October 2, 2017

Motion Capture

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For the ones that are unfamiliar with Motion Capture. This is a technique that is used in many games and movies one of the earliest examples is the

Lord of the Rings where Andy Serkis played Smeagol. This is considered by many the event that skyrocketed the development in motion capture.

So what does motion capture do, outside of dressing the actor in a grey suit attached with Ping-Pong balls and dots on the face. These dots form a 3D 

model, that gets imported and then the CGI gets added. Motion capture allows animators and 3D modelers to spend their time working out the image, making it look as real as the CGI technology allows. Meanwhile the actor gives the character life by adding what an actor does best; emotion. A recent franchise that uses a lot of motion capture is the “Planet of the Apes”. The majority of the characters are apes and all of them are made using motion capture the detail is breathtaking, the emotion and the character that they are able to capture.Think about the story restrictions that this technology breaks. Now we have the technology that allows us to create stories that mainly feature creatures and make their characters believable, not seem clunky. Another example would be “Avatar” where they use motion technology for the Na’vi. As you might expect the consensus by industry professionals is that motion capture has a bright future in movies and games when it comes to non-humanoid creatures, but how is this for people?

In the 2016 release of “Star Wars: Rogue one”, we see actor Guy Henry, and a digital scan made of Peter Cushing “Life mask” (a mold of his face) for the 1984 movie “Top Secret” allowed the studio to ‘revive’ Peter Cushing and use the character of “Grand Moff Tarkin” in the Star Wars Prequel. This impressive and costly CGI feature was met with mixed response, ranging from people finding it an impressive feat and a testament of how quickly CGI technology is developing, while others are questioning the morality of using the physical appearance of an actor.

What do you think? Is motion capture a great way of ‘reviving’ characters? Do you think there is a morality issue? Do you think that regulations should be put in place to protect an actor from motion capture once they have passed away?




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