MoCap Returns to Escape Studios

This week our third year students have been experimenting with motion capture, led by Escape Studios cinematographer and MoCap expert Clem Gharini, operating the XSens Motion Capture System

Wiktor Brodowski (left) was acting out scenes from his new short film,  a third year Studio Project in which our students work together to create studio-quality work.
Once the acting performance is captured, the XSens data is edited and retargeted onto the production rigs, animated and cleaned up in Autodesk Maya. 
Wiktor described the experience as “an amazing opportunity to participate in mocap recordings for my current uni project. I have never “animated” so much so fast in my life.  Lots of fun! Really awesome to try this technique. Probably will be lots to fix about it anyway, but I’m eager to see how it looks in Maya”.

XSens Motion Capture
Wiktor was shooting motion capture along with Christopher Marsden-Carleton, Eren Arnold, Steven Lall and Paul Harrison; the shoot was overseen by Clement Gharini.
Performance Capture

MoCap at Escape Studios with Amedeo Beretta

Performance Capture, also known as Motion Capture, or “MoCap”, is a growing part of the animation industry. It’s something our students need to be able to work with effectively, as many animation studios – and especially games studios – rely heavily on MoCap for their animation pipeline. 

The XSens MoCap system offers a user-friendly solution to the challenges of motion capture hardware.  MoCap expert and Escape Studios tutors assist our students with the process of managing the pipeline in which the MoCap performance is successfully captured and then re-targeted onto the students’ animation rigs.
MoCap Retargeting Tutorial at Vimeo Channel

For all our students, we also have a tutorial video at our Vimeo Channel – MoCap Retargeting with Escape Studios’ tutor Amedeo Beretta.

Amedeo explains in detail the process of how to take a MoCap performance and re-target it onto an animation rig, so that the animation curves can be tweaked and polished.

You can find Amedeo’s tutorial here. Like all our tutorials, it is password-protected, available for our current students and Escapees.

Amedeo Beretta

MoCap Retargeting
It is a relatively straightforward process to capture MoCap data. The systems in place are for the most part well-tested and it doesn’t take long to capture a performance.

However, once the performance is captured, the animator is faced with the tricky business of applying the data to their chosen animation rig, and doing so in a way that permits the animator to continue to tweak the performance.

Timing and spacing will need to be adjusted, and this means that the data must be correctly targeted onto the animation control curves, giving the user maximum flexibility to adapt the performance.

MoCap Cleanup Tutorial with Steven Lall
We also have a tutorial video by studio assistant Steve Lall, who demonstrates how to clean the original curves but, at the same time, not losing the essence of the original performance.  Watch the video above, and you can see how Steve has used After Effects to create a “B panel” in the top right hand corner, showing what the original raw MoCap data looked like, in this case re-targeted onto the free Norman rig.

The advantage of this approach is that it shows the animator’s work process – any potential recruiter can see for themselves the original performance, and also understand what Steve has done with it to improve the animation and bring it to life.

Vimeo Channel
To find Steve’s tutorial video at our Vimeo Channel, follow this link.  Like our other tutorials, this one is password-protected. If you’re a student or recent Escapee, email me for the password.

Motion Capture Resources at Escape Studios

To see more about motion capture at Escape Studios, follow the links below:

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