Marianne Hayden 11/30/16

hayden

 

Marianne Hayden is an animator at Naughty Dog, Inc. She has worked on Uncharted 4, The Last Of Us, and Uncharted 1, 2, and 3. Hayden has worked on cinematics, IGCs (in game cinematics), and gameplay animation. Marianne has worked at a range of studios, including InsomniacTechnicolorTreyarchImagi, and Naughty Dog, Inc.

Along with being a professional animator Hayden uses her theater background to direct motion capture shoots as well as act on the motion capture stage. She earned her SAG card while on maternity leave, doing stunt work for Uncharted 3.

Hayden received her MFA in Film/Video: Experimental Animation from CalArts, a BFA in Acting and a BA in Visual Arts from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

 

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24 thoughts on “Marianne Hayden 11/30/16

  1. I have heard great things about “The Last of Us” and the “Uncharted” series, but have never played the games. As such, I enjoyed hearing from Marianne Hayden’s explanation of the animation process at Naughty Dog, which disabused me of the notion that motion capture is a way to cheat in animation. The mocap process always seemed so straightforward: have the actor put on a silly suit covered in Ping Pong balls, and voila, animation. However, thanks to Marianne’s seminar, I now realize how erroneous this belief was. As with rotoscope, which also uses live action to create animation, an animator cannot be simply retrace or regurgitate the recorded movements. Rather, the artist is still required to consider basics like weight, volume, and timing. It was beneficial, and challenging, to hear that what we learn in traditional 2D animation class is still required knowledge for a process as technical as mocap.

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  2. I’ve heard amazing things about ‘The Last of Us’ and have been wanting to play for so long. It was incredible getting to see Marianne’s work and the level of detail she puts in the animation and amount of plussing she does for the mocap. It was fun to see the progression of ‘Ellie’, from the initial casting to the mocap sessions with the other actors, and to see the side by side comparisons with the animation. I don’t know a huge amount regarding the gaming industry and cinematics, and it’s so interesting to see how far along games have come and how they’re practically movies now, complete with scripts.

    I also didn’t realize that animators in games have the opportunity to direct like Marianne does! That is really fantastic, I love that they get the chance to do that and they’re able to direct the shots that they want. I’d be so curious to also hear more about the story side of games, and how that works. I’m really glad Marianne was able to come in and talk to us – thank you for taking the time to do so!

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  3. Though I missed the seminar this week, I had the pleasure of attending Marianne’s presentation when she was on campus a couple months ago speaking to the Interactive Media & Gaming MFAs. Some of the points she made that really stuck with me are “emotion is an art and a science” and “animators sculpt complete performances of meaning”. Her insight into the mocap process was very eye opening: from the cinematography and acting (“real life” motion doesn’t always translate into gameplay) to the fact that mocap is never an instant final capture. There are always things that need to be keyframed or adjusted by hand. In addition, she also touched upon the importance of work/life balance and setting boundaries (like a limit on how many hours a day you will work during crunch) so studios don’t take advantage of you and ultimately you can be more productive.

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  4. The last of Us might be my favourite game of the last 7 years. And one of the things that make it so interesting is not only the story, or the gameplay, but actually, how natural are the characters movement, all the time. How well timed is the acting in the cutscenes and how you can see pain or joy or doubt in the character’s faces. That’s why when I heard that Marianne Hayden, an animator in the Last of Us, was going to be in the Interactive media and game design seminar, I made time and went right away. But having her in our seminar, was a bit different, because this time wasn’t an animator talking to game designers, but an animator talking to fellow animators, and so it felt when dedicated time to show us the very process of the animation, and of course, the glitches. But the thing I liked the most about this talk, was actually that she showed us another path for animators. During most of seminar we’ve seen the options in cinema, in tv, in adult swim, children’s animation, academia, experimental, live performance, but an option that usually is not so considered is animating for games, as Marianne herself said she didn’t think about initially. I really enjoyed her talk. I feel a lot of appreciation for the last of us, but now, seeing how the process actually empowers animators and give them a voice that sometimes is not so easy to hear about in Tv animation, makes me appreciate the game even more.

