Microsoft aims to actually make the “Animate Button”

There are always companies trying to edge out the animator.  Not sure why exactly but it’s clearly something they strive for. Maybe it’s the Lamborghini’s we all drive and the overflowing money stuffed wallets we have ;living large as animators. Oh wait, that’s the CEOs of the companies not us.

From the Polar Express to Tin Tin to the ever increasing use of Mocap, studios see a brighter future free from the chains of us animators. Of course any animator will tell you Mocap only goes so far but that’s another story. Until recently traditional 2d animation has been pretty much impossible to auto complete simply because computers weren’t smart enough to predict what needs to be inbetweened. Anyone who has ever tried Flash’s Shape Tween tool has a clear idea of how well that goes. Well now Wired.com is reporting that Microsoft Research, along with the University of Hong Kong and the University of Tokyo, just unveiled a proof-of-concept technology that could bring back the charm of older, hand-drawn cartoons, with the speed and fluidity of today’s animation software.

From the site:

“Autocomplete hand-drawn animations” debuted at the Siggraph Asia conference, and it’s an interactive system that watches what the artist draws and then predicts what frame or line might come next. It can also smartly connect the dots between two different drawings, and propagate the motion that should occur between the two sketches. This works for color too: fill in the first frame with certain hues, and the system will replicate them.

You can read the entire article here.

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