Animatronics & Robotics for Film & Television
The first incarnation of Xpress was the denTON system, used to control animatronic puppets on commercials for Lloyds TSB (1994) and the TV series Space Precinct (1995).
This system evolved into "CCP32" (Creature Control Program 32 Channel) - which was used on projects such as The Finder Puppet from Disney's Cyberstar (1996), Lost In Space robot 'B9' (1997) for Jim Hensons Creature Shop and the singing baby puppet for Massive Attack's 'Teardrop' music video (1998).
'Teardrop' was a challenging project which lead to the transformation of CCP32 into "Xpress". This system had many advantages when performing facial movements, but at the time didn't support record and playback like the CCP32 system. Furthermore the Teardrop video was all shot at 1.5x normal speed. With the existing CCP32 system, a performance can be recorded at normal speed and played back at a higher rate.
The Xpress system is always evolving to meet new demands on varying projects especially during its use on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry potter and the Goblet of Fire. The latest addition is the Xpress VR plug-in for Alias MotionBuilder Pro 7. This enables the Xpress performance system to control live time CG characters.
What is the Xpress performance system?
Xpress is a computer-aided puppeteering system designed and manufactured by micromagic systems for complex animatronics or live time CG character performance. Used in conjunction with Micromagic's suite of custom controls, it allows many intricate moves to be performed simultaneously. With the addition of motion filters and gain effectors, a single puppeteer is able to create a detailed and truley organic performance.