Tuesday, October 2, 2012

WEEK 5: Character Acting 1: Working with Motion Capture Data, continued

 Animation speed drill o' the day:
Sidestep. Here's a nice example: http://youtu.be/rD7vNYqC3OI
By now I'm sure you're finding out that applying motion capture data to a rig is quite a process! For starters, you need a rig. The good news is that almost any rig can be made viable for using mocap data. The better news is there are many rigs available - from the Tutorials folder in Motion Builder to sites like Turbo Squid.
Control Rig example

But you need to do a few steps - some technical, some artistic.

Technically, the rig needs to be 'characterized' to get it to accept the data. This is covered in a very detailed Digital Tutors Tutorial "Characterizing the Skeleton"

There is also the business of creating a 'Control Rig'. Motion Builder has a very helpful procedure for creating a blendable FK/IK character setup Click here to read more about this process.

Once you get through the gauntlet of smoothing the MVN data, exporting it to Motion Builder and characterizing the rig, the really important work begins: the artistic part.

Student WIP showing blending between 2 clips.
Note the detail added to the posing in the original file.
It's our job as animators to take the data we start with - mocap, video or photo reference - and 'plus' it, make it more than what we started with. The poses must look solid and well-silhouetted. The motions must be fluid and clear. The actions must be crisp and strong or smooth and nuanced, depending on the actions.  This is where your knowledge of animation principles comes into play. The data is a good starting point - it's the animator's job to make it great. We'll go into more detail about what this means in class today! 

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