Siggraph Panel Discussion

Motion Capture and CG Character Animations

1n 1997, Siggraph held a panel discussion on the use of Motion Capture and CG Animation. The full paper is Available here. Below is a brief summary of each panelists opinion and stance on the matter.

Andre Bustanoby of Digital Domain, states that while motion capture has its limitations, the same can be said of traditional key-frame techniques. With the added pressure of cost and schedule, properly implemented motion capture can open new avenues not yet explored.

Gordan Cameron of SOFTIMAGE Inc, who organized the discussion, felt there was a worrying trend of seeing motion capture as the 'digital holy grail' of character animation. Yet, with the development of new tools, this technology could fit seamlessly into the animation process.

Ken Cope of Ones and Zeros Surreal Estate, argues that motion capture is a product to frequently used to provide freedom from animators, not freedom for them. Stating that only animators can create a truely compelling pose.

Steph Greenberg an Independent Animator, backs up this view. Adding that animation is not an attempt to mimic human and animal life exactly, and to back up his point references the results of the Fleischer brothers rotoscoping techniques, which were criticized for being lifeless and uninspired.

On the other hand, Steph Greenberg feels that a more refined form of motion capture can offer some intriguing possibilities.

Craig Hayes of Tippet Studies, holds a wary stance on the technology, feeling it is more of a crutch, or used to create performances that could easily have been created by simply filming actors.

Oliver Ozous of SOFTIMAGE Special Projects, offers an interesting perspective, comparing the advent of motion capture to that of photography. Allowing animators to focus on more creative endevours. Finally stating that motion capture should never be used as a replacement for key frame animation.

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(c) Shane Aherne 2005