May 29, 2011

You Can Motion Capture With Only One Camera

Side by side, the actor and the animation the motion capture is applied to. What you need is After Effects, (Checked Craigslist lately?) a video or web cam, something to make marks on your face and an actor willing to be filmed with weird looking dots on his/her face. Notice that the movement is not an exact match but it is very effective. This technique works really good for lip sync. The nice thing about this technique is it exaggerates and dramatizes expressions and acting witch is what animators over the decades have discovered, works really well in the medium of cartooning and animation. That is why the use of "squash" and "stretch" has become prevalent in animating. This blog-site is dedicated to this type of cartoony, motion capture for 2D animation. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions.

Intro to Motion Capture for 2D Face Animation

This is the one. Animating using motion capture is in your grasp. Animate faces, facial features with After Effects. 2D animation. You can do this at home. To date this is one of the most cost effective ways. Act out the expressions you want your characters to express. Lip sync that looks fresh, not program produced. Using this method, your animations will come to life. Try it to see how simple it is. It's easy once you get started.

Animate the entire face all at once. Smile and your character smiles. Let me know if you try this. This approach is for the artists out there.

Make A Head Turn with Motion Capture

This video will show you how to set up a character's head for animating using motion tracking data. Animate a camera instead of the head to greatly simplify turns of the head. When the head seems to turn it makes the animation "pop." A 2D animation can seem more 3D. With some limits you can turn 2D heads and make them look 3D. You can do facial motion capture with one camera. (not the vertual camera in the software but a video camera) To motion capture for face first you animate the expressions with motion track data and then you track head turning movement by using After Effect's 3D capabilities. This video covers mocap for head turning in semi-3D.

Track the Body to Animate Characters Using One Camera

Most major animations use motion capture these days but it requires thousands of dollars for cameras and other equipment. That is because most motion capture is for 3D animation. But you can get amazing results using motion capture for 2D animation. I like the results more than 3D motion capture because it looks a lot like old-school cell animation in that there is a lot of stretch and squash, exaggerated movement and animation with a lot of character and life.

This video is about motion capture of a moving actor's body (rather that motion capture of face.) I hope the independent animator realizes that they can start motion capturing. I'm developing the technique of motion capture for 2D because I'm looking for ways to put more life into my animation. I think animation should be direct, intuitive, and have a feeling of spontaneity. Animation is about the quality of movement. With motion capture YOU can control many points of movement at once. If you follow this approach your animations will look amazing and get people's attention.

The fact that motion capture for 2D is not exact is more of an advantage than disadvantage, similar to how hand drawn is an advantage over photography.

Motion Track as Many Points At Once in After Effects

After Effects' motion tracker is a lot more powerful than many people give it credit for. You are not limited to tracking one point. Nor are you limited to the four point track for corner pin tracking. You can track as many points as you like. All at the same time. This is great for motion tracking of mocap.

The videos on this web site will give you the in's and out's of motion capture for the home animator. All the major studios are using motion capture but most independent animators never dream of using it in their creative work. There is affordable motion capture, and it only uses one camera. The difference is, this is motion capture for 2D animation.

Let me know what you think.

Motion Track With One Camera, When Markers Become Covered

Here is the scenario: You are using After Effects to track motion for mocap. When you actor moves, arms and legs become obscured by other arms and legs. This tutorial shows how to smooth out the work flow for tracking this kind of movement. Your actor can move more freely when you don't have to worry so much about markers going out of view. This is for the one camera motion capture.

Are you doing motion capture similar to this? Let me know.

Make Your Own Markers For Motion Capture

Markers for motion capture need to be round, light weight and a strong color that is different than the surroundings it will be shot in. All you need is an exacto-knife, cheater (found at fishing supply stores,) green paint and double sided tape. The green stands out from the red tone found in skin colors of all types. It's important that the markers are roughly spherical in shape and stand out from the face.