Mocap: the future of entertainment?

Thinking about starting a video game studio or an animation house? It may just be the right time. During the course of 2020, Netflix has added 26-million new subscribers to its services, it’s a massive leap compared to 2019’s 28-million user increase. The video game industry – the largest entertainment sector – has an estimated value of $159-billion in 2020. Esports alone will contribute over $1-billion to the market during the course of the year.

Those numbers are truly inspiring, but they have been bolstered due to COVID-19 and social distancing. With the global pandemic in effect, consumers are turning to digital content for their entertainment needs. As more companies adopt a work-from-home mentality to lessen the spread of the virus, production houses are having to figure out how to virtualise their development.

One of the first places to start is a technique that requires a lot of space and planning: motion capture.

What is Motion Capture?

Motion Capture – or mocap, for short – is an elegant technological mishmash of sensors, cameras, and accessories.

Through all of its components, mocap translates the movements of an actor’s face and body to a digital format. This information is then used to map out the movements of a character on-screen for editing and production. If you’ve played a video game with 3D characters, or watched an animated movie in the past few years, chances are you’ve seen mocap in action.

Andy Serkis’s portrayal of Sméagol ‘Gollum’ in the Lord of the Rings is one of the most memorable in cinema. Thanks to advancements in mocap technology, the actor was able to capture the spirit of Tolkien’s character away from a green screen while interacting with fellow actors. Mocap has come a long way since 2001’s cinematic trek to Mordor.

Another example of mocap’s usage is in the award-winning Titanfall 2 video game, developed by Respawn Entertainment, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts (EA). Among its accolades, the game was nominated for Excellence in Visual Achievement at the SXSW Gaming Awards 2017. Respawn used our mocap technology to not only animate its human protagonist, Jack Cooper, but also his titan companion, BT-7274 – BT for short.

Mocap allows animators to capture every intricacy of an actor’s movements, from sprinting colossal mechanised machines to war, to a simple conversation between a detective and suspect.

Virtualised mocap in a post-COVID age

The Covid-19 halt on production has given Hollywood an opportunity to rethink the scale of VFX. Traditional VFX can be costly, sometimes accounting for 10% of a production’s total budget. That’s assuming you don’t have to do major edits, or a complete redesign of a character, like with the recent Sonic the Hedgehog movie. 

Mocap is helping to reduce the overall costs of VFX production and streamline traditional effects, like key frames, where artists had to animate each frame by hand. Mocap eliminates this tiresome process by capturing every aspect of an actor’s movement in real-time. 

Though the transition away from traditional techniques may seem daunting at first, with the right mocap and production partner, the payoffs are astounding.

Is your 3D animation studio future-proof?

If 2020 has proven anything, it’s that you never know what the future holds. Aside from the shocking impact on human life, COVID-19 has left entire industries on the brink of collapse. 

But others are experiencing unexpected growth – and animation studios, game developers and previz agencies are among the lucky ones.

Our easy-to-use motion capture software is extremely easy to learn and use and will keep your 3D animation studio future proof.

The gaming, animation and broadcast industries are enjoying unexpected growth thanks to lockdown

As an article recently published by the World Economic Forum explains, the gaming audience has expanded during the pandemic, and the industry is flourishing. 

The article reports that Nintendo and Tencent both saw sales increases during the first quarter, with Nintendo selling almost half of its games digitally, a record that helped increase profits by 41%. Tencent’s year-on-year online games revenue increased by 31%. Even games released during the pandemic are performing well, with titles as varied as Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing breaking sales records after launching. 

And TV and film audiences have grown just as fast, with Netflix reporting that it got 16 million new signups during the first three months of 2020 thanks to lockdown.

Unfortunately, travel bans, social distancing and remote working have halted or seriously delayed many projects.

Adapting to the new normal

Animation studios, game developers, previz agencies – and the mocap actors they work with – now need to work out how to overcome the challenges of lockdown as they work through a backlog of projects.

Some of the techniques these studios are exploring include: 

Introducing BaSix Go: Lightweight mocap designed for animation

Future-proof your studio with BaSix Go,  our new easy-to-use motion capture software with the quickest and easiest setup ever seen.

It allows you to select your animated character, equip our BaSix active markers, and then stream live animation data directly to your animation package. This can all be done in under a minute, without the use of a mocap suit.

While many optical motion capture systems contain features that allow for a range of mocap applications, Basix Go is specifically designed with animation studios, game developers, and previsualization in mind.

BaSix Go simplifies and speeds up the animation and previz process. Setup and calibration of the system are quick, and the software is extremely easy to learn and use.

You might like:Everything you need to know about the BaSix motion capture system

eBook: Motion capture in the post-covid era

In our latest eBook, we talk to motion capture and 3D animation studio leaders to find out how they’re preparing for the future of mocap.

This eBook is designed to help you:

  • Explore the opportunity presented by virtual production
  • Navigate the rise of remote working and remote shoots
  • Create a safe studio
  • Future-proof your studio

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