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Digital Puppetry in Real-time

Presentation Overviews: Sesame Street's "Elmo's World": Digital Puppet Furniture Emre Yilmaz, Protozoa (r.i.p.) Jim Martin, Sesame Street Dave Satin, SMA Realtime In association with SMA Video, NYC Co-Sponsored by NYU CAT

When Mar 30, 2001
from 06:30 pm to 09:00 pm
Where NYC - NYU Warren Weaver Hall
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March 30

6:30PM - 9:00PM
Room 109, Warren Weaver Hall The Courant Institute New York University New York, NY


Last year we received an unusual but exciting request-- to make a drawer bark like a dog, to make a TV set cry like a baby, and to do it all live on set with Elmo.

"Elmo's World" is a daily 15-minute show-within-a-show on Sesame Street. In his imaginary world, the popular red Muppet monster learns about a new concept each day, for instance, dogs, babies, or bananas. The show uses Muppet segments, live action, and computer graphics elements. Among Elmo's friends in this world are four somewhat untrustworthy pieces of furniture. See how these furniture creatures are brought to life using real-time computer animation, or "digital puppetry." The technique is shown in collaboration with a Muppeteer using an experimental motion capture method, which involves outfitting foam rubber blocks with motion capture sensors. Each block represents one of the furniture characters. Using real time software (Protozoa's ALIVE), the animators are able to capture the motion from the blocks, display the computer graphics furniture, and provide a quick, live composite to the puppeteers.2

Possible Worlds
Michael Ferraro and Janine Cirincione, Possible Worlds

Michael and Janine will present and discuss their new work, and their proprietary computer animation production process, Kabuki�. It's a streamlined production system that combines the best features of animation and puppetry: the look and feel of hand-painted 2D cel -- and the reusability, flexibility, and spontaneity of puppetry. It can also be used to puppet claymation and high quality CGI characters. Because Kabuki� generates animation in real-time, it is ideal for special events and live venues, and allows cartoon characters to interact spontaneously with live actors or other animated characters. Their clients include: Nickelodeon, MTV, WGBH, Noggin and WBKids.

Speaker Bios:

Emre Yilmaz, the creator of the puppeteers interface, will show his original work and how it led up to his development of the controls for "Elmo's World".

Jim Martin, Muppeteer and Director on both Sesame Street and Elmo's World. Jim has been with the show for over twelve seasons.

Dave Satin, the engineer and magician from SMA Realtime who makes the whole production happen.

Michael Ferraro, Creative Director and CTO of Possible Worlds. Michael was a founding partner and system architect of Blue Sky Studios where he developed technology and wrote Blue Sky's powerful and award winning CGI Studio language and renderer.

Janine Cirincione, is President and Executive Producer /Content Development of Possible Worlds and most recently was director of Artline, the multi-media contemporary art site on The Microsoft Network.

We would like to thank:

NYU's Center for Advanced Technology (CAT), for co-sponsoring this event;
Polhemus, for their Fastrak motion capture device;
Protozoa, for their Alive software and input devices;
Curious Pictures, for the SGI Octane

Admission: NYC ACM SIGGRAPH Members (including student members) - Free If you are an expired member, you can renew at a special rate of $25.00 until March 30. You can download a membership form here. Non-members - $7.00 Students - $3.00 with valid Student ID Faculty and Students of NYU - Free with valid NYU ID NYC ACM SIGGRAPH Members will be admitted at 5:50PM. The general public will be admitted at 6:10PM. ----

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