21 December 2012
Posted in The Polar Express 3D
The Polar Express, released in 2004, pushed the bounds of animation by using motion capture technology to transcribe actors’ movements and gestures onto the digitally crafted models in the movie. The advancement of motion capture technology demonstrated in The Polar Express was pioneered by Sony Pictures Imageworks. Titled “Imagemotion,” this motion capture system simultaneously records facial and body motions of multiple actors at once. It does this by using several motion capture cameras designed to provide 360 degrees of recording coverage.
To start, live actors’ motions are digitally reordered and then applied to 3D models. The physical motion recording can be done via one of two methods: (1) the actors wear a bodysuit wired with complex sensors that detect their movements; (2) actors attach smaller singular sensors at pivotal points to capture the motion of those particular joints which are then translated into full-limb motion. These sensors send digital readings which are then imported into 3D animation programs. From there, the information is applied to character models by mapping recorded motion data onto key points defined in the 3D models.
There is a great deal of work that is involved in going from live captured data to its digital form. In many cases, if even one mistake is made recording the motions, the entire scene will need to be re-shot.
Check out the video below to learn more on how motion capture technology was used in the film and be sure to see it during its limited holiday engagement at the Digital Adventure Theater!
The Polar Express 3D screens daily through Jan. 6, 2013.