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Editor's Notebook

Surprises in store...

Heather Kenyon

One of the great things about being a fan of animation is that there is always something new in store -- and motion-capture and stop-motion are possibly two of the most exciting, growing areas.

While some feel that motion-capture is somehow cheating or not true animation, I think we need to keep an open mind and get ready to be really impressed by this sector of our business. There is no doubt that technology will continue to improve on the motion-captured animation that we have seen to date. The most exciting aspect is that it is going to bring different applications of animation to new arenas. Want to see Buzz and Woody yucking it up with a favorite late night talk show host? One day you might... Want to see your favorite actor in a sequel 30 years after the original film came out, but he or she is still looking the same? One day you will. Do you believe that actors, actresses and other celebrities will own the rights to their digital movement data and be able to license it out for a fee? That day is coming and the legalities are already being discussed. So while some are pondering the rights of the real, others are skipping ahead of the legal mumbo-jumbo and creating the unreal. "The Future Of Motion-Capture Animation: Building The Perfect Digital Human?" by Laura Schiff looks at the latest in the quest to create a believable digital human, the ultimate in difficulty. I can see a lot of live-action directors being interested in this concept after a difficult shoot with a temperamental star! Moreover, with the advancement of the Internet we are going to be seeing more hybrids using motion-capture technology. Indeed the Animation World staff was just invited to the opening of a new facility and school here in Los Angeles that plans to train students in motion-capture, and also lead them into the uncharted waters of motion-capture, or real-time performance animation and the Internet. Spectrum Studios is only one example of the tip of a rising iceberg, as motion-capture widens its applications and pays smart attention to niches that traditional animation is overlooking.

Stop-motion is also reaching stunning heights. While last year we were agog that stop-motion had taken to the smaller screen with The PJs, now stop-motion is coming to the big screen in a huge way. As Wendy Jackson Hall discusses in "The Genuine Aardicle," Aardman Animations has a feature stop-motion film coming out this summer and has already clinched a four picture deal with distributor DreamWorks SKG. Henry Selick is once again in full production; this time on Monkey Bone, a new stop-motion feature to be released by 20th Century Fox toward the end of the year. Two stop-motion feature films being released from major US studios in the same year?! While we whine and grizzle that marketers and audiences are slow to make the daring leap and embrace different animated films I think this is proof that slow baby steps are being taken in the right direction.

Until Next Time, Heather