Sunday, September 23, 2007

Interesting essay on Motion Capture

Although we're not looking at mocap in detail yet, we should do so at some point in the semester. I found this really good survey essay on mocap that talks about the tension between mocap and other forms of animation.

The article is written by Maureen Furniss, who teaches at USC, so she'd be a good resource for any questions:

I liked this passage because it links animation and dance, and we're looking at both those areas too:
"From this perspective, we might see the animator's work as a form of visual 'notation'. That is how Lisa Marie Naugle describes motion capture in terms of her dance performance work. Notation, as I use the term here, generally refers to a recording of movement in print form, so that it might be preserved, studied, and perhaps re-enacted at some future time. Ethnographic researchers can use notation, for example, to record ceremonial dances that are on the verge of 'extinction' because the people who perform it are becoming integrated into another culture. One of the best known forms of dance notation is called the Laban dance notation system (actually a software program called 'LabanWriter' can be integrated into the motion capture process). Naugle compares Laban and motion capture, as two forms of notation, with the use of video and film recording. She explains that the benefits of using motion capture over other sorts of notation are that it allows analysis from any point of view and that it can be visualized in 3D form. She explains, "Looking at dance images from different locations and perspectives, notators, choreographers and dancers can create annotations or list notes about the work. . . . While video may be used repeatedly to extract information about color, motion, and, to a limited extent, depth, it is often lacking in detail or definition. Even if the video has been edited from several different perspectives, the medium does not allow for a full exploration of movement in three dimensions."24

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