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Nexus and Amazon Studios Take 'Critical Role' Animated Characters Into Live Stream

As an animation lover, it's always fascinating to see the way that technological advances allow animation to be used in new ways. Recent developments have made real-time digital animation a reality. Essentially a form of digital puppetry, it allows animated characters to be rendered in real-time. Recently this technology was used to bring to life characters from the hit Prime Video series Critical Role: The Legend Of Vox Machina for the live season finale watch party.

Nexus Studios (The House) teamed up with Amazon Studios to present a live-stream event on Critical Role's Twitch channel. In a groundbreaking first-of-its-kind event, the characters of Grog and Scanlan appeared live (performed inc character by original voice actors Travis Willingham and Sam Riegel ) were able to appear to a live global audience and respond to questions from fans.

The technology was developed by Nexus Studio's Real-Time department and led by Oscar winner Patrick Osborne (Disney short Feast) they were able to take Motion capture beyond its normal capabilities and develop a system to stylise actor movements in real-time, better matching the appeal of hand-animated content. Nexus also used a suite of rendering tricks to help the 3D characters look closer in style to the 2D art of the original animated series.

Julia Parfitt, Executive Producer, Nexus Studios said:

Real-Time digital puppetry promises to transform the production of linear animated content in years to come, allowing more creative freedom, spontaneity and accessibility for creators with more iterative turnarounds. We are super proud to have pioneered this technology and enabled Grog and Scanlan to entertain their cult fandom with a unique unscripted performance.

You can watch the whole thing (which includes the animated segment) here.