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Animated Mr. Bean Will Appear Live on Facebook Today

Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean like you’ve never seen him before: as a real-time animated character.

A “live” Mr. Bean character will make his debut later today on Facebook, appearing on his fan page which has over 70 million likes. The real-time performance, which is scheduled to run for half an hour, is powered by Adobe Character Animator.

“This is a tremendously exciting project and we can’t wait for the Mr. Bean fans on Facebook to join in the fun for this innovative new experience,” Frances Adams, global director of brands and licensing for Endemol Shine Group, said in a statement. “The Mr. Bean brand is seeing phenomenal online growth which is testament to the bold and ambitious work of the wonderfully talented teams here at Endemol Shine Group.”

Endemol is the latest company to experiment with Character Animator (currently in beta), a software in which artists can set up cartoon characters to be controlled in real-time by either a mouse or keyboard shortcuts. Everything from lip sync to walk cycles is automated, and while the results still leave something to be desired, its potential is readily apparent.

We’ve covered other tv shows that have used Character Animator, among them The Simpsons and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, but this Mr. Bean event is among the first high-profile projects to use the software’s livestreaming integration, which Adobe just added to the package last month.

Mr. Bean goes live at 3:30pm BST. For those in the United States, that’s 10:30am ET/7:30am PT. Here’s a short video made with Character Animator that promotes today’s live episode:

  • Marc Hendry

    well the preview definitely sucks, but do you reckon this is closer to puppetry than animation?
    And is puppetry a form of animation anyway?

    • AmidAmidi

      A lot of people argued 30-40 years that computer animation was not really animation. As with any nascent technology, it’s best to let it evolve instead of immediately trying to assign definitions.

      Even if it’s not animation, there’s little doubt that in the coming decades, technologies such as this will replace the work of a lot of low-end animation productions that currently require animators.

      • Marc Hendry

        I imagine there’s a lot more re-use in South Park than an average show, but I don’t know to what extent it’s automated.
        I guess “Mario in Real Time” didn’t revolutionise low-end CG production, so I’m not totally on board with your prediction. Although I don’t think I’m picturing how this would be used the same way you are, could you explain a bit more?

  • otterhead

    While I appreciate the ever-improving idea of real-time animation, and I’ve always loved Mr. Bean, the animated version just strikes me as disturbing. Rowan Atkinson walking around being silly and grunting was funny; an animated character making random grunts and strange noises is the opposite of charming.