CalArts

Here are some examples of work done with mocap at CalArts:


Ke Jiang made Taxi while he was a student at CalArts. He used The PhaseSpace mocap system to create an intentionally quirky performance by taking advantage of the artifacts that occur at the edge of the capture volume. Years earlier Jacky had created an immersive gallery space for his undergraduate portfolio at MCAD. That piece runs on the Unreal2 game engine and can be experienced in a stereoscopic 3D HMD as well as on a 2D monitor screen.

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Shimbe used the PhaseSpace motion capture system in a unique way for the making of this film. He rigged a Bunraku puppet with active markers and directed Danielle Ash as the puppeteer. The natural floppiness of the puppet provided an extraordinary quality to the targeted motion.

The Wonder Hospital, a 3D & puppet animated film, is a surreal journey of oddity and empty illusion. In a mysterious hospital, modification of physical beauty is not what you would expect. A girl’s desire for superficial beauty leads her to chase after the alluring ‘After’ images on a path of advertisements throughout the hospital. But in the end she finds something unimaginable and irreversible.”

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Visiting Artist Max Hattler conducted a workshop during the Program in Experimental Animation interim sessions in 2011.  Max collaborated with the students in exploring a variety of approaches to working with mocap. The goal was to produce one or more short works using abstracted motion capture. Forms I (Taekwondo) is one of those works.

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An Autodesk Maya playblast from 18 March 2010 of Sara Pocock’s little beach girl character animated via a simple mocap T-pose test. The T-pose test was performed in class by Justin Leon in order to double check that we had setup the Autodesk MotionBuilder marker mapping process correctly before moving on to a directed capture session. We came close do doing a brief capture session but ran out of time and had to postpone the session until the upcoming class. The realtime data from the T-pose test is all that we used in this test. No clean-up, filtering, retargeting, or other adjustments were done. Justin’s simple casual movements gave the character an unintended sense of presence. In subsequent class meetings Justin and Sara worked on directed performance tests in order to gain more experience with that form of mocap –even though Sara’s goal was to keyframe all of the animation in the final film.

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For her MFA thesis project, A Scenic View of the End of the World,  Ivy Flores chose to collaborate with choreographer Daniel Charon and composer Alex Wand in an iterative process wherein each participant would base what they were doing on the work the others had done in an earlier version.  This enfolding process modified the work with each iteration until Ivy reached the form she found most interesting.  The motion capture of the dancers was recorded with the PhaseSpace Impulse system mounted in the computer animation lab located in room F105 and processed to extract essential movement.  The final installation was presented in the Black and White Studio Gallery A404 from April 4-5, 2013.

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Ivy Flores’ documentation of the process of creating  A Scenic View of the End of the World.

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Prior to her work with the PhaseSpace Impulse motion capture system, Ivy created this performance animation piece using two orthogonally placed video cameras and Adobe After Effects tracking.

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Rachel Ho collaborated with Julian Petschek, and Rob Gordon in the creation of the live motion capture performance, Mo Cap Mo Problems, staged in the Black and White Studio Gallery A404 as part of the Motion Capture for Artists course exhibition in the Spring of 2013.

Mo Cap Mo Problems is a 15 minute performance and video installation that employs live motion-capture in the engagement of virtual characters and spaces. The performance deals with issues of identity and technology in the service of pop culture, as explored through role-playing and the form of music gigs/concerts.”

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Following upon the critical success of Mo Cap Mo Problems, Rachel Ho developed SLEIGHTING. This video features footage from 5 shows performed on April 3rd, 2014 in the CalArts B&W Studio A404 and was constructed to promote performances as part of the LAX 2014 Festival on September 20th, 2014, at the Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles.

SLEIGHTING is an unprecedented approach to multimedia performance using real-time motion capture and pre-visualization tools to enable a new breed of performer. It is about showmanship, hype and the future of entertainment.

Through the ability to pilot avatars before a live audience, SLEIGHTING creates a new type of superstar who is no longer confined to being one personality, but is able to be anyone and everyone. Like the superstar DJ or sportsman who commands arenas full of fans, SLEIGHTING presents itself as a future art and sport, and an event that people descend upon to witness and partake in. In this case, the arena is now the site of reinvention for the event film, and the director is now conductor and performer, empowered through technological extensions of the self.
The show has a running time of around 20 minutes and mainly consists of three sketches in which the spectacle of interfacing with virtual realities drives both narrative and design. Real-time motion capture and pre-visualization tools, typically used in the film and gaming industries, are now used to DJ virtual camera moves and special effects for this live event.”

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This low fidelity phone cam video was shot in 2013 during Elijah Kleeman‘s innovative CalArts BFA4 thesis project installation, Traces.  Elijah coded the project in the Unity game engine to create a dynamic sculpture tool allowing artists to inscribe space with a series of three dimensional looping gestural strokes. The participant is wearing an eMagin Z800 stereoscopic HMD being tracked by a PhaseSpace Impulse active marker motion capture system, and drawing out forms with a custom PhaseSpace handheld 3D tracked stylus. Later versions of the project employed the Oculus Rift DK1 and DK2 stereoscopic HMD’s.

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