“Acting-Centred Definitions of Vactors, Synthespians, and Digital Doubles” presented by Kennedy


Session Title:

  • Photography / Film / Video

Presentation Title:

  • Acting-Centred Definitions of Vactors, Synthespians, and Digital Doubles




  • This paper is an attempt to formalise definitions of different types of performance common to computer-generated (CG) characters in feature films, and to create a taxonomy of modes of performance among these characters. Terms such as a “virtual actors” (vactors), “synthespians”, and “digital doubles” are frequently, but incorrectly, used interchangeably due to a lack of established definitions. What is the relationship of these terms to each other, and how should they be understood from both technological and performancebased perspectives? By articulating clear definitions for these terms, it is possible to theorise a variety of performance types specific to CG characters in feature films. These categories provide an expanded understanding of how performance is created among CG characters, and draws into question whether classic examples of synthespians are really synthespians at all.