SOMEONE PLEASE PUT AN END TO MOTION CAPTURE!!!

General Discussions, Polls, Lists, Video Clips and Links
AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 8211
Joined: October 25th, 2004
Location: Binghamton, NY

Post by ShyViolet » April 1st, 2008, 1:29 am

I do think Bakshi might have overdone the rotoscoping thing a little, although I am intrigued by his work.

But at least Don Bluth had the creative energy--misguided as it may have been at some points--to crank out something watchable. (to say the very least)

With Bakshi, and now motion captured films, there's not much creativity to back it up. (although Bakshi was worlds ahead of films like Beowulf.)

Plus, at least with Don Bluth, the colors, sparkles and effects were all incredible. :) You can't rotoscope those.

EDIT: this was edited from a different post where a couple of facts were mistaken, my bad.
Hello, Mr....Kerns! I bad want money now. Me sick.
Ooh, he card reads good!

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 19
Joined: March 28th, 2008

Post by jcvaldez » April 1st, 2008, 9:44 am

My statement "To compare Rotoscoping to motion capture is erroneous" is not erroneous because an animator still has to do the animation. Rotoscoping is only reference. Yes the animator traces over the film, but he still has to add the principles of animation. Were as mocap the computer does the majority of the work, which removes the art of animation. Sure there is an animator who as to clean up the mess mocap creates. But if that's the case, then why use mocap to begin with? Just because it saves time? Is saving time worth the loss of quality, personality, and real character animation. I don't think so.

Sheridan College School of Animation professor Mark Mayerson said "motion capture is not animation, merely a technique whose look imitates animation he also said "Motion capture is like steriod use in professional sports, except that I don't think that motion capture is performance enhancing."

Animator Keith Lango said "When you’re not animating things anymore (as animation has been defined for 80+ years), what’s the point of calling it an animated film?"

Maybe is should entitled this topic "MOTION CAPTURE IS NOT ANIMATION", because that's what I really meant anyways.
I think that motion capture has it's place in live action film not in animation. It should never be compared to or called animation. Nothing will ever beat the talents and skill of a well trainned animator

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 441
Joined: December 21st, 2007

Motioscope

Post by Dusterian » April 1st, 2008, 11:38 am

I agree with everything jcvaldez is saying.

As for Ben and me, we may agree, but I can't tell. First off, I didn't find his comment erroneous, and secondly, were you saying when Disney rotoscoped, they just traced it exactly?

I couldn't believe Disney animators were relying on rotoscope that much. I do know that Cinderella costumes had outlines on them just like you talked about, but then I remembered something in one of my books (about the making of Cinderella):
According to Marc Davis, "Cinderella's movements were never tracings of the live model because if you trace a photographic image with a flat line, the image becomes wide and gross. Live action is useful as a pattern to help you in the difficult things that you can't pull out of your head."
The reasons they did so much with live action in the first place was it was cheaper and everyone, animator, director, layout artist, knew where everything was, and knew exactly what was being done.

I know I've seen where they drew over photostats with rough sketches of the main, basic, principal poses, but I also know the animators were free to decide whether to use it or not, and how much they used. I think the new company's are using too much of what already exists that they captured, and not even bothering to make it look much different.

So maybe what needs to happen is people need to use Mo-Cap correctly, only as reference.

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 19
Joined: March 28th, 2008

Post by jcvaldez » April 1st, 2008, 11:53 am

I completely agree with Dusterian.

You are right in saying "So maybe what needs to happen is people need to use Mo-Cap correctly, only as reference."

Mocap should not go away. But, it should not be place in same catagory as animation. "Happy Feet" needs to give their Oscar back.

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 1347
Joined: January 23rd, 2006
Location: The Middle of Nowhere

Post by eddievalient » April 1st, 2008, 2:46 pm

*snaps*
You guys are protesting too much. If you asked an average person to define mo-cap, I highly doubt they would call it live-action after seeing Polar Express or Monster House. If it's not live action, what is it? ANIMATION!!! Mo-cap, as a visual technique, is just as valid as cgi, stop-motion or anything else. And like it or not, it's here to stay. Get over it. Sorry to be so snappy, but it irks me when people think their POV is inarguable. I see it all the time and it just gets on my nerves. Okay. Rant over. No hard feelings, huh?
The Official Lugofilm Ltd Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/bartsimpson83

User avatar
AV Founder
AV Founder
Posts: 19472
Joined: October 22nd, 2004
Location: London, UK

