There's a new dev diary in the FFXIV Backstage Investigators series, this time featuring Lead Technical Artist Tatsuya Okahisa.
Through the blog, Okahisa describes his own history and training, as well as how he came to Square Enix in the first place. Turns out he joined right before A Realm Reborn's release, and helped from that memorable era.
He also goes into just what technical artists do and specifically what his team brings to Final Fantasy XIV. Technical artists are those who work to create the tools and features that enable the modeling, effects, and animation art teams. In offering some insight, he names the game's eight playable races and then divided into male and female options and the way those variations all need equipment to work. One tool his team was responsible for takes care of just that, adapting the basic elements of equipment to each race type enough for the creative art team to take over and use this process in designing new gear or even when the game has added new races.
Further behind the scenes processes in the blog include work done on flying in Heavensward and swimming and diving in Stormblood. For both of those processes to come about, the various body types of the different races had to be accounted for in a technical sense to give the look that was needed. Finding what he calls the point of reference, a technical term the team uses for animating different body types in a uniform way, but challenges like water were really served by having the technical art team to make it look more possible than ridiculous.
If you enjoy learning just how teams put your favorite games together, this interview with Tatsuya Okahisa is a must read, especially for Final Fantasy XIV fans. There have been several previous entries to this devblog series as well, and you can find the complete Okahisa interview and the previous editions here.