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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lets Talk About Motion Capture

Lets talk about motion capture animation for a minute. I remember beating 'Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time" and seeing credits for the motion capture team. I was amazed that people could capture motion and translate it digitally, and now as video game and film technology progresses, it is amazing to see all the things that can be done with motion capture animation.

Animation has always been a form of motion capture. Great animators from all over the world, Including Walt Disney Studios, hire actors and performers to come preform many actions live in a studio, so they can 'capture' the motion with their eyes and translate it to hand-drawn animation correctly. Many animated movies, especially those from Don Bluth studio, rotoscope which is a form of Motion Capture, where an action is filmed, and literally traced over with a pencil to become the finished animation. Rotoscoping is often frowned upon in most creative circles, because it is seen that the artist is not good enough to do the animation him/herself. PIXARr uses no motion capture (as told humorously in the end credits of Ratatouille)

Rotoscoping turned 3d is called motion capture. It is taking the action that is recorded and using it to become your final project. Using light reflections and an infrared camera, actors movements are recorded and translated into animation. Robert Zemekis is a large supporter of this, creating such fully mo-cap movies such as "Polar Express" and "Beowulf". Often time, people ask why the movies were not made with real actors in live action, but Mo-cap offers things that are impossible in real life, such as sweeping cameras and closeups in fights, and magical characters, such as Gollum (Andy Serkis) in Lord of the Rings, and Grawp in Harry Potter 5.

What are your opinions on Motion Capture? I think that in live action films it is amazing for effects and makes stunts safer for everyone, but stunt people are against it saying that they are being put out of jobs. What are your opinions? More on this to follow.

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