Just when you thought that The Simpsons had done everything in the book, they managed to pull off another feat that reminds us why we fell in love with this show in the first place. This past week saw the iconic FOX comedy do what no cartoon has ever dared to try before: a live broadcast. The event managed to astonish fans all around the world, and it has raised one serious question: how the hell did they manage to pull that off? You might be surprised to learn that it wasn’t all that difficult.
The folks over at Adobe Creative Cloud have dedicated an entire blog post to chronicle exactly how Matt Groening and the rest of the team behind The Simpsons managed to pull off Homer Simpson’s live broadcast to fans. As it turns out, the process of doing so wasn’t terribly hard; it just required some high-tech gadgetry and a bit of know-how. Homer Simpson’s beloved voice actor, Dan Castellaneta, simply spoke the character’s dialogue into the microphone like usual, and the cutting-edge Adobe Character Animator software synced his words to the lips of the legendary Duff-swilling TV dad. All it took to make the character move was a few words into a microphone and some taps on a keyboard by a skilled animator working alongside the voice actor.
This particular software could very well represent the future of animation. Adobe Character Animator has yet to become available for widespread public use, but its core technology could fundamentally change the way in which creators bring animation to the masses. The Simpsons’ use of the technology proved an overwhelming success, so it seems only logical that other animators will follow suit as time goes on.
Arguably the coolest aspect of this new technological innovation is the fact that The Simpsons made fun of the idea of live animation two decades ago. During the iconic “The Itchy, and Scratchy, And Poochie Show” episode of the FOX cartoon, Homer made a remark about voice acting live for a cartoon, to which a veteran voice actor explained that live animation doesn’t happen because it’s incredibly difficult for animators. 20 years later and The Simpsons has now become the TV series to pioneer that very ridiculous joke into a bona fide reality.
With the advent of live animation, there’s really no telling where The Simpsons will go from here. The show has become a platform for innovation and groundbreaking advances in the world of animation, and despite its almost 30 year run it seems that they have yet to run out of ideas. We’ll be on the lookout for whatever The Simpsons brings to the table when it returns to Fox next fall.