Cutscene Cinema – a community proposal

3D animation is undergoing a revolution. Graphic ability is improving. GPU-powered render pipelines like OctaneRender are visualizing remarkable photorealistic imagery in near-realtime. Meanwhile, mainstream games like Until Dawn and the Assassin’s Creed series are investing in cinematic approaches where player-passive cutsceens have taken over large sections of the game experience….

There is a crossover between “traditional” 3D renderers and game engines. I’ve been searching for an online community to explore and discuss this, and not finding it I’m going to propose what I would like to see in such a community.

The Problem with Existing Communities

  • game engine and render communities have different end-goals
  • game engine and render communities use different tools
  • game engine and render communities actually hostile to each other
  • “Mechinima” communities are gamer-oriented, existing in specific social game worlds

Why render communities reject game engines

  • Game engine software is complicated and code-oriented
  • Graphic quality must be compromised to work in realtime
  • Gamer Community can be hostile, misogynist, and territorial
  • End-goal is an edited video at cinema quality

Why render communities should look at game engines

  • Software is FREE and competitive with expansive features
  • Assets are highly re-useable and can have attached behaviors
  • Game Engines have “asset stores” with ready-to-use props, figures, environments, visualFX, and motion capture clips
  • Even simple GUI menus are opportunities for new forms of storytelling and worldbuilding.

Why gamers hate “cinematics”

  • Linear timeline drastically reduces game play options
  • it’s “cheating” by taking away meaningful involvement with the player.
  • it’s contrary to current trends in “open world” and networked combat gaming
  • Hollywood is trying to make games terrible. There is no benefit to a gamer community but selling picks and shovels to an outsider group that will dilute the knowledge base.

Advantages to video delivery over games

  • Consistent quality, regardless of viewer hardware
  • robust web delivery across mobile, touch, and console platforms
  • some forms of interactivity can be streamed dynamically through HTML5 or a shell app
  • Sophisticated video markets, short festivals, and venues.
  • Longevity of archival format

Reasons to have a unique community for animators using game engines

  • Discuss realtime tools, performance and capture hardware, and workflow (articles)
  • Share news, useful links, technologies, and examples (blog)
  • Ask questions and get advice (forum)
  • Explore niche distribution models (festivals, events, social channels)
  • Develop a creative vernacular for artistic context and discussion to advance the medium

Realms of Discussion

  • Capturing Realtime – screen recording, rendering-to-disk, and GPU-sending
  • Character Animation, Motion Capture, and Live Puppeting
  • Animated Matte Backgrounds, Compositing, Virtual Sets, Post-process Pipeline
  • Dynamic Camera – recreating cinema effects, editing, and motion
  • Non-linear Narratives – stop to smell the roses vs the Butterfly Effect
  • Programming Chance – randomized choice, stochastic timing, and artificial biology