Motion capture

Refers to the capture of data on an object's or person’s movement and translating this onto a digital model.

This often involves recording the actions of human actors in order to create animated 3D characters, for example in film or virtual reality. The process can be much quicker than that of traditional animation, and enables the capture of more complex movement, as well as portraying it more realistically.

Techniques include mechanical (where the actor wears a metal ‘skeleton’), optical (where the actor wears a suit with reflective dots and balls) and electromagnetic (where the actor wears magnetic receivers).

It is also possible to motion capture a camera, to enable a scene to be viewed from several different virtual camera angles.

Once the data has been captured, it is displayed on screen and processed using specialist computer software. Often, more traditional animation techniques are employed at this stage.

Motion capture can also be known as ‘mocap’, ‘virtual theatre’, ‘performance animation’ or ‘performance capture’ (specifically referring to more complex movements, such as those in the human face).

Related methods include: 3d Modelling – interactive, Animation, Motion analysis and Moving image capture.

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