List of Monumental sculpture projects 2015

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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Real time animation

Real-Time Animation, sometimes called Machinima (muh-sheen-eh-mah) is filmmaking within a real-time, 3D virtual environment, often using 3D video-game technologies.

In an expanded definition, it is the convergence of filmmaking, animation and game development. Real-Time Animation is real-world filmmaking techniques applied within an interactive virtual space where characters and events can be either controlled by humans, scripts or artificial intelligence.
By combining the techniques of filmmaking, animation production and the technology of real-time 3D game engines, Real-Time Animation makes for a very cost- and time-efficient way to produce films, with a large amount of creative control.
Real-Time Animation can be produced in a couple of ways. 

It can be script-driven, whereas the cameras, characters, effects etc. are scripted for playback in real-time. While similar to animation, the scripting is driven by events rather than keyframes. 

It can also be recorded in real-time within the virtual environment, much like filmmaking (the majority of game-specific Real-Time Animation pieces are produced in this fashion). 

While both of these approaches have their pros and cons, they are both Real-Time Animation-making techniques.
  • the real-time recording of human/scripted performances and events – akin to shooting film, eliminates the rendering process.
  • the creative flexibility of artistic assets, allows total control over visual representation of characters, events, etc.
  • an interactive environment provides a space where characters can interact and real-world physics can be reproduced.
  • Hardware driven playback is resolution independent.
Because Real-Time Animation can be shot live or scripted in real-time, it’s much faster to produce than traditional CGI animation. A live action director can feel right at home and an animation director will be able to direct without having to rely on key frames. Multiple takes can be made in real-time or just a few takes while the rest is adjusted in post, dependent on the director’s style.
Shooting live Real-Time Animation can produce a considerable time and cost savings – up to 30-40% and is a radical departure from the traditional key frame animation process. Now animation directors can direct puppeteers as they manipulate the character models in real-time. A live action director can also relate as what happens is in real-time .
It saves money by eliminating the time intensive processes of software rendering. In addition, live-produced Real-Time Animation can be created similar to a producing a live action film – the camera records performance, action and events as they take place. We’ve estimated that compared to traditional 3D CGI animation, we can shoot in a fifth of the time, for a third of cost.
Two-dimensional (2D) animation, like Disney’s Tarzan or a Warner Brothers Looney Tunes cartoon, is drawn, inked & painted by hand and then shot frame-by-frame for the final animation. This is obviously labor and time intensive. A half hour cartoon could take six to nine months to draw and is usually done overseas to minimize labor cost. A feature could take two to four years to complete.
3D Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) animation, was pioneered in the 80′s and put on the map by Pixar’s “Toy Story.” Instead of each frame being drawn by hand, a computer “renders” all of the characters and backgrounds. 

But a team of computer animators have to animate each character model individually for each scene. Once done, a “compositing” bank of computers, renders all of the characters models and objects into the 3D background, making your complete shot.
But because of the large amount of 3D model, lighting and animated information in each frame, it can take a very fast bank of computers hours, if not days, to render each frame. Some frames of Pixar’s Monsters Inc took over 90 hours to process using over 400 computers ganged together in parallel. With 24 frames per second of footage, you can image how long this process can get. Subsequently, “Monsters, Inc.” took four years to produce.

 Naturally, because of Real-Time Animation’s real-time aspect, the production approach takes significantly less time.
Well, no, not yet. A company like Pixar will always push the boundaries of what’s possible in animation. But, with advances in computer hardware, we get much closer each year.
A number of ways. 

First, if you’ve ever played a computer game or seen others play it, each person in the game is using their computer to log into the server computer. Each computer represents one character in the game, usually running around shooting at each other. Everyone playing can see each other’s character in real time in the game world, from their characters viewpoint on their monitor. In Real-Time Animation, the roles shift: the characters, instead of shooting each other, are actors in the scene, and the server doubles as the camera, recording everything that happens in the virtual world.
Second, people sometimes produce Real-Time Animation on their own (not using a LAN) by using tools the game developers publish for a particular game. These tools often allow the end user to create new levels, import new characters and create scripted events. While the game developer produce these tools often to extend the replayability of the game, Real-Time Animation developers have used them to create their films. This essentially turns the off-the-shelf game into a small Real-Time Animation studio.
Some teams use a combination of these approaches – recording their custom assets in real-time. These recordings take place at the data level (as opposed to capturing multiple gigabytes of video footage). This recorded data approach yields the most flexibilty as editing at the data level creates a final Real-Time Animation that can playback within the game engine itself.
Both the Academy of Machinima Animation Arts and Sciences site, and carry a wealth of information about Real-Time Animation. You can also check out some of the follow books:
The Art of Machinima (Paul Marino, Paraglyph Press, Aug. 2004)- a hands-on book showing you both the artform and the basics of how to get started in your Real-Time Animation production.
Machinima : Making Animated Movies in 3D Virtual Environments (Dave Morris, Matt Kelland and Dave Lloyd, Ilex Press, Aug. 2005) – which gives a great overview of the medium and its filmmakers.
Machinima for Dummies (Hugh Hancock and Johnnie Ingram, For Dummies, Sept. 2007) – hands-on guide for novice and expert.

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