Animation Democracy

Advice to a Young Artist

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with a starting multimedia student. You see, a short interview with a person in the industry was an admissions requirement for her multimedia program.

Yeah, it was flattering. But we didn’t let it go to our heads too much. 🙂

However, the closing interview question started a discussion that we felt should be shared with our readers here on Posermocap.com. It was an inocuous enough question–“do you have any closing advice or comments?” but it opened up two interesting threads.

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Can Poser really be used to make a Movie?

This is not an unusual question. Both Poser and Daz|Studio have long been known as methods for creating outstanding looking still images, but not so much for animation.

Now, if you go onto any CG Animation forum on the net, you’ll likely find that lower-cost programs like Poser and Daz|Studio are not held in the same esteem as more expensive programs like Maya, 3DS MAX, Lightwave and Softimage. The perception is certainly out there that “good” animation needs expensive software and that the more expensive the software, the better the animation.

While it is true that the more expensive programs tend to have extensive toolsets, the capabilities of lower-cost programs have been expanding tremendously over the past few years. And for programs like Poser and Daz|Studio, they can indeed be used to make movies.

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Mocap – the Animation Rocket Engine

When it comes to getting character animation done, few methods are as powerful or as fast as using Motion Capture data. By using live actors to generate animation data, you get all the subtleties and nuances of motion that are incredibly difficult to replicate using keyframes. Instead of spending days keyframing a performance, you can potentially have your animated character brought to life with a single click.

It can really be like strapping on a rocket engine to get you moving through your animated project.

Imagine being able start animating a scene in minutes, rather than hours. How many more scenes could you get done in a single day? How many films could you get done this year?

As exciting as Motion Capture is, there are some issues with the technology that have to be anticipated when you’re planning your production.

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Animation Democracy

These are good times for people like us who grew up with a passion for animation. No longer is animation meant exclusively for those with deep pockets. Instead, the cost of both computer software and hardware has come down to the point where anyone can create an animated film of their own.

Yes, that’s right. Anyone.

While contemporary theatrical animated films can have budgets that reach nearly USD$200 Million, there is an explosion of independent animated films being released on the internet and direct to DVD by people working out of their homes on desktop and laptop computers with production budgets that might just reach upwards into the hundreds of dollars. Maybe. Powerful computers and powerful software, combined with gigabytes of low-cost content available online put animated filmmaking within reach of anyone.

It’s a true animation democracy.

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