For its second incarnation, Antics has been given a user-friendly facelift. A previsualization tool for the film and TV industries, Antics 2’s workflow places a new focus on the timeline, and boasts a vastly improved user interface, dockable palettes, and a lot more onscreen information.

Scenes are set up by drawing rooms as 2D plans on a grid. Walls are extruded from this plan, doors and windows can be dragged onto the resulting structures and colour and textures added by drag-&-drop shaders. You can add a sky dome, and there’s plenty of props and character packs to add detail. Antics can import 3DS Max content, too.

When it’s time to plot your shots, clicking on the Direct button will place a target on the scene. The character will move to that location, working out its own route, while real-time editing allows quick planning adjustments to scenes.

An occasional hitch occurs when characters are meant to open doors to go through them – sometimes they just mosey on through the closed door or wall. A spot of tweaking can sort this out.

 border=0 /><p>A new content viewer allows previews of props, characters and saved animation sequences.
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Each prop possesses its own animation. Click on a chair, for example, and the character will sit down on it. Character properties can be adjusted to make them run or perform a combination of gestures instead of the default walk sequence, allowing natural movement to be built up quickly. You can assign the character to follow a new path that you’ve created, or make them focus and follow a point of reference throughout the shot. 
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Facial animation doesn’t go beyond a ‘look at’ ability, but lip-synching is available if you use the built-in scripting language. Sequences of actions can also be scripted, but the average director will probably not delve this deep.
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Characters remaining: 335