Developing Animatronic Characters
Developing an animatronics figure is a way to display a live storyteller with a realistic 3D model. The animatronic figure offers a display that a video of a 3D computer model cannot match. It represents a live character actor that engages an audience. Just like hand-drawn and computer generated 3D characters, however, the movement (animation) of the character must have a realistic appearance.
Development of the character's personality is very important for performance. When performing, the animatronic figure should be overly expressive, showing an amplified degree of body language. Remember, that many times the audience may not hear every word that is spoken by the character so body language gives them visual clues.
If the planned character is a real person or copy of an animal, video recording is often studied to replicate body movement and expressions. If the person modeled lived before video recording, the mannerisms must be modeled based on literature and common actions of people that lived during the specific time period.
Animals and other characters are often represented by animatronic figures in live shows and recorded TV and movies. Some animals can be dangerous or are too difficult to train to perform. In these cases, a animatronic figure offers the most controllable character available. Fictional animals or extinct animals like dinosaurs, are often played by animatronics.