Is this the future of animation?



  • Check this out, a British product called MovieStorm:

    That's a 2011 demo, and I really don't care very much for the rendering quality of the product (it looks quite 1990s to me). But what's eye-catching, and a total revelation for me, is what's shown from 3:35 to 4:00: you right-click an object, and it shows a set of actions (in that case walk to a point in the floor), then the toon builds its own walk path, opens the door, and stops at that position; and then right-click in the chair and select sit, and then the toon will walk and and sit on it.

    That's brilliant!! This approach will never replace the need to individually animate every bone for uncommon movements, but every animation has a ton of repeatable standard movements (like walk, run, sit, stand up, lie down, grab object, put object somewhere, etc...) that, if one could do these in one click, then it would still be a life safer in terms on productivity -- even if you might need to fine-tune them later on.

    That means creating these actions as a set of poses, and giving these actions some intelligence -- for example, if one was to pick up an object, then he may need to walk to the object, look at it, maybe lean a bit forward, and then grab it with one hand or the other hand. It doesn't need to have a super-intelligence like "if the object is far away and there is a labyrinth in between and a rope above the labyrinth then I'll jump to the rope and swing on it"... no, nothing like that. Just common standard stuff like turn, walk, stop, turn, sit down.

    And that was my realization from this demo - if you can issue a simple command with a pose goal to the animation software, and then the thing creates a sequence of simple poses (turn, step, step, step, step, stop, turn, sit down) that bring the toon from its current pose to the target pose, then that would be a major economy in terms of the work needed to animate toons around.

    What do you guys think?



  • If all you want is movement of any kind it might work. However if you believe that actions are a key part of the telling of the story then it fails. Looked at their site and one of the questions was can I change the size or shape of the body and the answer is NO, what you see is what you use, or something to that effect. The biggest issue is someone has to code all those movements. So that person is either you, the person with the vision of what the story is, or some vendor that you then have to force their vision into your story. The lack of Animation poses for sale is not due any real technical issue rather the fact each animation is very specific to a story. The walk designer is generic enough to be easy to use with simple tweaks to various parameters.



  • I think that as a low-end entry for someone who wants to make an animated movie, it's "OK." It would appeal to those for whom the barrier to entry is technical knowledge concerning the medium.

    But, with some skill, you could get all of that out of one of the Big Three (Unreal, CryEngine or Unity). Of course, you'd have to work a little bit harder and learn the tools you're going to use, but the results would be better. And, that's just because you can easily load up keyed animation sequences. ie"sit in chair" If you wanted to pump it up a notch, you could move to one of the more dedicated, and expensive, platforms.

    Another reason I brought up the gaming engines, aside from price, is that you can get relatively instant feedback - You don't have to endlessly "render" stuffs.

    Unreal short:

    CryEngine short:

    Unity Short:

    A "moviemaker" serious about bringing a particular vision and story to life... isn't likely going to be satisfied with "Moviemaker."

    Considering the amount of technological knowledge that is required for rendering a good animated short out of Poser... The quality and real-time advantages of game engines make it pretty clear that market has a better place to go if they're willing to go there. (ie: "Relearn")

    That doesn't mean, however, that Poser animation doesn't have its uses. It's absurdly easy to do, relatively speaking, and it has a lot of practical uses, especially when one can get really good renders out of it as well. I suppose only if you're at the top of your game with one of the Big Three that you could approach the ease and efficiency that Poser has.

    (SM should, in my opinion, continue to rabidly exploit whatever they can in terms of providing content and ease-of-use when combined with the Big Three engines. That's a growing market and, because of their relatively low entry prices, one that is growing very quickly. Poser would do well to work towards becoming a very powerful addition to Big Three pipelines.)



  • A game engine approach is an interesting point. I know that Blender has a "game engine" thingie there, but I could never understand what it is for.

    You believe that an underlying game engine would have the framework for one to order like "pick that glass", and then the toon automatically turns, moves to near the glass, stops, turns and picks the glass, correct?

    I thought game engines had more low level support would would provide the same thing that Preview window provides in Poser, with effects, sound, controllers, etc... But then again I don't really know what they offer.



  • @fbs7 Personally, I LOVE it. It actually addresses the very reason I first picked up Poser for . The only thing that I could see that would make it better is if the program could actually "read" my script and make the characters and actors act it out.



  • Moviestorm seems to have crashed and burned. I seem to recall that they tried to do the machinima (remember that?) for professionals type product, and iClone was basically the one product that survived. The last posts in their announcement forum were from 2014.



