of physics they can apply this vital information to their specialized field to a great effect – here are some examples: