SOMEONE PLEASE PUT AN END TO MOTION CAPTURE!!!

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SOMEONE PLEASE PUT AN END TO MOTION CAPTURE!!!

Post by jcvaldez » March 28th, 2008, 9:55 am

I think that motion capture and animation should never be put into the same subject/genre. Motion capture is NOT animation! I think motion capture has it's place in live action films for stunts or effects that are to dangerous, almost impossible to create with a live actor. But movies like "Beowulf", "The Polar Exress", "Happy Feet" (by the way are all awful movies!) and now this new film being made by Disney "Calling All Robots" are being called an animated film. Animation needs to be created by talented animators. Not 26 cameras in a room connected to non-creative computer. "Oh, but the actors are talented and they're the ones who are the mocap suit!" First of all not all so called "actors" in mocap are talented. and second the problem with mocap is that the cameras pick up the slightest movement of that actors and that gets translated onto the characters which in the end make them move floaty and robotic. If none of you believe me, go watch and carefully look at the previously mentioned movies again. "Oh, but the animators can fix that!" If you need animators to fix the problems with mocap... then get rid of mocap and let the animators ANIMATE!!!

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Post by Dusterian » March 28th, 2008, 1:05 pm

I don't think that the actors having talent has anything to do with the merit of motion capture. It is technically animation, it's just the ultimate form of cheating. Rotoscoping was used in animation, but except for "animted" films like Gulliver's Travels and The Lord of the Rings, rotoscoping only took key deatils and poses, not the whole image. Someone at Disney even said you can't trace an image onto flat paper, it becomes "wide and gross". So if motion capture was only used as reference, that they only took parts of, it'd be fine. Now, if they already do that...then I guess it's fine, but I'm pretty sure motion capture is stealing all the answers from the actors.
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Post by Ben » March 28th, 2008, 6:47 pm

Yep, mo-cap is the CGI rotoscope.

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Motioscope or Rotocap

Post by Dusterian » March 28th, 2008, 11:22 pm

Okay, thank you Ben, but, do you feel it uses more than rotoscope? Or maybe it's that they're both the same, it's just that company's like Disney tried not to use rotoscope too much or take that much from it, and the company's using motion capture are?

Hmmm... Motioscope. Rotocap.
Last edited by Dusterian on March 30th, 2008, 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by EricJ » March 29th, 2008, 8:29 am

Y'know, for my money, you just can't repost the CalArts film enough...

It speaks for a generation. :)

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Post by eddievalient » March 29th, 2008, 10:29 am

Personally, I don't really care if a movie is mo-capped or not. I'm looking for a good story and if the visuals are good too, that's just icing (and ya gotta admit, Beowulf had some darn good visuals). I'm seriously curious to see what they do with A Christmas Carol. That story has been done-to-death so thoroughly, I'm wondering how they're going to make their version unique (aside from Jim Carrey playing multiple characters).

The Calarts video is funny, though. Glen Keane cameo=genious.

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Post by Dusterian » March 29th, 2008, 11:22 pm

Yes, fantastic video EricJ! Brilliantly funny, and too sad. Notice Keane modeling for mo-cap for one of his own hand-drawn creations? Actually pretty well designed and moving mermaid tail.
eddievalient wrote:I'm looking for a good story and if the visuals are good too, that's just icing (and ya gotta admit, Beowulf had some darn good visuals).
UMMMMM...but you're on ANIMATED news. Animation is about the look and how well-drawn or well-moving it all is. So the look should be important to you! What's the difference between a story in live-action, traditional animation, and computer animation? How they look!

If it's just the icing...this site is an awful lot about the icing.
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Post by Randall » March 30th, 2008, 12:19 am

I'm not sure why some people are so against motion capture. Is Beowulf animated worse than Justice League? Or South Park? Or Simpsons? I don't think so. And yet people are allowed to like those other shows. How about Happily N'Ever After or Hoodwinked? Did Beowulf look worse than that? Beowulf was very impressive at times. Not perfect, certainly, but certainly it had more eye candy than most TV shows, not to mention a lot of the crappy CGI movies that come along. If you don't care for the look, that's fine. But you can't tell me that a mocap movie is necessarily inferior to another type of animated feature. It seems that people demand that mocap look REAL, which to me is silly.

And, as far as rotoscoping goes, shall we condemn all those great Betty Boop shorts that used it too? Mocap may be the CGI equivalent to rotoscoping, but so what? It's just a different technique with its own inherent strengths AND weaknesses. Just like collage aniamtion, stop motion, paint-on-glass, etc. It's a big world out there. Some of us choose to enjoy all that we can, some people just want to focus on a couple of things they like.

So, no... I won't be joining in this little campaign to end motion capture. I mean, aren't there enough CGI and live action films also coming out to suit you?


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Post by Ben » March 30th, 2008, 8:33 am

I totally support Rand's ideas that mo-capped features <I>are</I> animated ones...seriously, whatever the technique, there is designing involved and model building - not least to mention all the scenics, of course, which don't come out of a box y'know - just as rotoscope doesn't mean a hand-drawn film should be called animation. I liken the two techniques, but to say they are not animation is, please excuse me, foolish.

So, I'm in no way advocating the abolition of mo-cap! In fact, I'm wishing it well and practically <I>willing</I> it along frustratingly so that it can get better! I <I>love</I> Bob Zemeckis' films, and I can actually appreciate that he's trying to make the technique better each time. But what frustrates is that what he's doing doesn't even compare to what was about five-ten years ago.

Bad animation is embarrassing, period. Happily N'Ever After shows how even keyframing can go bad, but I wouldn't put South Park into a discussion about technique - it's intentionally choppy is often referred to in the show itself ("the animation is all c****y" says one of the kids in the movie).

My main bones of contention with "performance capture" is that they keep trying to use it to represent flesh and blood actors and go photorealistic. Why was Monster House the most successful of these outings? Because it wasn't photo real and because it had a fun story. Hoodwinked (not mo-capped) had terrible animation, but you get drawn into the story, much in the same way manga can do in good Japanese animation.

But Polar Express just didn't hold the attention, and it was the characters in Beowulf, more than the story, that didn't grab, to me at least. Remember the whole reason to make films in the animated medium? It used to be because they couldn't be told in live-action. What's most distressing about these two perf-cap films especially is that they're essentially live-action films being made in a nice, safe, warm environment so the filmmakers don't get cold and wet. They're a live-action substitute, but not good enough to be live-action. And while we may call them animation, they're not quite that either.

What I'm really looking forward to is Tin Tin. I think Jackson is going to knock this out of the park. Why? Because he's <I>casting</I> it with the right sized people. Thus a teenager will play Tin Tin. Not an adult Tom Hanks, whose adult movements do not fit the smaller dimensions of a young boy. And it won't be a tubby, short actor like Ray Winstone playing a tall, muscular hero figure. That's half the battle solved right there. On top of that, Jackson's Weta is lightyears ahead of Sony Imageworks, who <I>just can't do human animation</I>, as we've seen time and again in Harry Potter, Spider-Man and Superman Returns.

I'm honestly looking forward to A Christmas Carol - Carrey is a physical performer, not an "actor" per se - and I think he could be the one to bring Zemeckis' brand of mo-cap to life. Because, at the moment, the likes of Beowulf are, just as Rand suggests, the equivalent to Justice League or, yes, South Park, when it should really be so much more.

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Post by EricJ » March 30th, 2008, 4:42 pm

Ben wrote:My main bones of contention with "performance capture" is that they keep trying to use it to represent flesh and blood actors and go photorealistic. Why was Monster House the most successful of these outings? Because it wasn't photo real and because it had a fun story.
Mostly the fun story, IIRC--
Since we also discovered that when you Zemeckis-mocap cartoony Pixaresque characters, what you get are blobby 3-D characters that move too realistically, and look eerily like humans in rubber Disneyland theme-park suits.
Not as creepy as the faux-Van Allsburg "Polar"-bots, but certainly in a different category.

