As a great man once said, the answer to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle, they're on TV! That man was Homer Simpson, and this weekend he appeared in the first ever live segment on "The Simpsons".
In the episode "Simprovised", broadcast on Sunday 15 May, Homer spent 3 minutes fielding questions from fans, his animated character chatting in real time as voice actor Dan Castellaneta improvised answers. Viewers phoned in to challenge Homer with such hot-button questions as whether he prefers Lenny or Carl, or Chicago or New York pizza.
The live animation was possible thanks to Adobe Character Animator, an app that's been available in beta form since last year and can be used alongside Adobe's After Effects CC software. Adobe gave Fox and "The Simpsons" team early access to the upcoming new and improved version of Character Animator, which syncs the lip moments of the voice actor and the animated character.
To create the effect, the animator creates a layered character in Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC software and then simply acts out the character's movement in front of a webcam. Their facial expressions are then instantly converted into animated form.
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