Post by Ben » April 1st, 2008, 3:42 pm

jcvaldez wrote:My statement "To compare Rotoscoping to motion capture is erroneous" is not erroneous because an animator still has to do the animation. Rotoscoping is only reference.
You were not listening. Rotoscoping is not "only" reference. It is a trace of the live-action. That is not referencing. I can not draw to a particularly amazing degree, but shoot me a live-action sequence, let me trace over it, and hey, I'm an animator! I've actually done this, shooting a dancer in a tuxedo, then a monkey puppet head. I drew over the guy, then I drew over the monkey head, which had been performed to pose the right faces. A final trace put the two together, I scanned it on a PC and colored the frames - pretty darn good animation of a monkey in a tux - all based on rotoscoping.
jcvaldez wrote:Yes the animator traces over the film, but he still has to add the principles of animation. Were as mocap the computer does the majority of the work, which removes the art of animation.
No, the principles of animation are not added. They are added at <I>DISNEY</I> (gosh, I get tired of repeating myself), where the live-action WAS used as reference only, but the very technique of ROTOSCOPING is tracing without adding anything. Just as "the computer does the majority", the live-action does the leg work. How does this differ...it doesn't.
jcvaldez wrote:Is saving time worth the loss of quality, personality, and real character animation. I don't think so.
Please watch the ROTOSCOPED animation of Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels, the grandmother/mother in Thumbelina and see the loss of quality, personality and real character animation in those ROTOSCOPED characters.
Dusterian wrote:First off, I didn't find his comment erroneous, and secondly, were you saying when Disney rotoscoped, they just traced it exactly?
NO, NO, NO. Disney used live-action REFERENCE FOOTAGE as REFERENCE!! They NEVER called it rotoscoping at the Disney Studio. They basically NEVER rotoscoped anything!!

So...Disney: live-action reference.
Others: live-action tracing = rotoscoping.

THE TWO THINGS ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

Fleischer, Bakshi and Bluth - and me with my tuxed monkey! - traced over the live-action. THAT is rotoscoping, and this IS the same as a mo-cap shoot. You're shooting a live person giving the physical movements. The technique - rotoscoping or mo-cap - then translates that into an rendered image, either by pencil and paint or CG images. If anything, mo-cap is MORE animation because it CAN then be tweaked - a la Gollum or King Kong - to create a more animated performance. Rotoscoping is it...you copy it frame for frame and that's it...just as good (or bad) as the live-action.


Yes, mo-cap needs to be used as a BASE for an animated performance, but not to call it animation is, frankly again, foolish. What is Ray Winstone doing when he's the dragon in Beowulf. Did he grow wings, a tail and an eight foot neck?

NO - AN <B>ANIMATOR</B> WENT IN AND TWEAKED HIS PERFORMANCE TO CREATE THE ILLUSION.


This is frankly, a dumb conversation. If you can't see that the two techniques are basically both "cheats" for creating animation, then you're obviously hanging out on the wrong forum.

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 19
Joined: March 28th, 2008

Post by jcvaldez » April 2nd, 2008, 10:55 am

Disney Rotoscoped "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". He first intended it only as a guide for the animators but felt that the animators were not getting the exact movement for Snow White he was looking for. So he had them use it more extensively for Snow White.

Don Graham, an animator for Disney at the time, said that rotoscoping was a "crutch" for artists who lacked the skill to do their work on their own.

Read - Out Of The Inkwell: Max Fleischer And The Animation Revolution, Max Fleischer talks about inventing the rotoscope as a time and labor saving way of producing animation. He soon came to realize that although the device was a great aid in effects and technical animation, it was a poor substitute for character animation.

Don't get me wrong, rotoscoping is useful (as a guide) and I never said anything bad about it. But I do not consider it the same as MOCAP. And this whole discussion is to make clear that MOTION CAPTURE IS NOT ANIMATION. Mocap is a "crutch" for animators without talent.
Again I agree with Dusterian "So maybe what needs to happen is people need to use Mo-Cap correctly, only as reference."

And I have to disagree with you Ben when you said "If anything, mo-cap is MORE animation because it CAN then be tweaked - a la Gollum or King Kong"

I'm sorry but when you rewatch Gollum's performance... there is no weight to him, and he often looks like a marionette. King Kong however, was done with Mocap, but relied a lot on animation clean up.

And I do understand that Rotoscoping and Mocap are "cheats" for animation. That doesn't mean it's animaton.

