View Full Version : What does the future hold for Animators?
11-01-2004, 11:05 AM
Hi everyone, I'm a computer animation student focusing on animation and scheduled to graduate on Nov. 23rd of this month.
I was recently reading the Warhamer 40,000 interview on the intro cinematics and the first thing that caught my eye was "motion capture preformances". The other night while watching SW Episode II I could definitely tell when animations were motion captured and when they were keyframed.
My questions is, as motion capture technology becomes better and less cost prohibitive what role do you think animators will play in creating game and movie animations? Will there still be a need for us or will our identity shift from animating to cleaning up motion capture data? Will the industry keep paying animator's salaries or instead decide to pay a one time fee for a mo-cap setup and keep a few people on to run it?
I guess the same goes for modelers and 3d scans. Eventually the technology will advance to be able to produce models that are functionally sound right off the scan. Where do you see our jobs going in 5-10 years? Do you think the industry will see a resession in the future as technology will be able to do more accuractly and quickly what we're doing now or do you think we'll see more growth in the industry?
11-01-2004, 11:40 AM
I'm guessing it still depends on budget. I was looking for information on motion capture equipment pricing for a studio I have been planning for a few years, and it's still quite expensive. You would also need to hire a person to run the equipment for some of the more complicated systems.
The gypsy 4 full body capture device was around $20,000 US. It's less then paying an animator, but I would still want someone proficient in getting that data translated into a working game engine. Also, unless your a skilled motion actor, you would have to hire someone for that as well.
I would opt for a canned set of motion capture files, with an animator at the helm to provide editing etc.
11-01-2004, 06:15 PM
It depends on the performance I guess, if the character/objects have to do something that isnt humanly possible then keyframe animation will still be required. Things like animating a robot transform or a ninja doing a backwards flip onto a tree wont be possible using mocap. Same goes for modelers, when it comes to making orcs and Robots people will eventually realize that getting an artist to create several figures in clay and then scanning that into a model is less efficient than getting a 3D artist to nock it up quickly.
I know very little about the process for animation in our industry, but I'll throw in my two cents:
You seem to be basing your animation question to game characters specifically. Theres always going to be a need for animators as you can't really mo-cap a tank... (or perhaps we will be able to, although that seems very silly). Also, we won't be able to mo-cap for everything. Take games like Mortal Kombat for instance... doubt anyone can do a bicycle kick for 8 meters (unless its done w/ wire-fu.. but in that case I'm sure getting someone to animate that would be more cost efficient).
11-02-2004, 02:39 AM
Unless they start to manufacture real monsters you still need animators and there are always cartoony games that requier real animatiors.
We have cameras yet people still draw...
BTW dont belive interviews about machine made art (they just want to sound technically advanced), you could ask DaZ or SouL about face scanning for example :P
11-02-2004, 03:01 AM
When you watch making-ofs from movies, one will see that they use a wide range of technology and people's talent. Even as teh big movies have insane funds, you will see they not just purely do clay/3d scan, or only mocap, but eventually make use of everything. Ie solely 3d built models, pure keyframe anims and so on. Also to my knowledge mocap is never "ready for instant use" even when technology gets better, an animator goes over the mocap data and hand optimizes it. I think no skill "dies out", they just get more advanced and probably more connected with other techs...
though I as well have no indepth experience with industry, but love to watch making-ofs moreso than the movies themselves /images/graemlins/wink.gif
11-02-2004, 05:51 AM
i could imagine that animation would become easier in the future for the more repetitive tasks, thus let the animator concentrate on the performance more. dynamics simulation is rather unusable for many tasks right now but i'd expect that to change - in the case of the tank that could mean that the treads are animated automatically based on the movement of the main body relative to the ground - and so on and so on.
there are a lot of horribly complex and non-intuitive animation rigs out there and i'd expect that m uch of this stuff will be automated in the future.
11-02-2004, 10:09 AM
oh I know as it stands now 3d scans and mocap are totally ununseable as raw data. Mocap curves have to be optimized and 3d scans are really just modeling reference but that I know. you guys are talking about what's going on now, I was questioning 10 years into the future.
11-02-2004, 11:44 AM
Mocap has been in use in games for nearly ten years now.
It's really a question of style, does the game designer want the game character to look like a human in a suit or look like a cartoon? Football yes, Zelda no.
Scanning is the same issue in many ways. There are ways already to reduce scans to usable low-res in-game data.
11-02-2004, 09:18 PM
Mocap is used to create realistic detailed movements for realistic detailed characters. There are many instances where Mocap isn't suitable, or even an option. Hulk, yes. Finding Nemo, no. FF: Spirtis Within, yes. Ice Age, no. You'll still have a job lined up.
11-05-2004, 10:17 AM
Your wrong there from what I read. They have a new gypsy suit that does'nt require cleanup, supposedly.
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