What is Motion Capture?

As one of the most popular CGI methods, Motion Capture is a cutting-edge way of recording all or part of an actor’s performance so that it may be converted into the action of a computer-generated 3D figure on screen.
Motion Capture, also known as Mocap, is a collaborative technique enabling filmmakers to infuse characters with amazing degrees of realism while putting no limitations on the ingenuity of the visual look.
Mocap is widely employed in video games, as well as in live action and animation films. It’s considerably simpler when animating a performer’s sophisticated face and body movements.

Motion capture System

Systems that utilize tracking cameras may be referred to as “optical,” whereas systems that detect inertia or mechanical motion are “non-optical.” Optical systems operate by monitoring 3D location markers and combining the data into an actor’s motion. Active systems utilize flashing markers, whereas passive systems use inert items like white balls or painted dots. Instead of markers, markerless systems utilize techniques from match-moving software. A virtual “skeleton” of the animated figure is created from the recorded motion. As a result, animated figures that move like real-life performers.

Motion Capture Techniques

There are four major motion capture techniques:

• Optical (passive) – With this method, retroreflective markers are affixed to people or objects, and reflect light produced from near the camera lens. The light is reflected and utilized to determine the location of the markers in three-dimensional space.

• Optical (active) — This method is precisely the same, except the markers emit light rather than reflect them. As a result, the markers need electricity.

• Marker-less — This method doesn’t need markers of any kind. Moveable objects and humans are tracked and recorded using depth-sensitive cameras. While more convenient, it is less precise than optical or mechanical tracking.

• Inertial – This method doesn’t necessarily require cameras to function. It captures movement using IMUs (inertial measurement units) with rotation sensors. IMUs often utilize gyroscopes, magnetometers, and accelerometers.

Motion Capture Suit

The mocap suit is intended to be put the markers on the performer’s essential joints. The optical markers are connected to the suit using hook Velcro. In order to prevent the markers from spreading to other areas of the body or other performers, the actors will be marked with colored neoprene patches.

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Motion Capture Studio

The capture space is termed the ‘Volume’. This is a studio stage with about 60 motion capture cameras placed on it. These cameras are utilized to capture every aspect of the performance. The performance thereafter will be converted into a 3d models’ motions in real-time.

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As with green screen work, the volume will be as basic as possible, with important objects or scenery portrayed by actual mock-ups. The floor is then taped into a grid with visible location reference points.

Motion Capture Shooting

Shooting Motion Capture may be odd or unique if you aren’t used to it. The simple simplicity of Motion Capture strikes a significant contrast to conventional film techniques.

Because mocap cameras capture from all angles, they allow you to capture complete situations. This also eliminates the need to turn around and re-setup and re-shoot from other perspectives.

The future of motion capture is one without markers, and this vision is becoming more feasible with the advent of AI and quantum computing. There will be fewer cameras needed, more spatial flexibility, and a lot quicker procedure as a result of this.

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Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network: https://www.awn.com/
  2. Cartoon Brew – Technology: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech
  3. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist: https://beforesandafters.com/
  4. Bloomberg News: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
  5. Insider: https://www.insider.com/
  6. Inverse: https://www.inverse.com/