Syllabus Spring 2015

FVEA 419/619: Motion Capture for Artists
Spring 2015
Class Location: F105
Time Monday, 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Faculty: Michael Scroggins
TA: Gordon Straub 

This course will take the form of a series of lectures, screenings, and demonstrations in support of
a production workshop centered on using our eight camera PhaseSpace Impulse 3D motion
capture system in concert with Autodeskʼs MotionBuilder and Maya software packages. In
addition to this standard flow, we will be experimenting with Elijah Kleemanʼs custom software to
work with HMD point of view tracking and real-time interaction in virtual environments created in
the Unity gaming engine.

Our goal is to explore the potential of performance animation in extending artists direct physical
gestures into expressive animation. In addition to experimenting with the conventional uses of
motion capture, how can we reach beyond these conventions to achieve innovative work? Some
possibilities to be investigated will be the incorporation of procedural animation, nonrepresentational
imagery, dense layering, and unique remappings of gesture.

Students are encouraged to explore areas of personal interest and to incorporate this research
into their production work. Taking an active role in class discussions and production teamwork is
required to receive the highest mark within the CalArts grading system. The course is offered to
both graduate and undergraduate students. Undergraduate students have the option to spend
less time in production than that required of graduate students. It is expected that at the end of the
course students will have gained an active knowledge of core concepts and techniques useful in
working with performance capture within an art context.

The course will be structured around the dynamics of student interests thus the class schedule will
evolve to meet developing needs. The schedule will be updated week-to-week. A sample course
schedule from the following year is available in order to provide some sense of the shape this
year’s course could take:

FE417: Motion Capture for Artists Schedule 2014

A dynamic web site will function as a key resource for the class. The site will be regularly
updated in the form of an evolving weekly schedul including links to important course related
materials. Students are expected to check it at least once a week –if not more frequently:

FVEA 419/619: Motion Capture for Artists

Production work will take place during class meetings, however it will be possible to arrange
appointments for capture and editing sessions outside of regular course hours.