An embodied cognition approach to the analysis and design of generative and interactive animation
Chow, Ka Nin
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Animation is popularly thought of as a sequence of still images or cartoons that produce an illusion of movement. However, a broader perspective of animation should encompass the diverse kinds of media artifacts imbued with the illusion of life. In many multimedia artifacts today, computational media algorithmically implement expanded illusions of life, which include images not only moving, but also showing reactions to stimuli (reactive animation), transforming according to their own internal rules (autonomous animation), evolving over a period of time (metamorphic animation), or even generating varying instances subject to user intervention or chance (contingent animation). Animation in the digital age consists of forms as varied as computer-generated imagery (CGI) in films, motion graphics on interactive multimedia websites, animated contents of video games, graphical interfaces of computer systems, and even digital signage in communal areas. With these forms, the new animation phenomena emerge from entertainment media, functional designs, and expressive works alike, all of which may engage viewers' sensory perceptions, cognitive processes, as well as motor actions. Hence, the study and creation of animation now requires an interdisciplinary framework, including (1) insights from perceptual psychology and animation studies about animacy, (2) theories of conceptual blending from cognitive science applied to understanding images, (3) notions of embodiment and temporality in phenomenological approaches to human-computer interaction (HCI), and (4) new interpretations of liveness in performance studies accounts of computer-mediated performance. These emergent ideas jointly characterize the new role of animation in media, and produce new possibilities for more embodied, evocative, and affective forms of generative and interactive animation.