Guest Column | Tech: The mo-cap story – Parth Shah

Motion capture is an additional tool to animation and will never replace the traditional animation style. However, one main benefit of using motion capture with an animated character production is you can direct and retake numerous shots to get your perfect animation, whereas in Keyframe it can take weeks to create a photo-realistic animation.
Parth Shah
Motion capture is widely used in games, films, television, sometimes for military and medical research, and most recently emerging AR and VR pipelines. Much loved characters like The Hulk and Spiderman are brilliant examples of motion capture being used to bring super heroes to life for movies and games. Centroid has an inventory of 192 hi-resolution motion analysis cameras which enable to shoot up to 10 performers simultaneously in-house, on set, or on location. The company focuses on experience, quality and the ability to perform highly accurate animal, creature and stunt motion capture with a website library data service to clients where they can get a variety of categories; from generic walk cycles to dance grooves, or combat sequences with equestrian battle moves! What is motion capture? Motion capture (also Mo-cap) is a way to digitally record human, animal and props movements using bespoke cameras, custom software and specially made suits and markers (or gyros). The recorded motion capture data is mapped on a digital character in 3D software (For example: Unreal Engine, Unity 3D, Maya, Motion Builder or 3D Studio Max) so the character moves exactly as the actor or animal were originally recorded. What are the benefits of motion capture? It should also be mentioned that there is misunderstanding in India about motion capture being highly expensive, whereas it is not – due to the fast nature of motion capture we are able to deliver a large capacity of animation, to a very high standard, within a very short time frame. Our clients actually find it a more affordable and productive method of achieving the best quality animation within very tight deadlines when we share our rate card and delivery schedule. How is the motion capture industry inside and outside of India? For the past two decades motion capture has been an established solution for characters, film and game production in America and Europe. More recently in India, motion capture has been used in many projects across our domestic entertainment industries. However, now many of our top film and game producers are becoming aware of motion capture and it is therefore our mission to bring the technology deeper into the VFX and animation industry so directors, production houses and actors become pragmatic about the capabilities and benefits it has to offer. Our hope is that once they know much more about this technology, it will increase the qualities and performances of CG characters and animals that our wonderful and long-established entertainment industry has to offer. Mo-cap is being used in almost all genres of Hollywood movies to seamlessly combine CG and live characters in a single frame and make it believable. In the past few years both large and small budget TV series worldwide are using it to create realistic CG characters. In India, we have seen increasing demands in mobile game production. What are the new trends and future of Motion Capture Industry: Celebrities from all around the globe (including India) are preserving their 3D model by performing photogrammetry of their body form and expressions, along with their voice (had Peter Cushing been able to do this back in the 1970’s it may have made the reproduction of him as Grand Moff Tarkin from Star Wars – Rogue One a much simpler process!). Now with the use of these techniques, you can bring any person back to life and cast them in any digital production for film, game or even as a standalone holographic character within a live production. To conclude, I feel that with the help of motion capture in India along with amazing movies coming up, we can make great photo-realistic CG character performances for audiences to fall in love with. (These are purely personal views of Centroid India studio director Parth Shah and does not necessarily subscribe to these views).