Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Is Technology deskilling the animator?

As motion capture tools get better with films and games managing to record the facial expressions of actors are we going to end up with animators becoming just computer operators rather than skilled artists in their own right?

Films such as the Lord of the Rings and Polar Express put motion capture in the public eye and the upcoming Beowulf uses the same technology. Even films such as Happy Feet used motion capture to record dancing. But some experts think that motion capture is not working well enough. I have to agree but I wonder if it's just a case of the technology being quite new? At this years Siggraph there were over 20 different suppliers of Motion Capture Equipment so it's definitely big business.

Also at Siggraph 2007, Massive Software announced this week another tool to "help" the animator, it's Massive 3.0 software claims:

"Massive allows artists to create and direct anything from CG humanoids to birds, animals, cars and more to deliver realistic and emotive virtual performances. Massive 'agents' are 3D characters that use sight, sound and touch enabling them to interpret and react autonomously to the world around them. Massive incorporates procedural animation and AI, and is used by animation and effects artists."

But again is this simply turning our "artists" into mathematicians and programmers?

Glenn Entis from Electronic Arts told the BBC this week that he wanted more realism in how games react to the user not just how they look. His reply seems to imply that EA will also be using technology rather than artistry to get the desired effects.

Previous articles: Making Faces

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