What is Motion Capture Animation?
Motion capture is an animation technique involving capturing and applying information to 3D digital models to create complex and realistic animations. Using intricate, multi-camera systems, animation companies can fully capture body and facial movement in real-time, breathing life into animated characters while cutting back on the hours of complex animation that would have otherwise been necessary. Motion capture is to animation as strings are to marionettes and has become a vital part of the modern animation process.
Motion Capture Basics
Motion capture essentially involves the frame by frame sampling of an actor or object’s movement. In the early days of motion capture, the recorded movements were projected over an animation table frame by frame, whereby animators would then painstakingly trace the outlines of the movement and fill them in with the animated character or object; after which the completed animations would be individually captured and compiled to perfectly match the actor’s original movements. Thankfully, technology has advanced tremendously since then and nowadays the data captured by the motion capture cameras is digitally mapped onto 3D models using specialized software.
Over the years, motion capture has revolutionized the film and animation industries and has advanced to the point where even camera movements and props can be captured. This allows for 3D-rendered models and even entire sets to be captured from different perspectives and enables the creation of the intense and ultra-realistic animations we’ve become used to seeing in feature films like Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Despite the technological advancements, motion capture is still a lot more complicated than just simply filming an actor and applying their movements to a 3D model – that’s the easy part. The entire motion capture process requires hours of careful planning, thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment, and an expert team of animation specialists. The last point is particularly important, but before we get into why it’s important to highlight some of the advantages of motion capture animation.
Advantages of Motion Capture
Motion capture offers several inherent advantages over some of the other more traditional techniques used by animation companies in Singapore and across the globe including:
- Near real-time accuracy. Motion capture saves time and money when compared to traditional keyframe animation.
- Flexibility. The amount of time and effort required isn’t as dependent on the length or complexity of the motion as other animation techniques are.
- Physical accuracy. Digitally captured motions are more physically accurate and realistic than other animation techniques.
Untitled Project: Investing Heavily in Motion Capture and Production
An influx of immersive, 360-degree 3D animation for blue-chip experience centers saw Untitled Project take a massive leap and upgrade their motion capture system to feature 18 high-end Prime 17W camera systems. Maintaining our reputation as a leading Singapore animation studio, this high-tech solution is arguably the most advanced mocap system in Singapore and allows us to rapidly prototype animation, watch real-time previews, and puts the footage directly into the director’s hands using our virtual camera – negating the need for our CGI animation directors to be technical. Speaking of directors, just like we mentioned above, motion capture is nothing without an expert team which is why we’re proud to announce our new collaboration with legendary feature film producer and BAFTA winner, Ben Lock. Ben will be joining us to produce our new animation series using our state-of-the-art mocap system and will be a huge part of Untitled Project’s exciting future as we expand our production team and take on more high quality, serialized CGI animation projects. Connect with Untitled Project to find out more about the advantages of working with Singapore’s best animation company.