  • @meshbox I hope not. I'm going to see if I can download the software when I get home tonight.



  • @eclark1849 I'm not looking to make a movie quality animation with it, but as a production tool it's brilliant! Especially if you're into screen writing. like I am. Once I write something down I need to get actual actors to read back my words to me. This is a step better, because I can not only have them read back the dialogue, I can actually have them act out the scene and help me visualize it And there are sites on line where I can get a producer to actually download my script and instead of having to read it, he can watch the storyboard acted out, know what shots he needs, locations, props.etc. And if I can import Poser scenes and props, into the program to use even better.



  • @eclark1849 said in Is this the future of animation?:

    @fbs7 Personally, I LOVE it. It actually addresses the very reason I first picked up Poser for . The only thing that I could see that would make it better is if the program could actually "read" my script and make the characters and actors act it out.

    It's a very tempting product, despite the ugly and outdated preview. I wish the Poser team would take some ideas from it.



  • @meshbox said in Is this the future of animation?:

    Moviestorm seems to have crashed and burned. I seem to recall that they tried to do the machinima (remember that?) for professionals type product, and iClone was basically the one product that survived. The last posts in their announcement forum were from 2014.

    If one thing would make it fail is the ugly graphics. But as a concept I think it's fantastic. Imagine that there was something called PoserStorm, which matched Poser's beautiful models and preview window with MovieStorm's intelligent actions.

    That would be a superb match.



  • @eclark1849 said " Once I write something down I need to get actual actors to read back my words to me. "

    There are several decent text to speech engines available some free and others reasonably priced. I know what you're thinking, they all sound lame... too mechanical. Not anymore, if you haven't checked lately you are in for a pleasant surprise.

    Just a thought....



  • @fbs7 said in Is this the future of animation?:
    ...

    You believe that an underlying game engine would have the framework for one to order like "pick that glass", and then the toon automatically turns, moves to near the glass, stops, turns and picks the glass, correct?

    They "can", yes. It all depends on a lot of different things. That doesn't mean you won't have to either build, buy, beg or steal animations to use when making movies in a game engine. But, the entire focus of such engines are to make moving things around much easier, without a lot of tedious work in just getting stuff... to move. I'm sure all the neat animations in the linked movies were done by hand, tweaked for artistic reasons, but that doesn't mean that the vast majority of them couldn't be used over-and-over and keyed to call even more varied ones every time the character was commanded to interact with something.

    (Not sure exactly what you're asking. But, if you're asking about how they can work to do that, I can give a short example. The whole point, though, is that they "can" do that, taking much of tedium out of a lot of traditional animation work. It's why a player can play a game by moving a character around in the first place - That's what these engines are built to do and they do it very well.)

    I thought game engines had more low level support would would provide the same thing that Preview window provides in Poser, with effects, sound, controllers, etc... But then again I don't really know what they offer.

    They provide all that, yes. There are also limitations, too. They're "game engines" and, for instance, while they can look wonderful, they may also use "tricks" that render-people disdain, like "baked" shadows, so things run smoothly, and the like, so dynamic shadows don't have to be calc'd. BUT, then can be dynamic, if you wish, and that is certainly what someone using the engine to make a movie would want. (Some engines limit features in free/lower-price versions. IIRC, being limited to baked shadows was one of Unreal's "free" version limitations. I think that has been lifted, though, since they went to a new model.)



  • @JAFO Got any names I can google?



  • @eclark.... Audiobookmaker, is pretty decent , you can tune speed & pitch ... You can search "text to speech" for others, you can also get add-on voice packs.
    Audiobookmaker is freeware, works well with Poser, you can save the audio file in .wav or mp4 format and the associated text.



  • @JAFO said in Is this the future of animation?:

    @eclark.... Audiobookmaker, is pretty decent , you can tune speed & pitch ... You can search "text to speech" for others, you can also get add-on voice packs.
    Audiobookmaker is freeware, works well with Poser, you can save the audio file in .wav or mp4 format and the associated text.

    I tried TTS softwares in the past, as I don't have any young female volunteers to do voice overs, and Terai and V3 would sound terrible with an old man's voice. Some of them do sound pretty nice and natural, but they have no emotions, that's why I gave up on them.

    One that did drive my attention was Vocaloid. It's a singing software, and because you can enter the intensity, note and duration for each syllable, I suspect one can put some emotion to it (although it will sound quite.. "singy"). And it was actually used in an anime soundtrack (the awesome Paprika from my hero Satoshi Kon), so the quality is pretty good.


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