Looking for solution and software/hardware suggestions. Small budget, but that's not an absolute, just a desire......
We have the computers and storage equipment. We have video editing experience and have had minimal experience with 3d Max (many versions ago). We have key frame experience for graphic animation and keying experience for mixing green screen with humans. We have no 2d or 3d character animation experience.
Will develop 4-10 characters that will be used over a long period of time. Leaning towards 2d, but could use 3d. Characters will develop some human type attributes, and will be used to deliver a message or evoke a discussion about certain subject matter. Think of taking a Sunday comic strip and animating them in 5-10 minute pieces for ipod, internet streaming, and standard and HD video delivery.
Dialog will be recorded (generally 1-3 characters at a time) before the animation sequence needs to be created. Very little action required other than lip sync and normal body movements while talking.
I know the big boys can use sensors and control their characters that way. Wouldn't mind that, but I have no idea what the cost of entry level systems are.
Once characters are created, most of the work will be in getting the dialog and related movements into the characters.
When MSNBC first started out years ago, they had a tech cafe where Soledad O'Brien (CNN now) would go into a cafe and talk real time with a computer generated character and talk about computer issues.. Probably expensive technology back then, but maybe something not so expensive today? Would love to do this in real time and record or key the characters into a virtual studio or drawn backgrounds.
I'm guessing Maya, 3d Studio, Toon Boom, or Flash would all work. Do the 2d programs allow for sensors to input the data for lip syncing and other movements? Is Maya or 3d Studio just used for 3d?
To summarize, what's the best way to produce many hours of character based animation. Software only? Software with input from sensors? At what cost?