No Need for Actors.
April 18, 2001 1:01 PM   Subscribe

No Need for Actors. While this article has certain phrases meant to incite -- "With quality actors who won’t ask for a bigger trailer or a sauna for their iguana, why then would Hollywood ever cut another cheque for the demanding stars that have always filled our screens?" -- Final Fantasy seems to be the next generation in animation of live actors.
posted by bkdelong (15 comments total)
Featuring the vocal-talents of Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, James Woods, Donald Sutherland and Ming-Na, Final Fantasy is, to put it simply, awesome!

And what are they, chopped liver? Until producers can come up with authentic synthesized voices, you'll still have to hire actual humans to give characters at least a touch of humanity.
posted by mapalm at 1:56 PM on April 18, 2001

And you do realize what "motion capture" is, right? They filmed live actors and animated over their bodies. Only the facial stuff was completely computer-generated. They're not getting rid of actors, they're getting rid expensive actors...
posted by m.polo at 2:09 PM on April 18, 2001

And as animation becomes more lifelike, animators will have to study acting as intensively as they currently do animation.

And let's not forget about the good old live theater, which I firmly believe will never die.
posted by toddshot at 2:35 PM on April 18, 2001

We'll just be replacing expensive actors with expensive 3D artists. Instead of "sauna for their iguana" they'll demand a bigger heat sink for their rendering cluster.

m.polo - Motion capture artists may start getting recognition. "And the award for best body movement goes to......"
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:51 PM on April 18, 2001

y6 - I've long contended that animator/voice artist teams should be eligible for Best Actor-type awards. I've seen some performances from animated characters that rivalled live actors.
posted by toddshot at 3:23 PM on April 18, 2001

Toddshot, my sister's currently studying animation at art school, and one of the classes she had to take was "acting for animators." Animators are already studying acting, though not as intensively as animation.
posted by Jeanne at 4:03 PM on April 18, 2001

m.polo: no, motion capture isn't filming live actors and animating over their bodies, that's rotoscoping - what Ralph Bakshi used to do. Motion capture is using a sensor-laden suit or exo-skeleton (or analysis of stereographic images) to record organic motion which you can then apply to a rendered "synthespian".
posted by nicwolff at 4:24 PM on April 18, 2001

I have recently had the pleasure of seeing a few computer animated Starship Troopers episodes, i am impressed and cannot wait to see what Final Fantasy will be like with obviously a bigger budget.
posted by Zool at 4:37 PM on April 18, 2001

Thanks for the clarification, nicwolff - believe it or not, I was actually thinking of Bakshi's much maligned yet nonetheless interesting "Lord of the Rings" when I typed that... Am I still right, about needing actors, then? Who's in the exo-skeleton, a technician? Or do they hire performers who may be more comfortable "creating" a character?
posted by m.polo at 6:14 PM on April 18, 2001

Jeanne - I should have been more clear. I knew that animators already studied acting. What I was getting at is that it's going to be even more necessary as animated characters gain more and more ability to mimic real people. Thanks, though, for pointing out just how much studying animators have to do! One of my closest friends animates at Pixar, and the level of their work continually astounds me.
posted by toddshot at 6:50 PM on April 18, 2001

And m.polo - from what I've seen, the people in the motion capture suits are usually either dancers or actors with a strong movement background.
posted by toddshot at 6:51 PM on April 18, 2001

Hmmm... Cha-ching! Maybe I should reconsider my abandoning voice-over work? ...Nah! With my luck I wouldn't even be able to land a bit part in Titan A.E. Part Two: Wrath of Unoriginal Plot Devices.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:40 AM on April 19, 2001

By the way, here's the official site for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. If you haven't seen the trailer yet, you really should have a look because it is awesome. (you'll need Flash though, which is pretty much de riguer to get around official movie sites these days)
posted by lia at 4:19 AM on April 19, 2001

If you just want to check out the trailer, it's here.
posted by crunchland at 6:29 AM on April 19, 2001

Anyone ever read "the diamond age" by neal stephenson? one the main characters makes her living as the voice and live animator (mo-cap) of digital actors. As usual, stephenson puts quite a bit of detail into how the whole busniess goes down, and it's pretty interesting. Imagine acting out a part in a movie instead of watching it, and interacting with real people playing parts other parts? A bit far off from final fantasy, but interesting prospects, no doubt. Live, realtime RPG, anyone?
posted by Hackworth at 10:55 PM on July 9, 2001

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