Jim Henson Introduces Real-Time Animation

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  02 February 2005
Jim Henson Introduces Real-Time Animation


Screen Savers Show Notes

Jim Henson Productions

(Note: The above links don't really cover much more of this real time animation system. Oddly enough I couldn't even find any stuff on Henson's site. I will continue the quest, tho'!)

On The Screen Savers' Thursday (24 Feb.'05) show there was a segment about Henson's proprietary real-time animation system. It was really cool to see. I believe it was dubbed "New Media Animation" and basically consisted of animated characters that can be controlled and react in real time such as on live TV like The Screen Savers. This system definitely opens up the door to many possibilities. The real time animation is basically handle by two persons (puppeteers), one controlling body movement using an upper body armature rig and foot pedals, and the other doing voice while using a hand control rig to actuate the intricate mouth movements.

Presently the technology is being used in production of their new animated series "Frances" (sp.?) and the new Call of Duty video game. Due to NDAs he couldn't mention any of the other upcoming projects the real-time system will be incorporated into.

Listen: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Last edited by Signal2Noise : 02 February 2005 at 05:17 PM. Reason: Links added
  02 February 2005
Henson is a cool company, but this technology is nothing new.

Michael Ferraro, founding partner of Blue Sky and head of Possible Worlds in New York has developed and successfully used this technology a while ago.

Here's a link to his site and a quick description of his techniques:


I've seen a demonstration in person, and it's very cool.

I still prefer keyframed animation however.
Floyd Bishop

YouTube Channel
Char Maya Character Rig
  02 February 2005
People from Henson were demo-ing that at one of the Nvidia booths at SIGGRAPH last year. It was neat.
During a witch hunt, avoid wearing pointy hats.
  02 February 2006
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