Behind the Magic

The Beauty of Motion Capture

What is Motion Capture ?

Motion Capture is the process of transferring the movements of an actor to a digital character.

How does it work ?

Mo-Cap uses systems called optical systems. Optical systems work by tracking position markers or features in 3D, and then assembling the data into an actor's motion. In order to do this they wore black suits with white spots painted or positioned all over the body and face. Once captured the motion is then mapped onto a virtual "skeleton" of the animated character using software like Autodesk's Motionbuilder. To predict an actor's movements, virtual cinematography was developed by James Cameron. Virtual cinematography shows the digital character moving with the actor in real time on a Joelle said so they director can see a "rough" version of the performance. This is includes plenty of math, now computers and graphic are fast enough to pull it off .

Some of the most famous motion captured characters

Hear from the Expert

Motion Capture is important in the success of a movie. In fact Steve Spielberg, director of Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and TinTin, says. "It just seemed that live action would be too stylized for an audience to relate to. You'd have to have costumes that are a little outrageous when you see an actor wearing them. The costume seem to fit better when the medium chosen is a digital one."

What About Animals?

Sometimes animals are used for mo-cap to make it more believable. As Karl Abson, one of the researchers from Brodford University working on the project told BBC, "We thought humans have been done a lot, but animals have not. It seemed like a very obvious thing to do."