FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Abstract, dissertation, book

Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

«From Linear to Interactive Animation: How Autonomous Characters Change the Process and Product of Animating BILL TOMLINSON University of California, ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

From Linear to Interactive Animation:

How Autonomous Characters Change

the Process and Product of Animating


University of California, Irvine


There are significant differences between the art of animating for linear media such as film and video and the

art of animating for interactive media such as computer and video games. In particular, these differences arise from the shift from linear characters to autonomous interactive characters. This article describes differences between linear animation and interactive animation in several areas of character design – character intelligence, emotional expressiveness, navigation, transitions among animations, and multi-character interaction. These differences provide insight into the processes of both forms of animation and the final products that they create, and may provide a starting point for linear animators interested in becoming familiar with interactive animation.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: I.3.7. [Computer Graphics]: Three-Dimensional Graphics and Realism— Animation; I.3.6 [Computer Graphics]: Methodology and Techniques—Interaction techniques Categories and Subject Descriptors: I.3.7. [Computer Graphics]: Three-Dimensional Graphics and Realism— Animation; I.3.6 [Computer Graphics]: Methodology and Techniques—Interaction techniques.

General Terms: Design, Human Factors Additionak Key Words and Phrases: Animation, Production, Games, Interactivity __________________________________________________________________________________________

Animation is the art of breathing life into things—creating the appearance of motion, behavior and personality in characters and other entities. When most people use the term “animation,” they think of Bugs Bunny, Buzz Lightyear, and other traditional animated characters. In the last few decades, animation has also become significantly associated with interactive media such as computer and video games. While there are many similarities between the forms of animation that generate linear and interactive products, there are also profound differences. These differences are not necessarily obvious to the consumers of the two forms, who ultimately experience both as images flickering across screens. This article offers an account of some of the ways in which the interactive animation process is different from (and usually harder than) more linear forms of animation. Considering the differences in the processes of these two kinds of animation may contribute to an understanding of the differences between the aesthetic forms that they produce.

At a very high level, linear and interactive animations share a common goal—to create an engaging experience for the viewer/player. In comparing film and interactive mediated environments, Marsh [2003] offers three levels of experience that produce engagement: voyeuristic (the joy of seeing the new and the wonderful), visceral (thrill of __________________________________________________________________________________________

Author’s address: ACE (Arts Computation Engineering) program, 430A Computer Science Building, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-3425; email: wmt@uci.edu Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, or republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Permission may be requested from Publications Dept., ACM, Inc., 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, USA, fax: +1-212-869-0481, or permissions@acm.org..

© 2005 ACM 1544-3574/05/0100-ART5B $5.00

–  –  –

spectacle and attractions), and vicarious (transfer of emotion through another person,being or object) [Marsh 2003]. The characters in both linear and interactive animation lie at the heart of these three levels of experience, and are particularly central to the third. Accordingly, the differences between the characters in these two forms of media are central to an understanding of the differences between the media themselves.

ACM Computers in Entertainment, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2005.

From Linear to Interactive Animation • 3 This article discusses five main differences between linear and interactive characters, including the locus of intelligence in the characters, how the characters are made to express themselves emotionally, how the characters navigate around their world, how the characters transition between actions, and how characters interact with each other. Table I offers a summary of these key differences. Each item gives a brief summary of the topic from the perspectives of linear animation and interactive animation. The brief descriptions in this table are necessarily generalizations; there are exceptions to each of these topics, and active research in all of these areas. These issues will be addressed more fully in the sections that follow the list.

By directly addressing the differences between the two kinds of animation, this article seeks to understand the capabilities of the two media. Many books have been written on the topic of traditional film animation (e.g., [Laybourne 1998; Thomas and Johnson 1981]. In addition, several books have been written on animating for video games (e.g., [Steed 2002]). This article seeks to understand the ways in which the processes of making characters for linear and interactive animation affect the content that these two forms produce.


In order to establish a common background, this article first gives a brief description of the production pipelines for linear animation and interactive animation. In addition, this section provides brief descriptions of two animated projects by the author and his collaborators: one linear and one interactive.

1.1 Linear The linear animation process may take on a number of forms. The most widely known is the production pipeline used to create animated narrative feature films such as Dreamworks’ Shrek or Disney’s The Lion King. While different studios employ different

pipelines, a typical production might use the following steps:

• a screenplay is written that prescribes the ordering of events in the final film;

• a series of storyboards is drawn that depicts each event;

• a soundtrack is recorded using human actors;

• numerous scenes are animated simultaneously to match the storyboards and soundtrack with different animators working on different characters and scenes;

• the film is edited into the correct order, and revisions are made to both soundtrack and animation;

• the final picture and sound are printed to celluloid film;

• the film is distributed to theaters and shown to large audiences.

Before a complete film can be created, a great deal of coordination must occur among producers, directors, animators, actors, sound designers, technical directors, editors, publicists, projectionists, and many others. Different animation techniques such as cel animation, 3D computer animation, stop-motion animation, or cut-out animation add additional constraints to this process.

