IKINEMA, specialists in real-time inverse kinematics, has shown atIkinema-intimate
SIGGRAPH 2015 a new way to create and record animation by using
descriptive commands based on everyday language.

IKinema Streamlines Animation with a Natural Language Interface

IKINEMA, specialists in real-time inverse kinematics, has shown atSIGGRAPH 2015a new way to create and record animation by using descriptive commands based on everyday language.The system for the technique is currently in prototype, part of a two-year project code-namedINTiMATEsupported by the UK government’sInnovate UKprogram. It aims to let animators drive the actions of an animated haracter in real time using simple written or voice commands such as 'walk, turn left and then run to the next corner.' An introductory demonstration video is shown below.

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IKinema’s chief executiveAlexandre Pechevsaid, "We've developed a way to convert libraries of short, generic animations into a run-time rig using a natural language interface, resulting in a transition from one animation to another just by using ordinary words. The commands could come directly from a film script, for example."

He also feels that Virtual Reality products such as Magic Leap and Microsoft HoloLens have created a demand for alternative ways to produce animation that are sophisticated and at the same time simple enough for a mass audience to use. "What is simpler than using natural language and speech?" he said. "INTiMATE is easy to use – anyone can introduce a character and animate him or her from a huge library of cloud-based animation just by describing what they want their character to do."


Designed to be accessible to the general public but effective enough for professionals, INTiMATE has applications from production pre-visualisation to games, virtual production, architecture to training and simulation, as well as virtual and augmented reality.

Although the marketed system is aimed at a mass audience, Alexandre said it would create varied opportunities for professional animators as well. "Since INTiMATE works with a library of animations, the animator plays a central role in supplying the required look and feel of the library," he said. "IKinema just serves to blend one action with another to generate smooth and continuous motion in the virtual world, and then adapt the action to the environment."

The INTiMATE system is expected to become commercially available in 2016 and the aim is to also make an SDK available to any animation package. Currently, the company has a working prototype and has engaged with some major studios for the purpose of product validation and development.  www.IKinema.com