Over the past decade the RUEbot
evolved from design, construction and programming into a motion control
system rivaling most. Initially, the camera system offered dolly, crane, tilt
and pan movements for my puppet animation
wanted a system that mirrors the sensation of animating in real life as opposed
to computers. The process to integrate these two modes proved more difficult
than expected. Each method approaches motion quite differently. As an example,
things like gravity got in the way; puppets embrace gravity
whereas computers ignore it. It is more difficult to make something appear
light in weight with puppets and equally as difficult to make something appear
heavy in the computer. Each actualizes in the opposite way, almost to the
extent where I can predict the method to achieve something in the computer
by imagining the reciprocal approach in real life. Eventually I found a connection. In
The main objective was to develop a system to speed the process of computer animation and still produce a richly textured image. It requires less time to integrate the animation into a digitally captured background than to have every element of the scene created in computer space. This premise proves true, however, to comply with a motion control system is another matter.
Rendering time is greatly reduced, as only the characters need be generated. Shadow objects that play on the background are very basic shapes. More intricate, complex gestures and nuances are possible due to the low overhead on computer processing. Essentially, more time and energy is spent on animation rather than on calculation.
First, I shoot the tabletop animation digitizing each frame sequence directly
into the computer. In the case of SHEOL and
Next, I place the computer-animated characters in reference to this background and make adjustments. Because the camera movement and character placement derive from the same point-of-view inside the 3D animation program, multiple passes combine perfectly in sync to one another.
Finally, the images are composited and enhanced to meld seamlessly together. With lighting and blending techniques available from most basic tools offered by photographic software this task also minimizes computer rendering time. There are countless anomalies associated with computer animation which consumed a great deal of time and effort to lock. I am proud to say this system is now in place and operational I call the RUEbot.