Humans have always been fascinated with motion. Be it the movement of animals or the exaggerated, comical style seen in traditional animation. With advancing technology, the likes of Muybridge and Marey, studied and shared their findings. In turn, pioneering cinematography.

The development of Animation came hot on the heels of these advancements, and the opportunity presented itself to create an efficient and economic style of animation through Rotoscoping. A technique that unfortunately appeared lifeless and soulless next to expertly animated characters, created by traditional animators in companies such as Disney.

In the modern era, the emergence of motion capture technology, still seems to carry some of the baggage associated to the obvious failure of its grandparent, Rotoscoping. Animators are wary of the technology for several reasons. For one, technology it is felt, can never replicate the work of a skillful animator. Secondly, many studios are now reverting to Motion Capture to minimize the cost and time associated with a project, be it an animation or game. Therefore, several animators find themselves out of work, due to this technology.

It certainly doesn't help the cause of Motion Capture, that on many occasions it's poorly planned and executed. While it is an effective shortcut, just as much time and effort (if not more) needs to go into rigging, blending, and pre-planning.

Not only does motion capture have to be applied to human-like rigs, but it can be utilized to achieve far more stylistic goals. Within this research I've touched upon techniques that can be used to stylize motion capture data. Combining techniques, it is possible to open up far more avenues never before imagined.

The best analogy I have read, is to compare the advent of Motion Capture, to that of Photography. Rather than photography being a threat, it liberated artists. MoCap, allows animators the opportunity to be far more free and creative to developed bold new concepts. While Motion Capture itself, using the newest tools and breakthroughs, can produce fresh new styles and exciting possibilities.

Origins Marey Muybridge Fleischer Rob Bredow Q & A Debate Siggraph Panel CG Animation Pipeline Future Squash and Stretch Splines Experiment Summary Further Reading

(c) Shane Aherne 2005