Applying neural nets to computer animation

NaturalMotion, a UK start-up, claims to be able to create more realistic and interactive character animations for games and films by employing neural network technology.

NaturalMotion, a UK start-up that claims to be able to create more realistic and interactive character animations for games and films by employing neural networks to control physical simulations of real humans, has been launched as a spin-out company from Oxford University.

Based on research on the neural basis of animal and human locomotion, carried out at Oxford’s Department of Zoology, Torsten Reil, Colm Massey and Dr. David Raubenheimer have founded NaturalMotion as a means to commercialise their results.

‘Existing technology, such as key framing and motion capture, is limited by time and expense and results in characters which move in predictable and stereotypical ways. The advantage of NaturalMotion’s approach is that we can produce realistic animations in a more cost-effective way,’ explains Torsten Reil, co-founder and Executive Director.

Nick Alexander, former head of Virgin Games and Sega Europe, has joined NaturalMotion as the company’s chairman and the company has already has secured funding from Business Angels, a venture capitalist, as well as from senior figures from the computer games and movie industry.

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