Cyber Bunraku-Traditional Japanese Art with the Latest Computer Graphics Technology

Hiroshi Sakamoto, Computer Graphics Center, Fuji Television Network, Inc.
Seiichi Akabane, Systems Engineering Division, Hitachi, Ltd.
Yasuhiro Yasuzaki, Business Development Office, Hitachi, Ltd.
Kiyoshi Arai, Central Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.


Three-dimensional computer graphics (3D-CG) character animation is being increasingly used in movies, television, and computer games. In making the animation, exaggerated expression of motion is one of the most important techniques. In order to perform this exaggeration in real time, we have developed "Cyber Bunraku," in which we have introduced the puppeteering techniques of the traditional Japanese art "bunraku."

Cyber Bunraku can create 3D-CG animations of a character's body-movements and facial expressions in real time. One of the benefits of Cyber Bunraku is that it reduces the time required to produce CG character animation. An additional benefit is that the animation director can directly teach the puppeteer and the facial performer how they should manipulate the CG character, monitored in real time.

This collaborative style enables the creation of motion pictures with high-quality dramatic effects. Cyber Bunraku has been used to produce CG motion pictures for exhibitions, election news programs on TV, and other media events. We expect that Cyber Bunraku will be widely used for multimedia applications such as Virtual Studio.

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