Advance animation students learn Motion Capture technique in latest project

Advance+animation+students+learn+Motion+Capture+technique+in+latest+project

Animation teacher Peter Landrey assist his students with the new process of Motion Capture. The process is used in many animated movies and games and advanced animation students have the opportunity to experiment wit the process for one of their projects. (Josephine Xarrayaj photo)
Animation teacher Peter Landrey assist his students with the new process of Motion Capture. The process is used in many animated movies and games and advanced animation students have the opportunity to experiment wit the process for one of their projects. (Josephine Xarrayaj photo)

Intrigued by the process a group of animation students gather around animation teacher Peter Landrey, as he explains how to prepare for the latest project in the advanced class, One of the students puts on a Velcro suit with a series of white bubbles on it as the others operate the computer and capture the motion of their peer in a Motion Capture program better known to students as MoCap.

“This is a technique that most high schools don’t teach their students,” Landrey said. “When my students get to college the professors will be astonished to find out they know how to work with MoCap.”

The process which is used in most high end animated movies and games records patterns of movement and sees it digitally. To begin the month long process, students had to install 12 2D cameras around the studio to truly capture the movement. Students then dress up in a skin tight velcro suit with dozens of little motion detectors connected to it.

“We have to also have our body measured both length and width,” senior Latravious Mayfield said.    “Then we set up a skeleton for our character and capture the movements and put the final file on your 3-D object.”

Students spend a long period of time on the final project as it has to go through many phases and capturing the correct motion has to match what they are trying to accomplish with their final characters.

“It’s a rather complex procedure but it is so much fun,” advanced animation student, Andrew Ortiz said.

Motion Capture is used in many movies and video games, such as Avatar, Pirates of The Caribbean (Davey Jones and his octopus beard), Call of Duty, etc.

“I’m going into Game Design and development after I graduate,” Mayfield said.  “So learning Motion Capture will definitely help me in the future,”

Although Landrey says the process is very complex he admits knowing this will help students be more competitive in the animation field later.

“This is a good skill to already know,” Landrey said. “While this is not a cure all and fix students problems in animation but it does give them more technology to ad to their resume and portfolio of skills.”

This process is only taught to the advanced animation students because of time restraints and the complexity of the process.

“I want the students to be familiar enough with the process so that they do not have to keep coming back with questions as they are creating their project,” Landrey said. “With 20 students it takes a month or so to get everyone through the process so it would be very difficult with the 120 or so students I have in the beginning classes.

Students admit this process is fun but requires some learning to get use to.

“At first it is hard to get use to being in the suit and getting use to the process,” Mayfield said.  “But once you work with the program more and more it gets easier and easier.”

See photos below: