Welcome to Lifelike & Believable.
My name is Athomas Goldberg and for the last 20 years it’s been my privilege to know and work with an incredible group of artists and animators, game designers and software engineers, writers, musicians and performers, research scientists and studio executives – all of whom have shared a passion for bringing animated characters and their stories to life.
Two decades ago, after studying cinematography at NYU’s Film School and working for several years in New York City as a professional lighting and set designer, I joined Dr. Ken Perlin at NYU’s Media Research Laboratory to spearhead the Improv Animation Project in an attempt to marry the emotional impact and immediacy of live performance with the visual richness of film in a medium in which the audience plays an active and essential role. I have been obsessed, ever since, with the promise and challenge of trying to create living, breathing digital actors that audiences can relate to and interact with in deeply meaningful ways. At the core of this obsession has been the belief that no technology can ever replace the role of the artist in bringing these characters to life, and that any tools developed for this purpose must, first and foremost, give artists control over the style and quality of the interactive performance, and in a way that is intuitive to author and quick to iterate with. I believe it is this uncompromising commitment to the artist that has helped guide the development of some of the most powerful animation tools in use in the industry today.
But creating believable characters for games requires more than just having the right tools and technologies. Animation design and direction for interactive performance is very different from animation for linear media, and comes with its own unique opportunities and challenges. Animators and designers must learn to think about, and visualize, character performances in terms of the “space of action” and “range of motion” embodied in each animated behavior relative to the dynamic features of the controller, game systems, other characters and the environment, in order to deliver performances that are both convincing and responsive to the constraints of game-play. Because of this, I’ve devoted as much time to understanding the art of interactive character performance as I have to the tools and technologies required to make it possible.
Thanks for visiting.