Tag: MoCap

Mocap experimental movement and the ideas.

The first half of my Motion Capture Minor for the 2nd year of uni is dedicated to creating a 30-second sequence which explores alternative, non-figurative, abstract and/or experimental visualisations of movement and the body in motion.

This project is leaving me excited and nervous in equal measures, and the possibilities I could explore are seemingly endless. The first idea that popped into my head was to use a combination of live action and motion capture to create a bubble man, that would float up and away from the Trouble Monsters (my twin girls) and start a dance sequence in the sky that would end with the bubble man popping. A quirky funny idea that I’d love to create and the first few weeks were devoted to coming up with ideas on how I could accomplish that.

pster on the bus stopThen, a few days before we were due to film in the motion capture lab I spied a poster on the wall behind the bus shelter and a new idea took place. This idea was so strong that it eclipsed all thoughts of bubble men and compelled me to change direction completely. I hadn’t actually spoken to Greg, our MoCap teacher before our filming session, so I wasn’t even sure if it was possible, so for prudence’s sake, I took footage for both ideas, so I could always come back to my dancing bubble man later if I wanted too.

Thankfully my dancer could understand what I want to communicate in my piece and I got my footage in one take. The idea that I have in my head has been a bit tricky for me to draw out, concept art is a skill I am still developing. However, I have  the words spoken by Dr Maya Angelou called “Words have power” in an interview with Oprah as the backdrop of the sound, and my figure dancing is made from words, the words on her body will either by Dr Angelou’s poetry, or perhaps (and I’m just thinking this right now as I glance over at the bus stop poster) words that empower people, in particular woman. to create not exactly the bus stop poster, but a form that looks like a person in form only, but it’s words.

I still haven’t quite figured out how I am going to build my figure yet, currently I am still completing tutorials, however, I am thinking I could use a combination of the Toon Shader in Maya, the ink outlines, and the text builder.

See my next blog post for more on the development of my idea. Below is the Dr Maya Angelou video that I am using to base my sequence on. I am using the powerful words of Dr Maya Angelou, the human form, and words themselves to create a sequence that show that words really are things.

OHMYGodzilla MoCap Previs Final Assignment

godzilla Title Image

(Skip to the bottom if you just want to watch the movie.)

After hours and hours working on this assignment, it’s finally done. I’m not going to say it’s perfect by any stretch, there are quite a  few things I”d love to spend some more time on fixing but due to time constraints, two other assignments and an essay I have due in three weeks I am calling it a day on this. (Unless I have time to revisit before it’s finally due on the 25th October)

Here is the title I create for it, I feel like it sets the tone rather well.

I have learned A LOT over the last semester, this being my first introduction to Motion Capture it’s been a steep learning curve, but an exciting and enjoyable one. From my first class until now I am left enthused about the next two years and can’t wait to integrate the knowledge I have gained into my next project.

Overall I am pleased with what I have created, I just wish I didn’t zero in on the imperfections. That being said I will probably continue to work on this when time permits.

The process of MoCap wasn’t as complicated as I first expected it to be, the pipeline is mostly straightforward providing you follow the steps correctly and take the time to ensure each step is carried out correctly as each steps measure of success depends on the one that goes before it.

Having the previous knowledge of how Maya works has been helpful, and I have found that the skills I have learned in both Animation and Motion Capture have beneficial to both subjects, and hopefully means I will continue to deliver better work as I progress my learning.

I have found that taking responsibility for my own learning vital while doing this assignment, which has required watching other tutorials to also expand my understanding of the subject.

I have learned the importance of creating a strong story line from the start so when you are capturing your data you ensure a good end product that follows your script and storyline. I hope to improve these skills also. I believe that I have created an end product that kept in mind my original storyboard and also keeping in mind how this story will unfold in a 3D space.

When I undertake my next project I believe I will take greater care to film the live action from the camera angles I intend on using inside Maya, as it will help when animating characters expressions and finger placement. I will also take create care when capturing the data and fixing it. I have this strange issue with my male leads neck which I was unable to solve in every instance, taking greater care at the first steps should ensure I do not have this issue again.

Anyhow, below is my final edit. I’ll update it here if I make any more changes. Feel free to leave feedback. All constructive criticism is appreciated.

Motion Capture Data … Now what?

After spending the afternoon in AUT’s amazing motion capture room we have to fix our data in a program called Cortex. It’s not exactly hard, but it’s time-consuming and tedious and takes high attention to detail. At this point, I think our entire group started to realise the importance of capturing good data while recording.

Here is a screenshot of what cortex looks like, I actually forgot to take a screenshot, that’s how focused I was.

Cortex

cortex

After fixing the motion capture data you import into Autodesk and the real fun can begin. To cut a longish story short this where you tell the character which part of the body belongs to which dot, so the motion can be transferred to it. I felt very Dr Frankinstine as  is saw my inert characters suddenly spring to life.

Motionbuilder

You repeat this process for each character, and THEN you can import them into your Autodesk Maya scene.

Maya Scene

After that comes the tricky process of making sure their hands don’t go weird, or pass through something that should be solid. I found this part tricky trying to handle all the different animation layers and the graphs. I had quite a few times where one of their arms would bend into a totally inhuman shape.

Reposition hands

Then when you have it playing out the way you like you position the cameras. We were given specific cameras to work with.

cameras

Then it’s just a matter of creating playblasts and assembling in Premier Pro and editing your audio. I can assure you this took a lot more time than I am implying here.

This is my first edit. In my next post, I will post my final Godzilla Previs. Which I loving refer to as Ohmygodzilla.

MoCap – Capturing the Motion

So apparently you don’t have to have stunning acting skills to ‘act’ for motion capture, but it helps to have some spatial awareness and a knowledge of how to overact, so I’m pretty glad that I ended up being the director for my very first Motion Capture assignment. I’m much more comfortable telling people what to do, although to be honest I kind of do want to suit up and prance around with balls velcroed all over my body.

You DO have to have quite a good imagination when filming for your data, as you are working in a room 24 camera’s and an empty set. It’s all in your head or taped out on the floor.

You can learn more about the AUT Motion Capture Lab here.

jeninsuit1  joshinsuit1
Here are Jenny and Josh dressed up in the suits practising their tree pose, which is the pose our actors get into at the beginning and end of each scene so we can align the data and eventually target our characters.

As well as capturing the action with the with the motion capture cameras we also use a video camera and to take reference footage. This will make editing easier. I’ll post our reference footage in the blog post with my first edit.