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Machinima ( /məˈʃiːnɨmə/ or /məˈʃɪnɨmə/) is the use of real-time 3D computer graphics rendering engines to create a cinematic production. Most often, video games are used to generate the computer animation. Machinima-based artists, sometimes called machinimists or machinimators, are often fan laborers, by virtue of their re-use of copyrighted materials (see below).The practice of using graphics engines from video games arose from the animated software introductions of the 1980s demoscene, Disney Interactive Studios' 1992 video game Stunt Island, and 1990s recordings of gameplay in first-person shooter (FPS) video games, such as id Software's Doom and Quake. Originally, these recordings documented speedruns—attempts to complete a level as quickly as possible—and multiplayer matches. The addition of storylines to these films created "Quake movies". The more general term machinima, a misspelled portmanteau of machine cinema, arose when the concept spread beyond the Quake series to other games and software. After this generalization, machinima appeared in mainstream media, including television series and advertisements.Machinima has advantages and disadvantages when compared to other styles of filmmaking. Its relative simplicity over traditional frame-based animation limits control and range of expression. Its real-time nature favors speed, cost saving, and flexibility over the higher quality of pre-rendered computer animation. Virtual acting is less expensive, dangerous, and physically restricted than live action. Machinima can be filmed by relying on in-game artificial intelligence (AI) or by controlling characters and cameras through digital puppetry. Scenes can be precisely scripted, and can be manipulated during post-production using video editing techniques. Editing, custom software, and creative cinematography may address technical limitations. Game companies have provided software for and have encouraged machinima, but the widespread use of digital assets from copyrighted games has resulted in complex, unresolved legal issues.Machinima productions can remain close to their gaming roots and feature stunts or other portrayals of gameplay. Popular genres include dance videos, comedy, and drama. Alternatively, some filmmakers attempt to stretch the boundaries of the rendering engines or to mask the original 3-D context. The Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences (AMAS), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting machinima, recognizes exemplary productions through Mackie awards given at its annual Machinima Film Festival. Some general film festivals accept machinima, and game companies, such as Epic Games, Blizzard Entertainment and Jagex, have sponsored contests involving it.

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