Virtual Stuntmen Fear No Danger
from the another-job-automated dept
If you’ve been to the movies lately, part of the MPAA’s ad campaign against movie piracy has a movie stuntman talking about how all those evil movie pirates are going to put him out of a job. Considering that the movie industry is doing better than ever, he’s pissed off at the wrong people. Wired Magazine is running a story about a company that makes virtual stuntmen that learn their actions through computerized evolution. The characters keep learning and trying new things, until users feel that it’s done the action properly, and can then put it into a movie or a video game. The technology made its big debut in the latest Return of the King, the final chapter of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While digital animation in movies is nothing new, usually it relies on having an actor wrapped up in motion sensors to capture their motions, and then has the computer take over. That works fine for some things, but it’s tough to find anyone willing to be the motion capture subject for dangerous things like being thrown by a huge animal in a battle, or being tackled in a soccer game. Thus, those elements are usually poorly done. However, with this software, you can model a real human’s actions, and keep having the system iterate until it does an action that appears a lot more real than computer animators just trying to fake it.