Motion Capture is the process of capturing the movement of a real object and mapping it onto a computer generated object. Usually, Motion Capture is used to create synthetic actors by capturing the motions of real humans. In this case, special markers are placed over the joints of actors. Then, a special hardware samples the position and/or orientation of those markers in time, generating a set of motion data, also known as motion curves. This technique has been used by special effects companies to produce incredible realistic animations in movies such as Star Wars I, Titanic, Starship Troopers, Species, Batman, Terminator 2 and others.
The great advantage of MoCap over traditional animation techniques such as keyframing and simulation is the capability of real-time visualization and the high-quality (natural looking) of the generated animation.
Although it has been studied since the 80's, the present utilization of MoCap is restricted to a direct mapping of animation parameters. In other words, the movements captured from live subjects are mapped directly on a virtual actor, and then the animation is displayed. In spite of its value, this use is very limited and do not exploit all the potential of the MoCap process.
Our goal is to study techniques to improve the quality of motion captured data, and to develop new algorithms to manipulate these data. We have implemented a prototype of an animation system which is based on MoCap. This software works with motion captured data, and provides tools for motion analysis, manipulation and reuse.
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