The current state of CG and motion capture
June 10, 2016 10:33 AM   Subscribe

AICP - 2016 Reel - Dir Cut : a video created using motion capture, procedural animation and dynamic simulations.
posted by gwint (32 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Possible prior art: Daniel Franke.
posted by gwint at 10:35 AM on June 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


That was beautiful...except, oddly, when faces were shown. It's the weirdest demonstration of uncanny valley I've seen lately. My mind can totally accept someone made out of ribbons or yarn, but put one of those Computer Person Default faces on, and suddenly it all looks very fake. But my goodness, the ribbons and yarn!
posted by mittens at 10:37 AM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I had the exact same feeling, mittens. So odd.
posted by gwint at 10:39 AM on June 10, 2016


"Hey let's show off some cutting edge computer animation!"

"Sure but it'll have lots of jump cuts and shaky cam right?"

"Well of course, otherwise people would be able to get a good look at everything."
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:40 AM on June 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


I loved the addition of cloth on one avatar's head, just to clearly display "yeah, we can do fancy fabric flows, too." (Modeling cloth is hard)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:42 AM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


My kid's in the industry. Sharing this with him immediately. Cloth, fur, strings...ZOMG.
posted by angiep at 10:46 AM on June 10, 2016


Also, the chocolate pudding splat.
posted by progosk at 10:49 AM on June 10, 2016


lots of jump cuts and shaky cam right?

I agree. All that work making the video and motion tracking the actors and programming the movement and the physics of the all the different materials by all those people which could've been made in to a sublime vid, and some idiot thinks that it'll look better if it looks like the camera operator is being repeatedly kicked. They shouldn't have even bothered.
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:56 AM on June 10, 2016


0:57 and 2:04 - Featuring the latest in Gimp technology.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:00 AM on June 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


...except, oddly, when faces were shown. It's the weirdest demonstration of uncanny valley I've seen lately. My mind can totally accept someone made out of ribbons or yarn, but put one of those Computer Person Default faces on, and suddenly it all looks very fake. But my goodness, the ribbons and yarn!

That's sort of the thing with CG demos like this. It's all wildly detailed and flashy bits and colors and effects, moving and moving and moving, and it all quite handily fools the eye. But, convincingly reproducing dull, non-flashy humans remains frustratingly elusive.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:25 AM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Had to pause and laugh at the brief flashes of the figure in the gimp suit.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 11:37 AM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sheesh, yeah, heaven forbid we have an opportunity to SEE the imagery you worked so hard to create.
posted by rlk at 11:47 AM on June 10, 2016


Those of you who are whining about the camera movement: have you considered you're not the target demo? It's a pretty effective music video style and came out great imho.
posted by matt_od at 12:08 PM on June 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


At least with motion capture the figures have weight. But is anyone going to tell any good stories with this technology? Other than Look at what I did!! I guess we need flat screens on our refrigerators to show Timmy's pictures.
posted by njohnson23 at 12:23 PM on June 10, 2016


Well, given that it's categarized not as a music video but as animation, motion capture, and 3D computer graphics, then I'd have to say yes, as a professional computer graphics content producer, I am indeed the target demographic.
posted by rlk at 1:01 PM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Look at what I did! is the entire premise of a demo reel, but rest assured what you're seeing here will definitely be used to tell good stories. Fur, fuzz and cloth have all been used by Pixar before (Monsters Inc, Toy Story) but without motion capture. The ability to apply these effects to motion capture greatly streramlines the ability to create high quality effects for your next favourite TV show and your next video chat.

But is anyone going to tell any good stories with this technology?

If I showed you the latest in animatronic puppets in 1980 you might ask the same question and two years later ET would come out and Gremlins two years after that. The last two Planet of the Apes were both done using motion capture and similar effects, and while you can debate whether they were *good* stories, it's clear indication that this is useful technology.
posted by furtive at 1:02 PM on June 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


So, how many decades until the first computer-generated blockbuster movie is made without any human input whatsoever?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:19 PM on June 10, 2016


Years ago I was an an SIGCHI convention that had an academic demo that took a video and modified it real time on a projection behind the dancer. It was so much fun! Basically colors and swirls but very interactive. Now these guys, real time, with ah, real dancers, could be just so much fun.
posted by sammyo at 1:40 PM on June 10, 2016


So, how many decades until the first computer-generated blockbuster movie is made without any human input whatsoever?

