If there’s one thing better than watching an animated character on TV, it’s being that character. And new technology developed at the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Applied Learning will soon make it possible.
Using advanced real-time animation tools and interactive cable television technology, viewers will be able to participate as animated characters in television shows, their voices controlling the characters’ lip movements and basic facial expressions. But interactive real-time animation is only one part of the package. Many more viewers will be able to take part by pressing buttons to express their views or vote on outcomes. “We can have a hundred thousand people participating,” explains Professor Avrim Katzman, the Sheridan Institute researcher who is spearheading the project.
One of the earliest applications will likely be the production of television game shows in which a handful of home viewers play animated contestants. A much larger home audience will provide feedback on their performance, through cable set-top box, via the Web, or with text messaging. The first game show is already in development, in partnership with a Toronto production company. Game producers in England have also expressed an interest.