And this about MH basically settled the "Why Zemeckis isn't Pixar" CalArts argument we'd been saying all along, that Mocap is the Lazy Amateur's Pixar, or "How to Succeed in Someone Else's Industry Without Really Trying":
It's not that Beowulf was bad in itself per se, but I do recall the word "Carpetbagger" being thrown about a lot in Bob Z's direction.

(OTOH, also played the PS3 "Marvel Ultimate Alliance" this week--where the cinematic scenes feature a Beowulf-style ultra-mocapped Captain America, Thor and Spiderman with obvious human actors--and I'll grant that there's a good direct-video to be made out of that...
Also explains why videogamers aren't particularly ooh'ing and ahh'ing over Z's movies.)

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Post by Ben » March 30th, 2008, 5:00 pm

This is what I was saying, or have done in a few of my recent reviews...I'm not a videogame freak, but even I can see that what's being done in many games now is beating what's being done at so-called state of the art movie levels.

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Post by EricJ » March 30th, 2008, 7:05 pm

Ben wrote:This is what I was saying, or have done in a few of my recent reviews...I'm not a videogame freak, but even I can see that what's being done in many games now is beating what's being done at so-called state of the art movie levels.
Basically, that's been the one protest, dating all the way back to "Final Fantasy":
"Only really, really old people are amazed by CGI movies for their own sake."

(You could draw an age-demographic line at the time, between the half of the critics, analysts and studio execs saying "The FF:TSW characters are so amazing!...They'll replace actors someday! :P ", and the mostly 18-24 audience who said "Eh, the FF7 plot was more interesting. :roll: ")

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Post by jcvaldez » March 31st, 2008, 12:36 pm

Let me put it a little more simple... Animation is Animation. Motion Capture is Motion Capture. They are not the same!

Animation utilizes the talents of a skilled artists/animators. Motion Capture does not. Motion capture makes the characters move so unnatural. The only reason that "Monster House" look better than other motion capture films, was because the characters were stylized and not realistic. However, the movements of those characters were still horrible in comparison to a fully animated film!

To compare Rotoscoping to motion capture is erroneous as well rotoscoping is only for reference. It was never an exact copy. The problem with mocap is the simple fact that is does not belong in the same catagory as animation. Mocap has it's place in live action films. Things that humans can not do or stunts too dangerous are meant for mocap. Character animation is an art form. (I invite everyone to watch the documentry of Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston... who happen to be the best animators ever in my opinion)

Yes, there have been animated movies that have bad animation... "Hoodwinked", "Happily N'ever After", "Valient"..etc. Just like any movie can be both good or bad, it depends on the people making them. The best aniamted movie that recently came out was "Ratatouille". Which Pixar pointed out in the credits that the movie was 100% animated.

My whole point to this is simple, it's about quality. I feel that Motion Capture takes away the quality of an animated film.

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Post by Ben » March 31st, 2008, 4:57 pm

"To compare Rotoscoping to motion capture is erroneous as well rotoscoping is only for reference. It was never an exact copy."

- To make a comment like that is erroneous!

While <I>Disney</I> animators often used live action as <I>reference</I> only, the very method of rotoscoping is to basically draw over the live action frames exactly. The Fleischer Brothers used this for KoKo The Clown extensively, as they did again for Gulliver in their 1939 feature. More recently, Don Bluth's films often use live-action reference, with performers actually wearing thickly outlined costumes to bring out the intended lines, which is exactly the same as getting performers to wear ping pong suits for mo-cap.

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Post by EricJ » April 1st, 2008, 12:32 am

And let's not get too far into defending rotoscoping,while we're at it--
For those who ever had to suffer through the silent-movie histrionics of the Don Bluth and Bakshi-LOTR reference actors...

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