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Part-Human, Part-Cartoon Characters in Polar Express

The effort to create a realistic human has largely eluded animators. In fact, human animation is so vexing a problem that the makers of “The Polar Express,” the Robert Zemeckis movie opening on Nov. 11, have chosen to people their painted backdrops with live performances captured digitally.

Based on Chris Van Allsburg’s popular children’s book, it uses a live performer – Tom Hanks, say, who plays five roles – to act each scene on a mock set. Steve Starkey, the movie’s post-production producer, says that the actor wears hundreds of digital sensors that transfer the movements rippling through his body and his face to the computer-generated character he’s playing.

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New York Times

article written by John Canemaker.

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