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Animators Turn to Motion Capture Tech For Better Results

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Standard motion capture technology.

The gaming and film industries can both take advantage of improvements to motion-capture technology developed at the University of Bradford.


Researchers at the University of Bradford are presenting their work in motion-capture technology at the upcoming British Science Festival.

The research involves placing cameras with infrared [light-emitting diodes] around an area containing an object, person, or animal wearing reflective markers. When the light hits the reflective markers, the marker's position is reflected back and recorded. The researchers attached markers to a horse and captured a range of motions. They say this "biomechanical understanding" can be embedded into animation software, reducing the time it takes to build an animation while furnishing realistic results.

The researchers note the technology also could be used to enhance movies. Bradford's Karl Abson is working with British, American, and Russian film studios, and the gaming company Electronic Arts.

The university's School of Media, Design & Technology has a motion-capture system setup comprising 16 Vicon T20 cameras. "The T20 is the fastest Vicon camera available and is capable of capturing a staggering 500 frames per second at full frame resolution (2 megapixels)," Abson says. "You can accurately capture high-speed movements such as sports or get critical frames for games and the system is capable of capturing both full body and detailed facial movement."

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