The first part of this Behind the Scenes show how a person is converted into a 3D character. The first step is performance: the actor/actress performs a scene (in this case a simple dance). The performance is then scanned by motion-capture equipment and then the scene is digitized into “Motion Capture Data.” Once this step is done, the data is then transferred into another program so the data can be applied to the 3D model via “Characterization.” Lastly, the robot is then exported into an advanced animation program to perform the last step, “Render.”
During the movie, the character is supposed to trip and fall. Due to safety, I did not want the actress to fall on her face like the scene intended for, so we performed a half-fall. This can be somewhat seen in the movie, but I used a well-place camera to crop out the “landing.”
Just like what the video implies, I often acted out a scene to show the actress what I had in mind, and then she would perform the scene with better animation. On a side note, this lady is a marathon runner and in great shape, I simply sit at a computer and make art, and I was only able to record one hour during the first shooting because I was too tired after acting out the scenes.
Bigger animation studios have a warehouse-sized motion capture technology to work with. I, on the other hand, have a simple mocap tech to use, which limits my space to 7ft by 7ft. I wanted a good running scene for my movie, so managed to get help from the gym facility at my college. Thankfully spring break just started and everyone was done using the gym.
In live theatre, facial expressions are not as visible as in film, so the actors have to be dynamic with their faces. This movie, however, does not require facial animation. This character had to be expressive with its body, so I created a mask for the actress to use. Just like Greek theatre, body language was more important to the audience than facial expression, and I wanted to implant this in the actress’s mindset.