Students in the Loyalist College Animation program are adding a new skill set to their resumes with the experience they are gaining through the use of a Motion Capture studio, known as MoCap within the animation industry. The studio is deceptively simple in design. It consists of a black background against which a subject clad in black, dotted with white Styrofoam balls, moves. Five cameras strategically placed in an arc capture the motion. The cameras recognize the movement of the balls only and simultaneously stream images to a computer on which students use 3-D animation software to create animated subjects.
This cutting edge technology, widely used in the fast-paced, constantly changing gaming industry, reduces animation production time to a fraction of that required with traditional animation methods. The accuracy of the system allows for the life-like creation of characters whose movements and facial expressions match those of the actual subject.
Rob Ksiadz graduated in 2007 from the New Media Production and Animation program and now works for Neezo Inc. as a Junior CGI Artist. “The appeal of Motion Capture is in the ability to record more complicated or long actions which would be either challenging or time consuming to animate traditionally. Although smaller companies don’t directly use a Motion Capture studio, they do use Motion Capture data in order to cut down on production time. The more skills and practical experience students have, the more eligible they will be for a greater variety of employment opportunities. If I had focused on one component only, I would not be employed at my current company, because the expectation is that the employee will perform a variety of different production tasks.”
“I think that having a MoCap Studio at the College will benefit everyone who studies in the program,” said Jeremy Smith, a 2007 Animation graduate now working for a post-production company in London, England. “Even if they never use a MoCap Studio, they will understand the role that it plays in a production environment.”
“We want our graduates to be able to move laterally and vertically within the industry, which makes it necessary for us to introduce them to all aspects of animation,” explained Professor Geoff Davidson. “With a broad knowledge base they are excellent candidates for advancement, not limited to one small area of expertise. There are animation purists who will always use traditional animation, which is of a superior quality, but at the same time is much slower and very expensive. Industries such as video gaming have to move quickly and be competitive. Motion Capture is a huge part of their industry. Our students need to be comfortable in both worlds.”
For more information regarding the Animation program visit click here.
Media Contact: Marilyn Warren, Communications, Loyalist College, (613) 969-1913, ext. 2332; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Professor Geoff Davidson, ext. 2154