Among the familiar names on the line-up of this year’s Unreal Build: Virtual Production summit — Netflix, Paramount, Industrial Light & Magic — was a relative newcomer. L.A.’s AMGI Animation Studios got going around a year and a half ago, yet already it has the swagger of an old pro.
Colin Brady, veteran animator and AMGI co-founder, gave a presentation at the summit showcasing his studio’s technical approach: a combination of “real-time animation, art direction, and puppeteering.” His aim is to create quality content at “a fraction of the traditional animation times.” Watch the presentation below:
To put it simply, the studio’s process goes like this: motion-captured performers act out facial expressions and bodily movements, which puppeteer the animated characters in real time in the Unreal Engine. These raw movements are applied to a parallel rig in Maya, where the animation is cleaned up. The final animation is then exported back into Unreal to be rendered. The team is focusing on creating expressive cartoon faces, often a weakness in real-time rendering.