This workshop was specially dedicated to animators. It was presented by Ed Hooks, a professional actor who provides training programs for actors and animators alike. The complete ‘Acting for Animators’ workshop was six hours long and held over two days. Below is an overview the topics covered during Part I which was held on Thursday morning. Part II was so popular that it was already full by the time I arrived on Friday morning.

 

Ed Hooks - Photo by Reiner Pfisterer

 

What is acting?
 

Ed Hooks described acting in this manner: “Acting is behaving believably in pretend circumstances for a theatrical purpose.” The goal of acting is to make the audience feel something for a character: this is accomplished by having the emotions of the character (7 primary emotions are anger, fear, disgust, surprise, happiness, sadness and finally contempt.) lead to a physical action.

Mr. Hooks distinguished two types of realities: normal or everyday reality and theatrical reality. Theatrical reality has a structure that is limited in time and space and is used to tell a story.

Within the framework of theatrical reality, he insisted heavily upon one point throughout his presentation: Acting is all about the action. And all actions should be done with the goal of obtaining an objective.
 
 

An objective to obtain, obstacles to overcome
 

According to Ed, while watching a scene, if the acting is effective, we should be able to pause at any moment and understand – through the actions of the character – the objective he or she is trying to achieve.

Every character must have a goal and each action should be justified by this goal. For Mr. Hooks, acting is this: passing from goal to goal through transitory moments scattered with obstacles and conflicts. This last element is equally important to consider when acting. Here are three conflict distinctions:
 

  • Conflicts with oneself
  • Conflicts with another person
  • Conflicts with a situation

 

Each scene can genuinely be considered a ‘negotiation.’ However, one warning considering objectives: emotions are NOT objectives. An objective is an action.

This merely broaches the surface of what Ed Hooks shared regarding the essentials for effective acting, but hopefully it gives you a taste of what was covered.
 
 
«Virtual production on American Sniper, Elysium, Chappie and Warcraft »

Speaker(s) : Brett Ineson (Animatrik Film Design Inc.)
 

Brett Inerson shared with us certain experiences in the production of virtual reality used for the American films Sniper, Elysium, Chappie and soon-to-be-released Warcraft. Virtual reality is now a tool used from pre- through to post-production and is becoming recognized as a department all of its own.
 
 
Perfomance Capture
 

Motion Capture generically refers to the techniques of capturing movements in real time and transferring them into a virtual univers: these movements are saved or recreated in real time on alternate systems. This technique is used to give more realistic movements to an avatar or to create a conceptual representation. Significant progress has been made in motion capture techniques over the past few years. We can see examples of this is in video games (sport, combat and aventure), animated films and in live-action films with CG integration.

 

One must take note that the only difference between Motion Capture and Performance Capture is marketing language.

In recent years, Animatrik has developed several tools that are now well know in the world of Hollywood films, specifically in connection with the production of Warcraft. A large part of this film is being made using these tools to the extent of their capacities.
 

A workshop proposed by OptiTrack which allows one to see real-time tracking.

 
 
Real-Time Motion Capture
 

MoCap tools offer superior quality for pre-visualisation and film shoot planning, helps with decision making in the early stages of filming, offers increased flexibility, allows for experimentation throughout all stages of the production and promises almost endless creative possibilities.

 

It is becoming more and more important that directors and artists are able to see and explore digital environments in real time during a production. This is possible thanks to SimulCam andMoCap.

 

On the set of Avatar with James Cameron, Hobbit with Peter Jackson or even Elysium and Warcraft, SimulCam was a very practical and helpful tool for managing the full CG environments.

Today, we have already made progress in being able to see VR in real time. There is still significant progress to be made in approaching reality and many obstacles to overcome before some of the more intransigent sectors of this technology are accepted. Motion capture alone cannot make this possible.

Important progress in rendering, lighting, modeling, simulation, materials and software need to be made before obtaining a photo-realistic result comparable to current digital photography.
 

Still, one must ask the question: In the future, how will performance capture and real-time visualisation change the approaches of feature films and video games?