Thursday, November 15, 2007

link : NYT article on 'Beowulf'

The NYT recently ran an article discussing the merits of the cg animation in Beowulf.

After reviewing the trailers again, I remain firmly convinced that the film - and the industry itself - is still mired in the depths of the uncanny valley.
The art direction and cinematography in Beowulf are amazing.
But I'm still left with the sense that mo-cap cleanup animators - and 3d animators in general - are so intent on distinguishing themselves from 2d animators that they've left 100 years of collective wisdom behind.

Granted, 3d actors need not require the same level of exaggerated action as their 2d counterparts, but after watching Beowulf I see none of the fluidity of motion of a living/breathing entity; the neck and shoulders are stiff, there is no leading, anticipatory motion. And the eyes...the eyes. Once again the animators have forgotten that our significant emotional connection is read through the eyes. Watch the trailers again. And pay attention to the commentary. It's a great side-by-side comparison of normal vs artificial behavior. None of the characters blink. Ever. None have their eyelids droop. Or dart about.
And as much as Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was derided, I don't think we've learned much since then.

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