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 1347
Joined: January 23rd, 2006
Location: The Middle of Nowhere

Post by eddievalient » April 2nd, 2008, 11:28 am

Ben wrote:This is frankly, a dumb conversation. If you can't see that the two techniques are basically both "cheats" for creating animation, then you're obviously hanging out on the wrong forum.
What Ben said. People here generally talk about ALL forms of animation, including mo-cap, and accept them all as equally valid. There are some who don't care for particular techniques or particular films, but that's natural and we can generally agree to disagree, something which you seem to be unwilling to do here. If you can accept that not everyone is going to agree with you, you'll do fine here. If not, then I suggest that you look for another place to rant and spare us the discord. Nothing personal.
The Official Lugofilm Ltd Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/bartsimpson83

User avatar
AV Founder
AV Founder
Posts: 19472
Joined: October 22nd, 2004
Location: London, UK

Post by Ben » April 2nd, 2008, 1:52 pm

jcvaldez wrote:Don Graham, an animator for Disney at the time, said that rotoscoping was a "crutch" for artists who lacked the skill to do their work on their own.
jcvaldez wrote:Mocap is a "crutch" for animators without talent.
Quite clearly, you have now become entangled in your own argument. So, stop it.

And, for the record, both Gollum and Kong were animated in the same way, from Serkis' mo-cap performance and then tweaked. It's clear you haven't seen any of the LOTR bonus footage as it is VERY clear that what Serkis did live on the stage is NOT what ended up in the film. To say Gollum had no weight is ludicrous - especially when the character became a champion for the kind of live/CG melding it used, proving that mo-cap is a more than valid technique for basing animation on.
jcvaldez wrote:"So maybe what needs to happen is people need to use Mo-Cap correctly, only as reference."
Again...see Gollum and King Kong. Same process, only bettered by knowledge and experience over a number of years.

Seriously, why don't you take your insane and nonsensical rant somewhere else? Going around in circles trying to break through a thick skull isn't something I'm interested in doing here.

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 8211
Joined: October 25th, 2004
Location: Binghamton, NY

Post by ShyViolet » April 2nd, 2008, 10:27 pm

Just wanted to clarify that I LOVED Gollum and King Kong--especially Gollum. There was so much human feeling and pain in Golum's eyes--no one can mo-cap that. (Hence why the Two Towers is my fave in the trilogy.)

Ditto Kong when he knew he had no way out and let go of the Empire State Building.

What I meant by mo-cap not having much creativity (aesthetically) was mostly films like Beawulf, Polar Express, etc....dead eyes, "uncanny valley", what have you. :wink:
Hello, Mr....Kerns! I bad want money now. Me sick.
Ooh, he card reads good!

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 2949
Joined: October 24th, 2004

Post by GeorgeC » April 3rd, 2008, 1:18 am

Gotta love it when fanboys go on a rant about things they just don't understand...

Ah, the Internet! :twisted:

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 1621
Joined: December 16th, 2004
Location: Burbank, Calif.

Post by droosan » April 3rd, 2008, 2:07 am

Having worked directly with motion-capture technology myself, on a variety of projects (with both 'good' results, and 'bad') .. I was prepared to offer some of my own viewpoints, based on my experiences.

Until I clicked into the thread, and saw that the first poster's mind was already vehemently made-up .. that motion-capture was not only aesthetically 'displeasing', but EEE-ee-e-e-villl-l-l-l, somehow. :roll: Ben's last post kinda sums up my own reaction to that attitude.

----

EDIT: this was originally all I was going to say. But I figured, what the heck, I'll offer my views, anyway: ;)

------------------

IMO, mo-cap is better-suited to 'certain' types of projects. In particular, video games, live-action visual-effects, or forensics. It is an excellent tool for any project whose primary goal is realistic, physics-accurate motion.

But, 99.9% of the time (no exaggeration), mo-cap is used with prodigious human 'assistance' and input:

Most systems place a keyframe on every frame, for each marker .. often with multiple sets of data per marker; this tremendous amount of data produces 'jerky' motion when played back 'raw', at speed. Most of these keyframes must be discarded, so that only the 'key' extreme positions for each marker remain .. resulting in smooth 'arc-ing' motion graphs. Also, of course, markers which become 'obscured' for any reason (ex: passing behind an arm or leg) must be interpolated. While many studios do use code/scripts to wade through a certain amount of these 'clean-up' tasks, a human is ultimately responsible for what data gets kept, and what gets thrown away. Also, of course -- particularly for characters who must interact -- the motion data must be re-timed, or even enhanced with hand-keyed animation, in order to synchronize the performances. Trouble often comes when those tasked with data 'clean-up' are not necessarily the best 'animators' themselves, or even (especially at some 'cheap-o' overseas studios), seem not to have actual 'artistic' skills of any kind. :?

The quality of performance from the actor is also a major factor. I've found that the best people for this sort of work usually have some form of dance or gymnastic/acrobatic training, which makes them 'hyper-aware' of their body movements; also, of course, pantomime acting ability is extremely important.

None of that makes up for the fact that humans simply do not 'move' like cartoon characters can & do. What looks aesthetically pleasing when drawn (or hand-keyframed) is always the result of carefully-planned-out arcs and judicious use of squash-n-stretch, ease-in/out, and any number of other tried & true principles which produce appealing (though, again, often not 'realistic') animation.

