QUOTE 19 from:
Kaiser, P. (1988a) 'Unreal Pictures: conversation with Michael Girard and Susan Amkraut' [online]. Available from: http://www.kaiserworks.com/duoframe/duoideas.htm; accessed on 22/04/05
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But now you've gone further than footstep control of single figures. With the Motion Flow Editor, you've created an even higher level means for controlling and choreographing multiple motions for multiple figures. Can you describe how motion flow networks operate?
A general strategy for the architecture of complexity is to build components first, then combine those components into larger wholes. A major problem in animation systems, and of motion design in general, is that there has been no building block other than the keyframe, which is a single posture of a single element at a point in time. Now we have building blocks or components that are entire motion fragments or motion clips.
With the Motion Flow Editor, you can construct complex sequences of motions from motion fragments or "clips".
Let's say you set up a motion network of a clumsy monkey who keeps tripping and falling down in the forest. In the Motion Flow Editor, you can set up any number of paths (called "scripts") through different clips of his motion, so that you might have him walk, run, trip on a rock, fall down, stand up -- then walk, run, trip on a rock, fall down, stand up again, and then throw a tantrum.
One can make a cybernetic set of possibilities given any set of motions -- of how you might connect them. We developed the Motion Flow Editor for you and Shelley to use with Merce Cunningham and Bill T. Jones. But we also did it with an eye towards video game developers. It was interesting to see how their needs converged with those of choreographers.
Game software often contains a figure animation engine, which lets the user control the motion of any particular animal or figure in the game. Depending on what buttons the user pushes, the game engine will branch to a different motion, blending the first motion into the second. Character Studio allows game developers to explicitly represent that architecture of their game engine.
Now the choreographer faces a challenge similar to that of a games developer. Given a set of motions, how do you build an architecture for a larger ensemble of motions? How do you string them together? Starting from one motion, you could consider any number of possible movements to join it to.