Bringing Interactive Animated Characters Out to the User


Session Title:

  • Computers in Theatre: New Dimensions for Stage, Actors & Audience

Presentation Title:

  • Bringing Interactive Animated Characters Out to the User



  • Improvisational Animation is an emerging technique for using computer-based technology to create the illusion of responsively intelligent animated characters. A Virtual Improv troupe has some of the properties of live theatre — every performance is unique, and the virtual actors can modify their performances in response to their audience. At July 1998, at the SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre, our Improv troupe performed the first live theatrical performance by a troupe of virtual actors.

    We have been exploring methods of getting our virtual improv actors ‘off the screen.’ We have created robotic actors that move around in the physical world, and respond, with the appearance of emotion, to the physical actions of people. We’ve also been developing autostereoscopic displays that create the illusion that a computer graphically generated character is literally in the room, much as if the Princess Leia hologram in the film Star Wars could interact with her audience. Ken Perlin, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at New York University, directs the Media Research Laboratory and the Center for Advanced Technology. Professor Perlin was the recipient of a 1997 Technical Achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his contributions to computer generated special effects for motion pictures.