Friday, April 25, 2014

Source Filmmaking

Technology is constantly trying to reach new heights in every aspect of filmmaking; that includes animation. I decided to do some research to see what I could find. The most interesting article I came across, described a new animation tool from Valve called the Source Filmmaker (SFM). This is a program that allows you to make films by using the world of a video game. The video below does a great job on describing this technology, but what I thought was the most interesting was that SFM allows the animator to create scenes from action, camera, to lights, instead of the typical order, lights, camera, then action. Even after they have created the whole film, they can pause a scene and play with lighting, camera angle and even change facial features in order to tell a different story. The facial feature aspect was the most impressive, since the technology allows for subtle nuances. 

Though I can't see this technology becoming a huge hit in the professional world of animation right now, I think it offers a lot of opportunities to viewers, especially since new audiences are starting to lean towards stories and environments they can influence. Look at how many reality shows rely on audience tweets or participation to determine the outcome of the participants (ex: Opposite Worlds). They have already done this with some chapter books. At the end of the chapter, the reader can decide which action the character should take and will be told which chapter is the next one to read based on that action. There are even websites that allow you to create shorts where the audience can decide what will happen to the characters. All of these are in the beginning stages, but just think what this could mean for the cinema experience. Instead of being drawn into a story, we can decide how the story should end, which defeats the whole purpose of watching a story unfold in my opinion. I'm not saying that this is what SFM is trying to do, it's just the concept of always being able to manipulate a story in anyway that is growing. I think SFM is actually very interesting and can't wait to see where it takes the industry, although I think most animators will stick with traditional methods for now. 

Here is a link to the SFM website for more information. Here is the article I first used as a reference.

By Amber Capogrossi

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