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  5. It is very amazing that Marianne give a wonderful lecture tonight. I can never imagine how to work mainly based on motion capture and CG since I work more based on the things tangible or 2D. And I seldom heard about the pipeline of creating animation for game before which is totally broaden my horizon too. Her works show wonderful storytelling, lighting and texture. It can really bring audience into the world and under the context more immersive. Plus, she mentioned some details related to designing acting in motion capture which I never thought about before. No matter what kind of technique to do animation, it is all about loop between experimental – designed output and input.

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  6. As technology is growing rapidly nowadays, we witness such huge development in video game industry for the past decades. With the ability to reach such advance levels in computer graphic, game developers are bringing video games to the next level and closer to live action movies. In order to make a convincing story and animation, animators take a very important part on this. I really enjoy Marianne’s lecture for showing us how acting and animating work together and create such great interactive storytelling pieces. I have heard so many great reviews on both “The Last of Us” and “Uncharted” and I am not surprise now that I have seen such quality of work that have been put into it. I really enjoy seeing how the scenes in the motion capture room gets turned into some very convincing narrative cut scenes in the games. Although the animation is already there by the motion capture process, I am impressed by how the animators bring them to the next level by paying attention to every little details and movements to make it more believable and outstanding.

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  7. I really loved Marianne’s explanation of mocap. One technique that she did different from the other speakers is she explained the pipeline for game design. Me being a 3D animator I really appreciated the inside look of mocap because it’s what made me apply to the grad program. Marianne’s journey into her current job was very inspiring and motivated me to keep my options open and try out new roles and techniques to see what is out there.

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  8. It was really refreshing to get a CG animator in to speak with us. It’s been a little while since we had that, so I enjoyed listening to her talk about the technical process, especially regarding mocap. Although I very much prefer hand keying to mocap, I’ve been teaching myself it anyway because I know it’s heavily used in a lot of the game and VFX industry. It was also interesting to see the difference in animation between Uncharted, where the faces were done with motion capture, vs. The Last of US, where the faces were entirely hand-keyed. I remember thinking that The Last of Us faces felt far more expressive and real than the Uncharted ones, and I think that the lack of mocap is partially responsible. This makes me sort of torn on the issue of motion capture. On the one hand, I would love to see the technology advance to the point that it can truly capture the full range of human expression. On the other hand, that could very well lead to a simplification or outright elimination of my job. I guess I’ll just have to hope for the best and plan to make myself adaptable.

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  9. It was really amazing the Marianne’s lecture was and I can never imagine how to work mainly based on motion capture ,I enjoyed listening to her talk about the technical process, it was really fun and inspiring , especially regarding mocap. I really appreciated the inside look of mocap. Marianne’s work was very inspiring and motivated me to keep trying new techniques and do whatever I’d love to do. I am so impressed , thank you for the great presentation .

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  10. I really enjoyed getting an inside look on some of my favorite video game series! Marianne Hayden’s presentation demonstrated how much work goes into animation video games, and how it moves 3D animation forward. Since I’m more of a 2D person myself, her and Naughty Dog’s manipulation of motion capture caught my attention. I was aware that motion capture required adjustments and that it wasn’t smooth transition. However, having to adjust the animations from the motion capture to exaggerate poses more keeps into the spirit of what is to be an animator. Indeed, technical glitches may force the animator to get into the program and fix what went wrong.
    Marianne’s presentation of animation errors from Naughty Dog studio were the most amusing part of the presentation, I must say. To see the characters distort and flop around insanely was fun to watch. I hope for the best of Marianne as an animator, and hope that she continues to animate fun games in the future!

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  11. First of all, the clips from bug, or mis-worked scenes were hilarious. They absolutely made my night.

    I’ve always liked playing games a lot, so listening the game pipe-line was a very interesting. I personally think that one of the methods that you can feel(or experience) how the technology is developed these days is GAME. All the graphics – from 3d, texture, lighting, real-time render, interactive, form itself(computer, game console, and recently VR). Seeing the videos that she shared made me think about how awesome the technologies are, yet it still needs human-touch. (thankfully!)

