Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Motion Capture Improves Animation of Animals

Traditionally, motion capture is only used to record the movement of humans; with animals being created directly by animators. However, there is human error and animators can make mistakes if the biomechanics of the animal are not fully understood. This can lead the audience of the animation to focus on the inaccuracy of the animation, rather then the story itself.

Nonetheless, recent technology has been developed and used by researchers from Bradford University, that has allowed motion capture technology to accurately capture the biomechincal accuracy of animals, with horses in particular. The mixture of biomechanics and computer science originated as a teaching aid for veterinary students, but is now being used by animators in filming and gaming.

To watch the video click here.

Motion capture works by placing cameras with LEDs around an area containing an object, person, or animal wearing reflective markers. The light then hits the reflective markers and has the marker's position reflect back and recorded. The group at Bradford attached markers to a horse and it's rider and was able to capture a realistic range of motion. The biomechanical understanding of that motion can then be put into an animation software.

This is a really big feat in the animation world as it reduces the time to build an animation and delivers a more realistic movement and motion of the animal. It is also a cheaper process, which could really come in handy in the film world. In fact, collaborations between the group of researchers and international film studios are ongoing.

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