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Geppetto is part of a broader concept that we’re researching called "People Power." The basic idea is to try to assemble all the components you’d need to create, manage, and control large crowds of characters. Our research goal is to solve three big problems:
- Creating believable motion easily (Geppetto)
- Creating the look of any kind of human population or demographic and allowing for cultural influences (Evolver)
- Creating an efficient framework for interacting with tens of thousands of such characters
EvolverRecently Autodesk acquired Evolver.com, and we’ve chosen to make the existing web site available to those of you interested in Project Geppetto. Our long term interest is to pair the Evolver technology with Project Geppetto to efficiently create large, randomly varied visual styles of Geppetto actors. Right now, the Evolver actors will not directly connect to Geppetto because we haven’t had the time to wire it all up. We’re providing you with free access to the Evolver site so that you can begin to give us feedback on how Evolver should interface with Geppetto. Please use the Geppetto forum on the AREA to submit your ideas and impressions.
Ocean of MotionAutodesk has been researching the underlying technology behind Geppetto for over five years. The technique is more sophisticated than simple blending techniques that result in the awkward and implausible motions used in video games. Geppetto is based on a fundamentally new approach to how motion data is processed and applied to characters. Motion data from key frames or motion capture clips are synthesized in such a way that variations of the original performances can be interactively applied with a high degree of quality. The process of working with the data is akin to training your characters with performance repertoires. We’re calling this collection of motion that gets processed an "Ocean of Motion" to represent how different our approach is.
Importantly, the approach we’ve taken is not specific to human motions or to crowds. Given the right data, Geppetto could control dogs, snakes, dragons, cars, etc, and with a more directorial itinerary-based interface, Geppetto could be used to block in individual "hero" animation. Because the technology is data-driven its capabilities are limited only by the amount and kind of motion data it has access to.
Geppetto technology can currently solve some of the following problems:
- Path following: Real-time steering of physically correct walking and running motion that follows a specified path.
- Agile responses: Real-time triggering of physically believable agile motions, such as quick turns. This is required for collision avoidance and navigation.
- Object interaction: Seamless and natural real-time interaction with objects in the environment, such as sitting in chairs, or stepping up to climb stairs.
- Intelligent "human-like" dynamic obstacle avoidance: The perception of potential collisions and subsequent evasive actions must mimic the response times and behavior of real human beings.
- Intuitive crowd orchestration: New methods will be introduced that allow artists to directly control the flow and interaction of traffic patterns. Ease of use plays a major role in the design of the intended workflow. Characters are orchestrated in an intuitive high-level fashion through the manipulation of flow patterns, goals, and designated behaviors. The tools are geared toward controls that are fun to use, and accessible to "non-animators" but not at the expense of serious artistic control.
LimitationsGiven the enormous range and intelligence of how humans move in crowds, a guiding principle of the Geppetto development goals is to gradually increase the depth of complexity from a framework that begins with a restricted set of behaviors. The Project Geppetto technology preview is intentionally bounded in scope in order to understand, test, and assess the perceptual "plausibility" of results with relatively simple, manageable crowd scenarios before adding in more complicated motions, skills, and interactions. There are some major limitations in this first manifestation of Geppetto, those details can be found in the User Guide. You’re being asked to evaluate a subset of what we know is needed, not so much to tell us that the known limitations are indeed limitations.
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