Stop-motion animation made easy with new tech

A video-based interface that effectively erases hands used to create stop motion will drastically cut down the time and effort required to make animation.

A video-based interface that effectively erases hands used to create stop motion will drastically cut down the time and effort required to make animation.

Now you see the hand, soon you won't. (Screenshot by CBSi)

Traditionally, stop-motion animators have had to meticulously craft each frame by manipulating objects with hands, rigs and other objects. These supports would then have to be either moved out of the frame or keyed out. A team from the City University of Hong Kong, University of Science and Technology of China and Adobe has collaborated on a video-based interface to take the hassle out of animating for first-time users.

To get started, the user has to move the object around using their hand. Then, the system chooses a series of key frames based on that motion. Users then align the object with the system's chosen key frames, with a different hand position. The next stage involves the system creating a composite of the previous images, and removes the hands. If there's an error, the user can paint over the relevant areas to correct the composite.

The video below gives a great representation of how easily the system deals with "erasing" a hand from the scene, resulting in a more natural effect compared to a rig. As pointed out by Adobe's John Nack on his blog, the magic starts to happen at 2:20.

Keep an eye out for the team's nod to Pixar's trademark animation Luxo Jr, as it makes a lamp can jump across the frame to inspect a piece of paper.

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