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GETTING INTO NATURAL MOTION

Euphoria and Endorphin 3D animation By Ko Maruyama
More and more animators are turning to Natural Motion software to create dynamic animations based on an artificial intelligence system that calculates and applies amazingly realistic movement to 3D characters.  Natural Motion does just that.  Affording amazingly realistic AI calculations, it's the solution that 3D animators look to.  The company's third product is morpheme which allows animators the opportunity to have a graphically authorable animation engine to allow developers to modify their animation in-game.

While euphoria allows you to come up with dynamic motion calculations for PS3, Xbox 360 and even PCs, and endorphin gives you the opportunity to create simulations offline (for films and even games and other 3D applications), morpheme has a two prong attack on how to make your characters act and react to their environments and forces.


NATURAL MOTION AT SIGGRAPH 2007

Morpheme is much deeper, shipping with source code for the run-time engine called morpheme:runtime and a second part, morpheme:connect, which allows you to take animations through blend trees and pipe them directly into morpheme:runtime to test for those same aps that euphoria supports (PS3, XB360, PC). 




What makes morpheme:connect intuitive to use is its graphical editing. Real-time manipulation by using GUI sliders or even game pads produces even ease-of-use, and allows animators and programmers to quickly get feedback, allowing more time for experimentation.

Red 5 Studios recently announced using morpheme for a next gen game title.  What that game is, they won't say (you may have heard of the Golden Ticket recruiting project), but everyone knows about the history shared by the major players at Red 5 Studios - if you knew, you'd say "wow".

?We added morpheme to our pipeline because we wanted to give our animators more control over the final animations that would go into the game, said Mark Kern, president and CEO of Red 5 Studios. ?In a lot of other systems, after the animators export their work, they don't get to see how the animations interact until it is in the game. If they then need to tweak a transition between animations or states, they have to edit a text file and then run the game again, which usually tears at an animator's soul. morpheme has an intuitive graphical interface that allows animators to go in and setup all these transitions and preview them without involving much programmer intervention. It cuts down on the time that a programmer and animator need to work together to get a system working within the game, and let's the animator focus on what they were hired to do - animate.


For rants, ramblings and general announcements - check out a chaotic blog in the BlogZone:
http://blogs.digitalmediaonlineinc.com/ninjacrayon/

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:events, product review, natural motion, playstation 3, authoring video game, dynamic simulation

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