SOMEONE PLEASE PUT AN END TO MOTION CAPTURE!!!

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Post by eddievalient » April 3rd, 2008, 3:49 pm

Welcome SergeMAN! The forum isn't usually this heated. The main point of contention in this thread is that jcvaldez is saying that mo-cap isn't animation or at the very least it shouldn't count as animation. I disagree and think that it does count and it's just as valid as any other form. The example I keep dragging out is Monster House. That one seemed pretty animated to me, especially the animation of the house itself. All the weird movements and contortions the house does can't have all been simply "rotoscoped" (for lack of a better comparison) from the live action footage they shot. There had to have been some work done by animators doing what they do best. Same goes for the dragon in Beowulf. There had to have been some serious animation going on there. I think that calling mo-cap illigitimate simply because it is similar to rotoscoping is silly because it completely ignores the job that the animators have to do after all the footage has been shot. That's all I'm saying.
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Post by Ben » April 3rd, 2008, 5:01 pm

Actually, my main point of contention is not the views on mo-cap.

What I was trying to get across was that rotoscoping is the same thing as mo-cap. They both cheat using live-action to get a final "animated" (note the quotes!) moving image.

And, yes, roto is like mo-cap, with just as much lack of human creativity in it. As I said, I was able to film a live-action dancer and an puppet, trace over them directly and come up with some frankly pretty impressive character animation of a monkey in a tux. I could have mo-capped the same thing and gotten the same result - passable "animation" using a live-action starting point.


NOW...I have to take on the mo-cap argument that says there's no creativity in it - that it's done by a machine. Going back to Beowulf. <I>Someone</I> had to come up with the look. <I>Someone</I> had to think about where all those balls were going to be matched to the animation model. You think Ray Winstone has a tail? If a machine was doing all the work, surely that's the <I>only</I> possible explanation as to how a human could pull off being a dragon. That's it! Winstone has a tail!

Of course not. As Eddie says above, there's some serious animation going on there. As there are with all "good mo-cap". I wasn't a fan of the technique in Polar Express or Beowulf. I didn't even actually like Happy Feet as a film. But gosh darn it if that little penguin dancing his heart out on screen doesn't get me every time.


SO...mo-cap and rotoscoping are the live-action assisted short-cut routes to producing an ostensibly "animated image". Can we, for a start towards resolving this thread, agree on that as a basic point?

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Post by droosan » April 3rd, 2008, 6:09 pm

Mo-cap is a very sophisticated & roundabout 'cousin' of puppeteering.

So, yes. IMO, it can be categorized as animation. **

After all, in it's rawest definition, the word 'animation' means to give something the appearance of life. :idea:

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** This doesn't mean I consider mo-cap to be a 'good' animation method; as I said before, I think mo-cap is better-used for very specific applications .. and is, IMO, a poor substitute for hand-keyed 'cartoon-styled' character animation. But, as SergeMAN points out, the decision to use mo-cap is often out of the artists' sphere of influence.

Methods and aesthetics don't determine whether something is or is not 'animated'; those are simply matters of taste, or opinion.

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Post by SergeMAN » April 4th, 2008, 10:21 am

Actually animation is defined as a sequence of images that gives the illusion of movement. so anything techincally, that is on film or video is animation. but i think what jcvaldez is getting at is that performance capture is not animation because it does not use the principles of animation laid down by the great animators of the past. i have to agree with that. i have to agree with that mo-cap and rotoscoping does save time and are necessarily the same thing, but rotoscoping used properly, like how the animators at disney used it, should be used as a guide or reference. mo-cap is aestheticly unpleasing to me because of it's movements. eventhough animators have to fix problems it makes, it still retains a very unnatural look to me. like i said if you are being paid to do performance capture then do it. but as an animator and movie watcher, i do not consider performance capture in the catagory as character animation. ben your example of the dragon in beowulf isn't a good example to use. because the tail was simulated to follow the movements of the actor, and sure there is creativity used in making the suit, and other things, but in the end it's still performance capture that needed to be corrected. in other words performance capture is basically doing double the work.

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Rotocap

Post by Dusterian » April 4th, 2008, 12:25 pm

I've read what everyone says, and I would like to agree with Ben to let him know he has very convincing thoughts and to get close to a resolution about something. I've thought over it, and I guess if I said Motion capture isn't animation because animators only fix it, maybe I should say rotoscoping like in Gulliver's Travels isn't animation because animators didn't do much to change the live-action, either. But it's still called animation.

But what may people call it, and what I may think, are different.

So let's see...do both CGI and Mo-cap build bodies in the computer environment, out of shapes and details, or do even the main shapes of the bodies come from Mo-cap, and they might just change it a little and add details? Is the only difference that the movement all comes from either the imagination of the animator in CGI or from the acting of the live actor in Mo-cap? And in Mo-cap the movement is only changed and thus original when an animator comes to fix it?

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Post by Stego » May 3rd, 2008, 1:43 am

the way i've always looked at rotoscoping/mo-cap being bundled into the same category as animation is comparable to someone taking a photograph of the human body and then placing it next to a drawing of the human body and saying "i made this" about both. to me, there is something inheritly wrong about that.

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Rotocap

Post by Dusterian » November 1st, 2008, 10:37 pm

This is a really, really good article about the topic, that as far as I can understand, I fully agree with:

http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/?p=1600

Please read it if you have interest in the topic, the pictures really help, too.
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Post by Ben » November 2nd, 2008, 8:29 am

Nice to see you back, Dusty. :)

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