Q: And this is all done in real time?
A: Yes. We actually came up with the idea in the mid-1990s, but we had to wait for processors to get cheap and fast enough. Creating an animation engine that can generate 24 frames per second with no delay so that a puppeteer can perform and see what the character is doing on the screen in real time was really difficult.
Q: What's the advantage?
A: Sid is much more like the Muppets, where things can get a little wilder and sloppy. That's part of what's fun. Our puppeteers don't think about what their hands are doing; they think about what their characters' hands are doing. With this technology, they can ad lib, they can improvise, which is a kind of energy that you don't see in animation because animation is normally carefully plotted.
Q: Will viewers notice anything different about the animation?
A: It feels much more real. With 3-D animation, people will often say it looks fake because your eye can actually see if a character walks, and every step they take is exactly the same. Your brain sees that and says robot. With our technique, the computer's not allowed to move anything. Anything that moves has either been moved by a performer or by a camera operator.
Q: Has your four-year-old daughter approved the show?
A: Because of Sid, when she goes outside, she brings her bug catcher and studies snails, and she knows not to pick the flowers because they'll stop growing and start decaying. She's already making observations. That's really exciting to watch.
I stumbled on the first episode on PBS -- great stuff. One time I agree with the description. Kids are screwing around with touchy feely science projects, and they're being kids ( well... maybe too well behaved). Could inspire a few kids to try some of the experiments.
That is so good, actually making kids like science and teaching them how to think. But I am afraid that by the time they do their APs in Science Subjects ( AP C , AP Chem , AP Bio and AP Calculus AB ) they will get so sick of them , that they might switch to Commerce.
My 4 year old watches this show every day. He really loves it. Today he was learning about decomposition. He is always talking about what he has seen that day. He loves to repeat scientific jokes or logic twists he hears on the show. He liked the one about the teeth where Gerald was pretending to be a dentist and was checking May's teeth by looking at her feet.
"Did you ever hear the one about the kid who wanted to know everthing about everything?!..."
My son is only 3, just in Nov.! We watch everyday and we do all of the experiments. He is excited to be learning about science and is actually GETTING it!! We did the decomposition experiment and the estimation jars, and he stops everybody to tell them what he is doing.
I am so glad they are pushing the bar!! Somebody has to put something on t.v. for our children that actually makes them think! Thank you Mr. Henson and his team!
My kid is A SCIENCE KID, KID, KID!!!