Motion Capture Course Breakdown
Disclaimer: We'd like to advise all Mac users that Motion Builder, the software you'll learn and work with during our motion capture workshop is not available for Mac.
3 weeks - 2 x 1.5 hour classes (each class includes 30 min of Q&A) + exercise each week.
These classes are specifically designed to teach the bare essentials of Motion Builder from an animator’s perspective. We’ll focus on a specific subset of tools that will allow us to get up and running with Motion Builder in order to explore the high level concepts later in the class.
Week 1 - Video Tutorial Q&A
We’ll review what was discussed in the tutorial videos and do a Q&A on the material covered. We’ll also have a LIVE DEMO of the first exercise: “The Flying Saucer”, where we’ll cover the basic steps shown in the video from the previous week and then we’ll take things a bit further.
Week 2 - Anatomy of an Action
Hop reference videos will be reviewed and we’ll get an introduction to my Anatomy of an Action philosophy (a method for breaking down an action into its most important poses) as well as my keyframe workflow passes (block, rough, polish) We’ll also introduce 'key framing tutorial videos'.
Week 3 - Key Framing Live Demo
First, we’ll take a moment to review the key framing videos introduced last week, then I’ll walk everyone through my application of the Anatomy of an Action to my hop reference and block out an animation of a hop in MotionBuilder.
Week 4 - Review of Hop Block
We’ll take a look at how people made out with their hops and then assign a small research assignment while also introducing *Motion Capture Introduction tutorial videos* A small research project regarding the motion capture industry will also be assigned.
Week 5 - Introduction to Motion Capture
Lectures on my motion capture workflow philosophy (protecting the performance, editing the performance, enhancing the performance). The final workshop assignment will be introduced so that everyone knows what we’re working towards as a final goal.
Week 6 - My First Mocap
Live Demo of a “Simple Action” (mocap) protecting and editing the performance. Anatomy of an Action will be used to help identify key poses to enhance.
Week 7 - Review First Mocap
Review of Simple Action and Q&A.
Week 8 - Final Assignment: The Modified Cycle
Taking the basic cycle to the next level: a benefit to film, TV and games. Live Demo: Extracting the base cycle and making it loop.
Week 9 - Adding the final organic touch
LIVE DEMO illustrating how to make natural modifications to mocap data as well as adding organic detail that may have been removed during the cycling process.
Week 10 - Review Final Assignment
Review the WIP on the Final Assignment and/or the first mocap exercise.
Week 11 - Anatomy of an Action (The Sequel)
Go back and revisit the hop data, but this time apply AoA to extract key poses from which to animate with using the story mode.
Performance Analysis and Enhancement
11 weeks - 1 hour class + 2 hour reviews each week + 4 projects
In this section we will be laying down a basic workflow and check list to follow when dealing with performance capture data. We will work with in-game style animations and cinematic style animations.
Week 4 - 5 – “Protecting” The Performance
This section involves the analysis of the data and comparing it to the reference videos when available. The will learn about the following things:
- how to properly analyze reference videos
- how to break down a scene/action into its basic actions and poses
- how to break down a scene/action into its core message/player feedback
- what are the first things to look out for
- bio-mechanics (weight, balance, body unity, etc)
- range of motion
- the concept behind re-targeting and why we need to do it
- what to do if you don't have video reference
- More TBA
Weeks 6 - 7 – Editing The Performance
This step involves making basic changes to base data to either fix issues with the original performance and/or to apply directorial changes asked for by your director. We will learn the following things:
- how much is too much? Avoiding the Frankenstein effect
- using the Story mode to make global changes to a scene/action
- combining multiple takes to build the "perfect take"
- the power of layers
- removing a section of an action/scene
- rebuilding and repairing sections of a scene/action with keyframe
- cleaning up anchors and contacts
- More TBA
Weeks 8 - 9 – Enhancing The Performance
Here we talk about how we can take a scene/action and heighten it's dramatic appeal/impact by identifying the "key moments", enhancing silhouettes and in some cases making changes to the timing. We'll touch on the following topics here:
- Performance analysis and enhancement
- How to improve your staging
- Improving weight and contacts
- advanced layers
- “Motion Editing”
- Adding the icing
- More TBA
Weeks 10 - 11 – Anatomy of An Action
"The Anatomy of An Action" - Students will learn my formula for breaking down actions into key poses. They will use the story mode to extract key poses and timing from the data in order to block out a key frame animation. This is a very powerful work flow method, which yields an animation block with very realistic timing and organic poses to build off of. This technique also provides the opportunity to heavily stylize a realistic motion and can serve well as a quick prototyping tool for in-game animations. This technique is becoming quite popular at studios across the world (Ubisoft and Naughty Dog to name a couple).
Weeks 12 - 14 – Optional Animation Workshop
If time permits and we are making good progress, we’ll spend the last 3 weeks discussing my take and philosophies regarding Key Frame Animation workflows. Students will have a chance to practice these concepts and will have a choice of creating an animation from scratch or using Motion Capture data to create a block while applying what they learned in weeks 10 and 11. I will also try to make time for students to suggest learning topics during these final 3 weeks.
- Learning the phases (block, rough, polish)
- Less is more early on
- Making use of animation layers
- Learning how to be the master of your scenes
- Interfacing with directors
- More TBA