Machinima Festival on GameSetWatch.com

machinimaNovember 1st 2008, filmmakers from around the world converged in New York to celebrate and discuss the art of Machinima. I was happy to see many familiar faces and meet others whom I only knew virtually. I participated in the Interfacing Virtual Actors panel along with Dr. Ken Perlin, 3D guru and Academy Award winner, Armondo Troisi of Bioware (Mass Effect), and Matt Kelland of Movie storm. GameSetWatch.com has excellent festival coverage in a two part series. Here is an excerpt from their article that details the Interfacing Virtual Actors panel. Below are some photos from the event.
Photo Album: View Machinima Festival Photos
from GameSetWatch.com – Read full article

Interfacing Virtual Actors
The first panel I caught saw each speaker touching upon the concept of game technology as being in essence “live theater…enabling creative decisions in real-time, in the moment.” In that sense, machinima can be best described as digital puppetry.
Each person provided his own viewpoint, as well as technical solution to the struggle of getting virtual beings to look, act, and feel real. Perhaps the two most interesting examples, simply due to their bold-faced differences, were provided by Armando Troisi and John C. Martin.
Troisi, the lead cinematic designer at BioWare, demonstrated a bit of the work that went into animating the principle characters in Mass Effect. The system is a extremely complex one that allows for a wide range of complex human-like emotions to be created and adjusted by the numerous artists behind the game.
As sophisticated as the underlining technology might be, it’s hardly automatic; Troisi noted that everything must go through “the hands of God” — the aforementioned artists who ultimately control the show.
Serving as a counterpoint was the animation suite from Martin’s company, Reallusion; iClone simplifies the process for aspiring filmmakers who lack a certain degree of resources and technical know-how, when compared to BioWare’s experience for example, by providing drag-and-drop tools that take the concept of puppets on a stage to a far more literal level.
The real proof in the pudding was watching Martin animate a video game-like character realistically using the WASD keys. Traditionally, even the simple act of creating a walking animation has been a struggle for many users. Here, it remains quick and dirty, nothing close to resembling BioWare’s final product.
But it works, and is immediately accessible by using a visual language that every gamer, even the most casual ones, can understand. In a Q&A session, most participants agreed that “reality is overrated” and that photorealism is simply a stylistic choice. As was also noted, “the actors in real movies are real, but they can’t help it — they’re real!”

The Cellist – iClone horror movie challenge

http://youtube.com/v/LkVCQ8K1VhY
Tricks and big treats are being served up by iClone users this week as we come to a close on the Halloween movie challange. Here’s the latest entry from John Holland. John is popular for his Utada Hikaru music videos. Turns out, he’s good at horror too.

Renderosity hosts live Q&A with John Martin from Reallusion

“We are very excited to announce that John C. Martin II, VP of Product Marketing for Reallusion, Inc., the creators of Crazy Talk and iClone software is on hand this week to answer community questions. iClone 3 has recently been released to overwhelming reception. To learn more about iClone 3, please see Renderosity Staff Columnist, Ricky Grove’s review here. Also, be sure to stop by the Renderosity iClone Forum that has been abuzz with recent activity.” Nick Charles, Renderosity Editor
Visit Renderosity and join in the discussion.

Euro Machinima Festival – Machinima Tools Panel

The first European Machinima Festival opened with a mass of Machinima film submissions showcasing the growth of the craft and films produced since the 2006 AMAS Machinima Festival in New York.
Official Machinima Festival Trailer (Made in iClone)


Among those films screened and nominated for awards, Reallusion products are showcased in 4 productions featured during the weekend long event in Leicester, England. Machimakers who chose CrazyTalk as the facial animation engine to power their productions included: BEAST – The Binary Picture Show, ONLY – Zarathustra Studios, The Grid Review – Electric Sheep Company and the offical trailer for the European Machinima Festival was created with iClone Studio.
The Festival events include film screenings, discussion panels and the coveted awards for outstanding achievement in Machinima filmmaking. I was invited to present Reallusion’s CrazyTalk and iClone in the Machinima Tools panel discussion accompanied by Hugh Hancock of Strange Company, Friedrich Kirschner of MovieSandbox and Matt Kelland of Moviestorm. Since the festival was being held in Leicester and I was unable to make the jaunt, I connected via webcam over the Operator11.com broadcasting site to address the 250 attendees and take part in the event. Discussion of dedicated Machinima software, tools interoperability, the role of game engines and the future of Machinima were among the topics addressed by the panel. A complete video of my live cam presenatation can be seen below. Good luck to all nominees and congratulations to AMAS on another successful Machinima milestone.
Operator11 webcam broadcast – (avatar fps did not record well)
http://images.operator11.com/swf/o11player.swf
iClone Machinima Filmmaking Demo:
http://video.stage6.com/1736048/.divx