Avatar and the Virtual Camera

Filming computer-generated scenes is usually a big - and time-consuming - pain.  Enter the virtual camera.  This new technology used in James Cameron’s 3-D sci-fi epic, Avatar, (which I'm seeing tonight!) and Capcom’s Resident Evil 5 videogame marks the next generation of animation creation.  Programmers first create a virtual environment which serves as the set.  But instead of peopling the world with animated characters, a director shoots a scene on the fly on a handheld screen using actors in motion-capture bodysuits.  In the deft hands of a filmmaker like Cameron it brings a freshly – and fleshly - organic feel to the CG process. It'll be interesting to see future applications of this in film and games.  

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Sandbox

IEEE Spectrum’s gaming blog was retired in 2010, but it is preserved here for archival reference.

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