While most animated features adhere to some variant of the above process, independent animators use smaller crews and a wider range of production processes to create their films. As an example of one production pipeline, in 1995-6 the author made

–  –  –

a stop-motion animated film called Shaft of Light (see Figure 1). This production began with a short script, which was produced as a stage play using human actors. Thereafter, the film was storyboarded and the characters were constructed from brass tubing, wire, and hot glue. Once the characters were complete, there was a 12-day film shoot during which approximately 14 minutes of raw footage (~20,000 images) were generated. In the 4 weeks following the shoot, the raw footage was developed and edited down to its final length of 8 min. 46 sec. Then the actors recorded the voices of the characters and the composer created all of the composition and sound design. (This order of production is quite different from the traditional animated feature process described above, where the voice recording is done first and the animation is made to match.) Finally, a 16mm celluloid print was made, and copies of the film were distributed to film festivals. An

online version of the film may be seen at the following web address :


1.2 Interactive Large-scale interactive animation productions, like those used in making character-based video and computer games, employ a very different set of processes than those described above for linear animation. The game industry is significantly younger than the film/animation industry, having been in existence for less than half as long. Spacewar in 1962 could be considered the first “real computer game” [DeMaria and Wilson 2003, p.12], whereas filmed animation developed as a medium in the nineteenth century [Bendazzi 1995]. Due to its relative youth, the game industry is still undergoing rapid change in its production processes.

Despite the wide variety of production pipelines in place in game companies, there are certain processes that unify many current 3D animated, character-based computer and video game productions. Interactive animations are conceptualized by a small team of designers, artists, software engineers and producers. A team of software engineers creates a game engine that will serve as a computational platform for the game (or they decide to license and reuse an existing engine). The animated characters are modeled and rigged (that is, given a computationally sound infrastructure so that the animators can produce content that may be integrated into the game) by a group of artists, animators, ACM Computers in Entertainment, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2005.

From Linear to Interactive Animation • 5 and technical directors. Animators generate the characters’ behavioral repertoire, using a 3D animation program, motion capture technologies, or other custom tools. Software engineers create the code that controls the behavior of the characters and the dynamics of the virtual world and connects the interface elements (buttons, etc.) for game play. This kind of game often consists of a group of levels or areas (similar to scenes in a play or movie); these subsections are created by level designers using tools designed by software engineers and technical directors. Lighting designers, virtual cinematographers, and audio directors contribute additional elements to the game. Finally a team of quality assurance testers plays the game thoroughly to find bugs, which are then sent back to the software engineers, designers, and animators. Once the game is complete, it is distributed to its players through stores and online retailers.

Similar to the independent animators described above, there are numerous smaller teams making independent interactive animations as well. One example is the production of a 3D animated interactive installation entitled AlphaWolf [Tomlinson et al. 2001] (see Figure 2) by the author and other members of the Synthetic Characters Group at the MIT Media Lab. The installation featured a virtual pack of wolves that participants could direct by howling, growling, whining, or barking into microphones [Tomlinson et al.

2002]. This production started from a code base for building interactive characters and virtual installations that has been in development and use since 1997 [Blumberg 1998;

1999]. In the winter and spring of 2001, a prototype of the installation was developed with simple 3D models, animation and programmed behavior. In the summer of that year, five programmer/interface designers, two animators, and a sound designer worked in the same room for approximately three months to build the final installation. The development process involved very close collaboration among the creators and a tight feedback loop between the programmers, interface designers, animators, and sound online at designer. This interactive installation premiered at SIGGRAPH 2001, and has been exhibited at a number of other venues since then. For a better sense of the installation, please see the episode of the PBS television show Scientific American

–  –  –

Frontiers, hosted by Alan Alda on 10/22/02, available http://pbs-saf.virage.com/cgibin/visearch?user=pbssaf&template=template.html&query=Alpha+Wolf&category=0&vi Keyword=Alpha+Wolf


Linear and interactive animations employ very different animated production processes and result in quite different final products. One of the main differences between these two formats is the way in which they deal with characters. Numerous terms, such as synthetic characters [Kline and Blumberg 1999], synthespian [Kleiser 1996], and lifelike computer characters [Ball et al. 19997] have been used to describe a range of similar entities. The process by which the characters are created and the final form that they take point to profound differences in the craft of animation employed. This section describes several specific differences between the creation of linear characters and interactive/autonomous characters. In addition, each section offers suggestions for linear animators interested in becoming more familiar with interactive animation processes.

Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

Similar works:

«Diss. ETH Nr. 12599 LIFE CYCLE INVENTORY ANALYSIS FOR DECISION-MAKING SCOPE-DEPENDENT INVENTORY SYSTEM MODELS AND CONTEXT-SPECIFIC JOINT PRODUCT ALLOCATION A dissertation submitted to the SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY ZURICH for the degree of DOCTOR OF TECHNICAL SCIENCES presented by ROLF FRISCHKNECHT Dipl. Bau-Ing. ETH born 17. August 1962 citizen of Basel-Stadt and Schwellbrunn (Appenzell Ausserrhoden) accepted on the recommendation of Prof. Dr. P. Suter, examiner Prof. Dr. D. Spreng,...»

«Landau’s “Grundlagen der Analysis” from Automath to lambda-delta Ferruccio Guidi Technical Report UBLCS-2009-16 September 2009 Department of Computer Science University of Bologna Mura Anteo Zamboni 7 40127 Bologna (Italy) The University of Bologna Department of Computer Science Research Technical Reports are available in PDF and gzipped PostScript formats via anonymous FTP from the area ftp.cs.unibo.it:/pub/TR/UBLCS or via WWW at URL http://www.cs.unibo.it/. Plain-text abstracts...»

«Hunter College and Graduate Center Anthony G. Picciano and Jeff Seaman K–12 Online Learning A 2008 Follow-up of the Survey of U.S. School District Administrators Anthony G. Picciano, Ph.D. Professor, Graduate Center and Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY) Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education Graduate Center (CUNY) Jeff Seaman, Ph.D. Survey Director The Sloan Consortium Olin and Babson Colleges Co-Director, Babson Survey Research Group Babson College January...»

«Chapter 4 Message Brokers The messaging systems described in the previous chapter can be seen as an integration infrastructure based on message queues that applications can use to communicate with each other asynchronously. The use of such infrastructure has several advantages. One is that all applications use the same interface (the messaging system API) to communicate with each other, rather than having to integrate each application with the custom API of other applications. The second...»

«Amusement Park Ride A Major Qualifying Project (MQP) Report Submitted to the Faculty of the WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Submitted By: _ _ _ _ Matthew Bailey Cesar Benoit Eric Eoff Meena Khayami Submitted To: _ Eben Cobb – Project Advisor Mechanical Engineering Department April 30, 2015 Acknowledgements We would like to thank Professor Eben Cobb for the opportunity and for advising us...»

«Technical Note ForeScout CounterACT: Virtual Firewall ForeScout CounterACT: Technical Note Virtual Firewall Contents Introduction..........................................................................................................................................3 What is the vFW?.........................................»

«INALCO 2009, Proceedings of the 15th Inuit Studies Conference, Orality (Paris, 2006) About Masks: Conversations from Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska Margaret B. Blackman Department of Anthropology SUNY College, Brockport (New York, U.S.A.) mblackma@brockport.edu Abstract For 50 years the Nunamiut of Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska have been making skin masks by a technique that they invented, casting wet caribou skins on wooden molds. For 50 years the Nunamiut have also been talking about their village’s...»

«Chapter 2 Crafting Platform Strategy Based on Anticipated Benefits and Costs Bruce G. Cameron and Edward F. Crawley Abstract In this chapter, we introduce the benefits and penalties of commonality (both to the customer and the manufacturer), emphasizing the need for anticipation of divergence when estimating benefits. We highlight the importance of mapping commonality strategy to the financial benefits, with a view to creating long-term competitive advantage for the firm. 2.1 Introduction...»

«OPTIMAL PRODUCTION OF POTABLE WATER CASE STUDY: AGONA SWEDRU GHANA WATER COMPANY LIMITED (GWCL) BY NYAME, MOSES (B.Ed. Mathematics) A thesis submitted to the Institute of Distance Learning to the Department of Mathematics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology In partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science Industrial Mathematics September, 2011 DECLARATION I hereby declare that this submission is my own work towards the MSc. And that, to the best of...»

«National Technical University of Athens School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Institute of Communication and Computer Systems Behavior Change Support System and Methodology ( Μεθοδολογία και Σύστημα Υποστήριξης Αλλαγής Συμπεριφοράς ) Diploma Thesis ILIAS E. PAPADOMARKAKIS Supervisor : Gregoris Mentzas Professor N.T.U.A. Athens, October 2014 National Technical University of Athens School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Institute...»

«Celtic Kiwi Kids Show Resource Kit Bob Bickerton Copyright © Bob Bickerton 2003 All rights reserved. No part of this resource kit may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, without prior written permission from the publisher, with the exception that parts may be copied for school’s internal use for educational purposes only. First published in 1997 by Bob Bickerton. Second edition published in 2002 by Bob...»

«IMPORTANT Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited and The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited take no responsibility for the contents of this circular, make no representation as to its accuracy or completeness and expressly disclaim any liability whatsoever for any loss howsoever arising from or in reliance upon the whole or any part of the contents of this circular. If you are in doubt as to any aspect of this circular or as to the action to be taken, you should consult a stockbroker or other...»

<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.abstract.xlibx.info - Free e-library - Abstract, dissertation, book

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.