Sunday, August 10, 2008

Physics in Antics.

Wow, the implementation of lighting and shodows to the feature set of Antics really shows what a talented bunch they are in the Antics Labs. And it was done in a very short time it seems. I'm sure we'll be reviewing the character modification toolset in the not too distant future. In the meantime, I'd like to raise the subject of physics. As we all know Antics has evolved from a game engine technology and as such I'm sure a teamup with a physic engine like Havok would yield some spectacular results.
The wow factor when I first used Antics, was the 'click and point' simplicity of the product. The ability to get something to go from "a" to "b" so quickly was impressive, that, combined with the automatic invoking of walk cycles and animations really gave a sense of A.I. to the character. Which in turn really opened up the xreative opportunities to a user.
The next evolution of that, in my mind, is to be able to perform actions which are based on physical world properties.

Havok Physics, better known as simply Havok, is a physics engine developed by Irish company Havok. It is designed for computer and video games by allowing interaction between objects or other characters in real-time. By using dynamical simulation, Havok allows for more lifelike worlds and animation, such as ragdoll physics or intelligence in massive falling things. Another product worth investigating is Endorphin. Endorphin is a dynamic motion synthesis software package developed by NaturalMotion. Endorphin can be used to generate computer simulations of large numbers of independent characters interacting with each other and the world according to brief scripts or 'behaviours'. It combines physics, AI, and genetic algorithms to create realistic animations. Essentially it is a simulator for characters. It allows for an animation to be derived from the setup of a number of physical properties. (like Gravity, surface tension, forces and mass, that type of thing.)

The ability to expand the product's appeal to simulate real world events could bring on an entirely new market base. Imagine re-enactments and crash investigation performed realtime, after a minimal setup of variables, on a laptop, on location! (try seeing that on CSI!)

For every action there's an equal and opposite Antics Action.


Alejandro said...

To use physics in 3D animation it's helpful to know some of the basic laws of physics. Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation we're writing a number of free tutorials on physics specifically written for animation artists. These tutorials should be especially helpful for artists who've not had any physics in art school. These tutorials may be downloaded at:

previz said...

Thanks for that!