VFX software firm Autodesk is developing tools aimed at the emerging area of virtual moviemaking, with one of its senior executives saying the technology could become a staple of major studios.

Virtual moviemaking encompasses the creation of CG animation, performance capture and visual effects shots, with new technology enabling these functions to behave like a live-action shoot.

Virtual moviemaking differs from traditional CGI in that it is driven by the lead creatives themselves.

“Today, much of computer graphics production is treated as a post-production process for review and approval, and not as a handson experience. Virtual moviemaking processes help change that,” said Autodesk senior vice president Marc Petit.

“Virtual cameras are easily customisable and 3D animation applications can react to camera input, allowing directors complete cinematographic control over how they shoot the CG world.”

3D environments can be designed and populated with props and characters for loading into an animation system.

Motioncapture data can be routed from real cameras to virtual cameras for the director to view and alter the results via an on-set monitor.

“Directors and production companies are designing and building virtual cinematography sound stages and it is not a stretch to envisage a future in which major sound stages will have virtual moviemaking capabilities,” said Petit.