Character Animation: Past, Present and Future

Character Animation: Past, Present and Future

Verónica Costa Orvalho, João Orvalho
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-567-4.ch004
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Character Animation has a crucial role in modern videogames: it is essential to provide a realistic and immersive experience to the users. This chapter presents the main problems when preparing characters for animation, describes current solutions, and discusses published research and future directions in the fields of character rigging and animation. Its main focus is on facial animation, which is the key element to convey emotion and personality to a 3D character. It also describes a system we have developed and used on several productions, capable of automatically transfer the facial rig and animations between characters. After reading this chapter, you should have an understanding of the complexity involved in character animation process, especially of the face, and the reasons why it remains a challenge.
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Entertainment Industry Overview

Facial animation is still an immature field, with no defined methodology or standard for character animation. The increasing number of completely computer generated (CG) films (Toy Story (1995, 1999, 2010), Shrek (2001, 2004, 2007, 2010), Ice Age (2002, 2006, 2009), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Madagascar (2005, 2008, 2012), Up (2009)), coupled with the requirement of more complex characters, have generated a growing demand for new and sophisticated 3D tools. But, the videogame industry is overtaking the film industry, according to Wallop (2009): “Videogames are now one of the biggest forms of entertainment in Britain, outselling films in 2009”.

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