    Mocap was amazing and sort of frightening- it’s like a shooting a real movie. (Well, I can say games these days are not really different with a movie, since they have a script, characters etc etc..) I could see the benefits of it – it would shorten working time significantly, but as an animator, it was kind of scary to see that there might be a possibility that the technology takes over a human labor one day.

    Though I have mixed feelings regarding it, I still want to see games more developed in story and technology wise. Thanks Marianne for coming and sharing your stories, look forward to see more amazing games from you!!

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  12. I have never played games to the level that is being done at Naughty Dog. It was great to hear from Marianne Hayden about the work she has been doing. Her animation in the faces of the characters and other bits when she gets to step away from the mocap was really quite nice. I see how mocap can be used as a useful tool. Although It doesn’t capture everything… this to me is why it jumps straight into the thing people always label as the uncanny valley. There is nothing uncanny about it. It is just not quite there yet…meaning not quite capturing all the nuances. Hand keying in Maya is a new term for me:). hehe. The fact that animators can be more involved with actors through the mocap sessions seems refreshing. Thank you for sharing such a nice presentation about all the fantastic work and effort that is put into this lovely medium.

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  13. As a guy who really focus on traditional 2d animation, this lecture is really open my mind. I have strong interesting about game but really have no idea how it is designed and made. Working based mainly on motion capture is so unique, I cannot know how it will work until the lecture gives me the idea. Also, I love the game, “The Last of Us”, “Uncharted”, even I do not play it, but it looks really beautiful to me and I inspired deeply by her introduction of the making process. I am really appreciate that Marianne brings me to the game’s world, and I really want do more research after her talking. Thanks!

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  14. It’s was nice to have Marianne Hayden in seminar talk about working with animation in games and some background about motion capture. Films in 20th century is the most popular form of storytelling. Spread across dozens of genres and forms. For decades, big budget video games were designed to look like films. I really love uncharted series. Especially 4, the dialogue throughout the game has the flow and concision of good theater. Motion capture serves a big tool in today’s production pipeline over traditional computer animation of a 3D model. Sometimes even real time results can be obtained. And the amount of work does not vary with the complexity or length of the performance to the same degree when using traditional techniques.

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  15. I always consider myself step into this industry inspired by game CG and the cinematic trailer. And for this time, I can really listen to a wonderful person that working and loving this industry talking about CG and animations in games. It’s a mind-blowing thing for me. The Last of Us and Uncharted are both my loving games and they came out when I already learn a little bit of CG skills and knowledge. I was trying to figure out how they did this when I was playing them and this time the secrets are revealed. In this lecture, we can see the real motion capture techs and how the characters are rigged and animated. We can even see those process without lighting and final rendering, even without fully completed animation and texture. Its just amazing to see the work flow and how the talented people like Marianne translate all those data and footage into a unreal, but super realistic world. I’m pretty sure that I will try doing animation for games and even work for a game company in the future so this lecture means a lot to me. With all these information and mind-opening knowledge, I can learn and find more when playing games in the future. Building a dream world is the goal I’ve been chasing for for a long time, and I can feel that I’m closer to the place that I’ve been dreaming of.

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  16. It was wonderful to hear presentation of Marianne Hayden.
    (Especially watching Astro Boy! )
    Her works are very professional and her skill of digital animation is very established.
    I know the 3ds she works on are very complicated and needs lot of rigs.. and she does very beautiful with lighting and she makes the animations’ atmosphere very well.
    I also got inspired by her traditional animation work & live actions, some works of her style is curious but very cute.

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  17. Marianne’s works look great! She brings up the atmosphere very well and the performances are perfect. It’s too bad that I didn’t play any of the game she worked on. But I will start to find some to play and watched after this seminar!

    CG animation is always too complicated to me so I admire the CG animators that they think of so many things at the same time. Maybe I will start to work on something in Maya, too. To see how far can I get in the CG world.

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  18. The seminar last week was really cool. Naughty Dog is a brilliant gameplay animation studio. My boyfriend played some game created by Naughty Dog. These games are really fantastic and impressed me. The technic they use in the movie left me deep impression. They used real actors to play the part of the story. They paid enough attention to the characters’ facial expression, even the small detail on their face that can perfect fit the story. Moreover, Marianne is a great women that shared us many interesting 3D works. All in all, this seminar was really wonderful and left us full of happy memories.

