Reflex: a new animation program

Ideas, enhancements, feature requests and development related discussion.

Reflex: a new animation program

Postby dcuny » Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:24 pm

I was browsing through blogs and ran across a link to a new animation program called Reflex.

I always find it interesting to see what features people think are important in animation programs. In this case, it's especially so since one of the authors is an experienced (ex-Pixar) employee.

I think the visible "attach" constraint is nice - I suspect that it would work well for other constraints as well.

There are some nice homages on the page, such as the character reaching for a teapot, and the Luxo Jr. ball shader applied to the egg object. There's a Luxo Jr. lamp on another page. :P

Unfortunately, I can't seem much information, but what's posted is intriguing.
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Postby rjh » Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:53 am

I can't seem much information, but what's posted is intriguing.

Intriguing indeed! Looks like a whole new approach to 3D computer animation. It seems as if it runs on Apple's OS 10,x ... hope other cross platform support becomes available. The endorsement of CalArts is impressive ... I cannot wait to see more of this app! Thx for the info Dave!

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Postby dcuny » Tue Sep 26, 2006 7:04 am

I thought it was interesting that instead of focusing on technology, they focus on Poses, Timing, Arcs, and Spacing.

The Adjust the Spacing Visually feature for adjusting timing looks interesting. I'm guessing that it adds some offset to the frame to get the adjusted position, since the arcs don't change (just the position along the curves).

I'm also curious to find out how the "layers" feature works. I've seen something similar in Blender and other programs.

The Rough it out with Drawing Planes reminds me that although you can set up a shot in 3D, you really want to focus on the animation from the point of view of the camera, since that's ultimately what the viewer sees.

There's nothing about the product that appears to be stunningly revolutionary, but the fact that the focus on clean workflow and animation basics is refreshing:
FAQ wrote:I’m a student, will Reflex make me a better animator?
Yes. Just kidding. No technology can automatically improve your skills, but the right tool can help to reduce distractions from the most vital concerns for the animator: the posing, the timing, the arcs, and the spacing of your movement. We believe that the right tool for the right job can make a big difference in the quality of the work produced, so we’re striving to give animators the best tool possible.
Sigh. And I was looking for a program to do all the work for me. ;)

Since it's been adopted by CalArts since January, there should be some additional information in the web somewhere...
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Postby sascha » Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:59 pm

Looks pretty interesting - thanks for the info David!

I've got the get JPatch ready, I can't wait to start working on the really cool things :)
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Re: Reflex: a new animation program

Postby dcuny » Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:08 am

Things have been pretty quiet about Reflex for some time - the last news item on the site is dated 2006, and the copyright is 2007. They also appear to have changed their logo.

The only new thing I've been able to find is this link. It appears that Mark Oftedal - the Chief Creative Officer for digitalfish is working as an animation instructor with student apprentices The Monk Studio on a demo showcasing Reflex for Siggraph 2008. I didn't see anything on the Siggraph site, so I'm not sure what became of the film. :?

I also ran across this post which suggests that the most compelling part of the tool is the 2D "layers" which allows the animator to rough in the animation in 2D, and then create the 3D animation under that. That makes sense, given their history page says:

    ...Dan and Mark met to discuss their common dream of developing a wholly new method for computer animation, based on the techniques of traditional (hand-drawn) animation.
That sort of thing was added into Pixar's pipeline for The Incredibles, and the animators really liked it. It helps that most of the animators come from traditional 2D backgrounds. I don't know about JPatch's target audience. I suspect that many of them would be attracted to 3D because they lack "artistic" skills.
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