Last night, television history was made as Homer Simpson was animated in real-time and broadcast live into millions of homes using Adobe Character Animator.
How is this even possible, you're likely asking yourself? Well, voice actor Dan Castellaneta, famous for his years-long vocal portrayal of Homer Simpson, improvised a three-minute live segment where he responded to questions submitted by fans. The team at Fox Studios used Adobe Character Animator, which allows users to animate 2D characters in real-time, to capture the performance, translate it into the Simpson's visual world, and then broadcast it live. Here's the version of the segment that aired on the East coast of the US.
Though the segment itself isn't particularly funny, with the exception of some of the characters who parade across the screen, it's still absolutely fascinating that the Fox team was able to pull this off, and with a piece of software that's widely and inexpensively available no less. Of course, motion capture has been around for ages. But what happened last night was not the result of some high-end motion capture setup with hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars worth of custom gear and software. It was powered by a consumer-facing program that makes it dead simple to animate 2D characters and environments. In the same way that happened to music and videos, this signals a bit of democratization of animation. It's obviously not going to put any high-end animators and studios out of business, but it will make it significantly easier for people with no experience whatsoever to create animated characters and scenes. Lastly, considering that Character Animator is still technically in beta — or "Preview" as Adobe likes to call it — it's safe to say that we've only scratched the surface of what this platform will enable creatives to accomplish in the future. [Source: Adobe Blogs]