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  19. I really loved this lecture by Marianne Hayden because it gave me a lot of insight on not only how things work at riot games, but what it’s like to be a mocap animator. I enjoyed seeing how marianne was able to find herself a career in the animation industry after spending her education on experimental animation. I feel often the value of experimental animation is under appreciated, especially by some of the other students. I remember back to my undergraduate foundations classes in perspective and color design, and how many students didn’t like the assignments because they wanted to draw cool warriors or pretty girls. Later, many came to really appreciate the assignments and the knowledge they bring because it offered them more insight than mere technical education would offer. I think that’s the same situation around the experimental classes here at USC, and I think it’s the abstract concepts we learn that really have value outside of school. Technology changes, even the industry changes. The ability to understand animation and how it works even through difficult mediums like paint on glass or sand I think is really important. Clearly Marianne was able to use her sensitivities to develop and understand motion capture animation, and the games she has worked on are truly amazing. It would make sense to me that her time experimenting with computer animation helped make learning new technology that much easier. Marianne clearly has a wealth of knowledge on how to execute quality animation, with exceptional performance. Her degree in acting only supplements that further. I also really like how riot games wants their animators to also be actors. It’s inspiring to see a women not only as a professional animator, but also in the gaming industry. The thing I will take most from her lecture is that you don’t have to dart out the door in your career right away. Marienne moved around a bit before deciding she wanted to focus on character and gave herself the time to do that. I think so often there is this pressure to succeed right away, so it’s nice to see that a career path doesn’t have to be straightforward, but we can bounce around a little before we find what really suits us in this industry.

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  20. I’m not the biggest fan of the traditional hyper realistic video game aesthetic, but I do really respect the animators and find them fascinating because our brains work so differently. I loved watching the casting clips! It’s amazing how quickly great acting can transform a scene, even when the actors have nothing more than a few chairs for props. The casting examples were encouragement enough to enroll for acting courses, but Marianne drove the point home by explaining further how important it is for animators to have an in-depth understanding of movement and performance. I think its rad that animators at Naughty Dog also get to direct, it seems like a very hands on, collaborative studio!

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  21. Marianne bring us to an amazing game world. I have a chance to make a VR scene (like a game but super simple) during this semester. I found it is really hard for me on technique things. Marianne showed us game pipeline make me much more clearly about how to create a game. And I really surprised how advanced the technologies are nowadays. I got a lot of inspiration. I looking forward a chance to play the games she worked on.

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  22. I’m personally conflicted by her work. On one hand, she is really talented and the work process she showed was absolutely amazing. On the other hand, it is a little sad for me that an animator coming from the experimental CalArts program ended up at a large commercial gaming studio. I respect that she has a good career and is doing animation for a living, but think that she has a lot more to show the world with an experimental degree than creating human expressions for game characters.

    That being said, I think she is extremely talented at animating facial expressions and body movements. Having an acting degree does help in that regards as she mentioned. I’m also wondering what the future of the gaming industry will be like, with VR, AR becoming so influential. Plus, so many games like “Before Dawn” and “Uncharted” are leaning towards very cinematic and detailed visuals that they almost become like movies.

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  23. I really appreciated that Marianne Hayden showed us how the whole pipeline works in Naughty Dog, from casting, callback to animation. I was really surprised by How amazing Ellie’s Motion Capture looks like, and of course how complete these animator transfer into animation. Besides the Motion capture, those animator did a every good ik to refined the animation. I think we should really be thankful to those animators cause they make such good story more convincing, I think that’s the reason why so many people cry when they play ” the Last of Us” . Can’t wait to see “the Last of Us 2″haha!

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  24. Marianne showed us a few years of her achievements in the field of games, she created a large number of high-quality film 3D animation. Very exciting action and performance, we see the game now the field of animation has been very close to the real film, which is a great breakthrough in technology. But I think, although the animation has a good prospect in the field of the game, but the core of video game is the mechanic, the animation just a “beautiful cloth”, I want to think about how to better highlight the combination of animation and game mechanic, is the new genre of animation in the future.

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