Sparked by the popularity of computer-animated movies, Hollywood is looking for new ways to stretch the art form’s boundaries. So producers are using something that Walt Disney himself could have scarcely imagined: technology with the ability to create lifelike animated characters whose actions are guided by computers emulating human reasoning through artificial intelligence.
Known as Massive, the software is the brainchild of New Zealand computer graphics guru Stephen Regelous, who helped create the spectacular battle scenes featured in director Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
Massive has since been used in such films as “King Kong” and commercials such as Budweiser’s “The Wave” that aired during the Super Bowl and World Cup telecasts. In that ad, 97,000 virtual fans raise cards to create a collective image of a bottle of beer pouring into a glass.
“It’s bringing characters to life,” said Regelous, 42. “It’s allowing artists to create something more than they’ve ever done before.”