Motion Capture Uses

3D Character Animation

There are a lot of good reasons to choose motion capture for creating 3D character animation for movies, television, live performance and video games.

Used properly motion capture can be greatly speed up productions. With a good pipeline in place a team can produce many minutes or several hours of finished animation without having to hire an army of animators.

Motion capture can also provide a degree of realism that could be very challenging and time-consuming for animators to create 'by hand'.

Use of motion capture allows studios like Montreal's Klik to produce topical animation pieces for the evening news on the same day that newsworthy events happen. In doing so they put their PhaseSpace Motion Capture system to excellent use:

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Motion Capture is very useful for episodic television - allowing studios to produce an entire animated series in a timely and ongoing fashion.

Games companies tend to be big users of motion capture. Considering how much animation it takes to make a character-based game and the fact that animation is used throughout the game (real-time game play and cinematics or 'cut-scenes') and the tight deadlines that game companies deal with, use of motion capture is tremendously pragmatic. The quicker the bulk of the animation can be accomplished the more time they have left for special touches that make the game 'extra cool' for lack of a better phrase.

Live performance for television or stage or events or commercials is now a reality thanks to our PhaseSpace and Animazoo motion capture systems:

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Motion capture is a powerful tool for pre-visualization. If you have ever delved into the world of making movies or television you have probably come to realize just how important pre-viz is. When you are making something that didn't exist before you need everyone to 'be on the same page' so they can help plot the course of the story and development of the project. Storyboarding is constantly used towards this purpose. Use of our PhaseSpace and IGS-190 motion capture systems allow animators and directors to mock-up the blocking and character motions in real-time on the actual 3D characters they are working with. The result offers a way to see what things will look like at the very beginning of a project - providing a tremendous creative (and time and resource-saving) advantage. Considering how 'animated' animators tend to be - use of motion capture for pre-viz provides animators with even greater creative input than ever before - they can suit up and instantly communicate to other team members what they have in mind.

Motion Capture can also be a good starting place for creating more fanciful stylized animations. Of course this often involves actors adept in acting in an exaggerated fashion along with animators who know how to continue the acting (via exaggeration and stylization of the the captured data).

Although the motion capture systems we sell can be tremendous production tools allowing huge volumes of finished work they do not eliminate the need for having some animation skills. A trained animator can take the output and stage it correctly and position/animate the 3D virtual camera in a way that helps the overall storytelling. The animator involved might speed up or slow down certain takes so that they read write.

Similarly we don't advocate that motion capture should be used by every studio for every project. For instance we have tremendous respect for Pixar's skill and style of animated storytelling. Stylistically motion capture doesn't fit with the animation work we do and we harbor no illusions that they 'should' be using motion capture.

Motion Capture is a powerful and effective tool and our systems do it best - but that doesn't mean it should be used 100% percent of the time.