Henson pulls digital strings for 'Sid'


Jim Henson's Creature Shop has produced 40 half-hour episodes of "Sid the Science Kid," all created using the company's new Digital Puppetry Studio.

The system provides immediate real-time performance of CG characters. The mostly CG series debuts today on PBS.

The heart of the process is Henson's Puppeteering Control System, a sort of puppet motion- capture system. The performances are captured on a stage and applied to previously designed CG characters and environments in real time.

"For 'Sid,' we had five characters at the same time and four virtual cameras capturing the images, all in real time," said Kerry Shea, head of digital production. "It's the speed and efficiency that makes it unique. Directing occurs as if it were a live-action sitcom." Shea said Henson is developing another series, "Skrumps," that will use the system. Discussions also are under way for its use in feature and game projects.(partialdiff)