MARLIN STUDIOS PEOPLE N MOTION FAQ

What exactly is People N Motion?

People N Motion is actually two libraries. One library depicts people in Business attire, the other in Casual attire. Each library depicts animated people standing or walking. There are 77 total photographed characters included in 69 animations the two libraries. . Each has a set of sequential animation files that allow you to create the illusion of people walking left and right, forward and backward; and standing while conversing with other characters, talking on cell phones, turning book pages, lecturing, examining objects, looking around, etc. Arm and hand gestures, body shifts and lip movement are typical of the standing animations.

In what applications can I use People N Motion?

Any application where you want to depict characters. You can use them in animations to "populate" your walkthroughs and flybys. Or, you can select from the thousands of still character images for use in still scenes by either rendering them in your favorite 3D program or compositing them onto an existing scene with a 2D program such as Adobe Photoshop . Example applications are architectural renderings, computer games, product visualizations, Flash animations or any general graphics scene.

Why would I use these alpha channel images rather than posed and animated 3D objects?

Two very big reasons: 1.) Because the characters are photographed (or rather, digitally recorded), they are much more realistic than 3D objects, and 2.) They are more scene efficient - the size of a typical 3D character object can range anywhere from several hundred to several thousand polygons, and it also requires a variety of intricately placed texture maps. People N Motion characters require only one plane that moves across a scene. In a large scene with 50 characters, you could save hundred of thousands of polygons! This makes for quicker setup times and faster renders - something all of us strive for.

What file types are used?

All images are presented in high-quality JPG format. Each character (or group of characters) has a set of image files and a companion set of files defining alpha channel transparency. Also, each has a set of smaller sized files. The general file size of the large images is in the 350 pixels wide by 600 pixels high range. Small images are in the 115 pixels wide by 200 pixels high range.

How is People N Motion used in a 3D program?

Each Character consists of hundreds of images representing the character's motion over time. These images are displayed on a plane that is set to move at the same rate the images change. This creates the illusion that a character is walking in a scene. This is easier to set up than you might think.

How about shadows - do the characters generate shadows?

For the characters to create shadows the scene lights must be set to Raytrace. If the lights are set to Raytrace and are positioned so that they are essentially perpendicular to the long side of the plane, then reasonable approximations of shadows can be made.

Do the character animations loop?

The People N Motion characters indeed are looping animations. The loop cycle is the number of unique frames for a character. These frames have been set up so the first and last frames integrate, forming a continuous loop. Therefore, if you set the character's material to loop, you will have continuous motion regardless of the number of frames in the animation.

OK, so the frames loop, but won't they be too repetitive over a long animation?

Most of the characters contain anywhere from 10 to 25 seconds of unique motion. This motion may show the character looking around, down forward, etc. While it is possible that the motion may appear repetitive, the very fact that walking is a repetitive motion tends to obscure any repetitive illusion.

Couldn't I just create animated character texture maps myself?

You could create these yourself, but here's what it would involve. 1.) Hire professional models who are experienced with taking direction and appearing natural before a camera, and secure their permission release. 2.) Rent a "green screen" studio and associated studio equipment and personnel. 3.) Purchase sophisticated digital imaging cameras and editing equipment. 4.) Purchase state-of-the-art software for post-processing. 5.) Take off several months from your normal job and stay up late at night creating alpha channel images, sizing, color matching, etc. etc. And finally, 6.) Get out your checkbook and pay bills of $50,000 or more! :) And don't forget to feed the models from a caterer!