The Simpsons goes live

The Simpsons has made history after airing the first ever live animated segment. The three-minute broadcast saw Homer Simpson respond to questions submitted by fans
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The Simpsons has made history after airing the first ever live animated segment.

The three-minute broadcast saw Homer Simpson respond to questions submitted by fans.

The process was enabled by Adobe Character Animator, which combined realistic lip sync and keyboard-triggered animations to deliver the live sequence.

The Simpsons has always pushed the boundaries of what’s next and what’s possible in entertainment,” said Van Bedient, senior strategic development manager at Adobe.

“They’re not afraid to take risks. When it came to putting a live segment into their wildly popular programme, we couldn’t imagine a better opportunity to show what’s next in technology.”

Adobe Character Animator allows users to create a layered character in Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC, bring them into a Character Animator scene, and then act out the character’s movement in front of a webcam. According to Adobe, even subtle facial expressions show up instantly, along with recorded dialogue and other actions triggered by keystrokes.

“People don’t usually associate animation with speed and simplicity,” said Bill Roberts, senior director of product management DVA for Adobe.

“Traditional animation takes a huge amount of time to do well. It’s not easy to convey emotion and action, and if you design too fast, you risk losing all those great ‘in-between’ moments.

“Character Animator is a game changer.”

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