Well you saw this I assume, so we've obviously nailed the scriptwriting at least. And really, given whatever thought process brought us stuff like the Battleship movie and the Christian Mingle movie... how much worse could a computer be?

Starting today's AIs from scratch gives us stuff like Sunspring, but if we brought it up a couple of layers of abstraction, I could see it actually working much better. Instead of literally figuring out a scene word by word, it could figure out a movie scene by scene, drawing from a pool of familiar movie tropes and objects and characters.
A performs action [buy] on object [puppy], resulting in [puppy_belonging_to_A]
B performs action [kill] on object [puppy_belonging_to_A], resulting in [A_becoming_really_pissed_off]
A performs action [violent bloody revenge] on object [B and B's family and everyone B knows or has ever met], resulting in [one_angry_survivor_to_set_up_the_sequel]
Feed this into an engine that renders each scene using stock models and motion sequences, apply shiny impressive textures as seen above, sprinkle liberally with CGI explosions, and Bob's your uncle.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 1:43 PM on June 10, 2016


And as a post-production professional myself, I can recognize that this demo is being modeled after a music video to show potential real-world application. I don't get the complaint. This isn't a research project, it's a demo. It's supposed to be fun and sexy.
posted by matt_od at 1:49 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


That was great, thank you. Finally a technology which is capable of rendering that moment when Ted Cruz peels off his human suit and all the bugs scatter, dispersing into the crowd in search of new hosts.
posted by bigbigdog at 1:57 PM on June 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


I don't get the complaint.

Once I looked up the AICP (Association of Independent Commercial Producers) acronym I knew it would not be subtle and demos need to wedge in every bit of effect and be snappy but it was kindof heavy on the fast cut shaky cam. I could have watched the mocap leaf character of Judith Jamison dancing for hours.
posted by sammyo at 2:08 PM on June 10, 2016


I'm definitely not the target demographic and I loved the hell out of that video. Uncanny faces aside, the physics were almost entirely convincing and the various textures were really engrossing, especially the large play dough one. Imagine Bjork's Hunter with this quality of CGI. Seamless transition between live actor and weird goopy computer model seems like an application with immediate opportunities.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:13 PM on June 10, 2016


'starting today's AIs from scratch'

We don't have any AIs. We are as far from AI as we ever were.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 2:53 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


We don't have any AIs.

Of course we do.

Whether they meet whatever arbitrary criteria you've chosen is another matter.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 3:37 PM on June 10, 2016


The ability to apply these effects to motion capture greatly streramlines the ability to create high quality effects for your next favourite TV show and your next video chat.

"So Todd, thanks again for joining the team on such short notice from Mumbai."
"No problem."
"So Todd, quick question, and it's completely up to you, but I wonder, before we conference in the client..."
"Yes?"
"Why exactly are you wearing a gimp suit?"
posted by leotrotsky at 4:17 PM on June 10, 2016


I am now reassured that the Hyperion movie will be able to make a suitably scary-ass Shrike.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:25 PM on June 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


The ones I liked the most were the loosely affiliated mass of particles. The ones with fabrics were in a way too good because my mind just accepted that those were people in suits. Which is amazing, don't get me wrong. But I liked some of the other stuff better because it was impossible, unreal stuff that looked real.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:46 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, how many decades until the first computer-generated blockbuster movie is made without any human input whatsoever?

I knew it... Michael Bay is a toaster...
posted by mikelieman at 11:08 PM on June 10, 2016


We don't have any AIs. We are as far from AI as we ever were.

But isn't that exactly what they would want us to think?
posted by mikelieman at 11:10 PM on June 10, 2016


While this is really cool, and some of it really beautiful, am I the only person that sees developments like this in visual representation and wonders about verifiable truths and objective reality in the future? Although i can't stand video games i automatically think of how much they will benefit from this, and how much movies will suffer once Hollywood forcibly injects this kind of technology Peter-Jackson style into every unnecessary remake that its focus groups can think of. I also soon go to the perhaps Baudrillard-ian conclusion of what happens in the realm of politics and reality-modeling once this, combined with face-capture, becomes an ingrained facet of the entertainment news cycle. Medium is the Massage and all that. Ubik in every house. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Running Man.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 9:16 AM on June 11, 2016


AICP's actual awards here. Many are far most interesting than this sponsor reel.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:35 PM on June 11, 2016


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