This is why, IMO, mo-cap is not very well-suited to cartoon-styled animation. The 'disconnect' between how cartoon characters are expected to move, and the rather clumsy way that real people actually do move, is enough to place the result firmly in the 'uncanny valley'.

------------------

The main reason that Hollywood will never "put an end to motion-capture" is that it can, indeed, save productions time and money.

However, less money and less time almost necessarily means you'll have a 'lesser' end result than hand-keyframing (which costs more money, mostly only because it takes more time).

And, of course, when more time is taken to 'massage' mo-cap data .. the time and money savings is 'nullified', and the end result can still be less-than-pleasing (for most of the reasons already stated above).

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 441
Joined: December 21st, 2007

Motioscope

Post by Dusterian » April 3rd, 2008, 12:23 pm

eddievalient wrote:What Ben said. People here generally talk about ALL forms of animation, including mo-cap, and accept them all as equally valid. There are some who don't care for particular techniques or particular films, but that's natural and we can generally agree to disagree, something which you seem to be unwilling to do here. If you can accept that not everyone is going to agree with you, you'll do fine here. If not, then I suggest that you look for another place to rant and spare us the discord. Nothing personal.
But eddievalient, the thing is jcvaldez doesn't consider it a form of animation at all! Because the "animation" doesn't come from an animator's imagination but completely from live action movement and poses. Live action reference is looking at poses and using the imagination to enchance or change them into your own animation, not too different from the fact that we make things move based on how we've seen things move in the past, it's like a reminder. But in Mo-cap the computer directly captures the movement, not with a human's mind, but a machine.

Of course, animators may come in and tweak the animation, and that might be animation. So, maybe that's where the animation of Mo-cap is, but Mo-cap isn't the animation itself, it's what was used to make the animation, and if animators are only tweaking it instead of making it themselves based on what they've seen in the Mo-cap...it's different.
Ben wrote:
jcvaldez wrote:Don Graham, an animator for Disney at the time, said that rotoscoping was a "crutch" for artists who lacked the skill to do their work on their own.
jcvaldez wrote:Mocap is a "crutch" for animators without talent.
Quite clearly, you have now become entangled in your own argument. So, stop it.
What? jcvaldez didn't mess up his argument at all. He's saying rotoscoping is bad just like Mocap is bad, when they are used badly (copying live action exactly, instead of just as reference). He never said he liked rotoscoping!

I do not find jcvaldez' rant insane or nonsensical, or going around in circles. Nor do I think he has a thick skull, as he is taking in what you are saying and replying back with why he still thinks what he thinks, why it hasn't changed him. For instance, he stated why his argument wasn't erroneous after you said it was.

Droosan...it sounds like Mo-cap actually is bad from what you said.

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 19
Joined: March 28th, 2008

Post by jcvaldez » April 3rd, 2008, 1:59 pm

Thanks Dusterian for your input. That is exactly all I was getting at. I do not believe that Mocap should be considered animation or rather character animation, because in my opinion it's not. Real character animation comes from the talents and imagination of great animators.

I agree with Droosan when he said that Mocap is best suited for other projects, to create realistic, physical action, not necessarily cartoon style animation. (They used it in Beowulf, because of the realistic designs, but I bet it would have been better with key frame animation.) This is something I said before as well.

I feel that Mocap weakens the quality of character animation, it does not improve it, nor does it help it. It makes that character move "floaty", "jerky", and ironically "robotic". That is my opinion. Mocap only look good with the aid of an animator. But if that is the case, then maybe cut out the waste of time in Motion Capture and let the animator animate.

Some you said that the audience doesn't care about key frame animation, mocap, or whatever, as long as the movie is good. You're right. But, as animators you should care.

And finally, in this entire thread, I have never called anyone foolish, thick-headed, or doesn't belong in this forum. I have just stated my opinions and responded to what was said. If I can not do that, then what's the whole point of having this forum anyways if you can not discuss animation issues and topics.

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 2
Joined: April 3rd, 2008

Post by SergeMAN » April 3rd, 2008, 2:34 pm

man oh man this is a heated forum....

i have to agree with jcvaldez in what he is saying. performance capture is not character animation. as a mattter of fact animators put a lot of work into fixing the capture. he is a little wrong with the topic of rotoscoping. performance capture is a helpful tool in creating realistic characters like gollum. but what is shown on the dvd special features is not everything that goes into it. there are a lot of animators having to fix those clumsy movements of the actors in the suits. i personally prefer to animate characters manually without the help of performance capture. but if the people who are paying you to do performance capture, then you do performance capture.

Post Reply