View Full Version : Animation question

12-18-2010, 08:19 AM
I sold a screenplay to a 3D animation company. I wrote the screenplay to be live action, but they bought it to produce in 3D. They ran into financial problems and put the project on hold for a while. But now they come back and tell me that they are changing to "Motion capturing, Performance Capturing and little keyframe animation." I have no idea what this entails. Does anyone here know? Is the quality of this kind of process decent? How does it compare to 3D?

Architeuthis Dux
12-18-2010, 10:09 AM
Toy Story 3, Despicable Me: Animation
Disney's Christmas Carol (w/ Jim Carrey): Motion capture

Strangely, the 100% artificial animation looks more organic than the 95% artificial motion capture.

Motion capture involves hiring actors and dressing them up like ninjas, but with white dots at all their joints. They are filmed in action. The changing positions of the dots are captured and entered into a computer program, and then the animation is built around that, so the animated characters' movements replicate the actors' movements.

I'm not a big motion-capture fan myself, but I'm not making a movie, and in these tough times you do what you can with what you have.

Congrats on the sale, by the way.

12-18-2010, 11:46 AM
Strangely, the 100% artificial animation looks more organic than the 95% artificial motion capture. Motion Capture doesn't have to use that deadeyed character design. Monster House is also Motion Capture, and it has a much more "animated" look. You could also animate those deadeyed character designs in a more traditional way...not that it would help them look better.

Pasquali, motion capture is ultimately more about HOW the animated film is made and not what the end result will look like. It basically lets actors tell the computer how the characters should move using big chunks of movement - covering up to an entire scene at a time - instead of requiring animators to tell the computer how the characters should move frame-by-frame.

You can mocap a 3D film or a 2D film.
A mocap film can end up looking like a Bill Watterson drawing or a DaVinci painting.

Provided the production team knows how to use it, the quality of the end product won't be impacted by the process at all (I worked in a mocap studio for a couple of months, and I watched some people who didn't know how to use the process...)

Congrats on the sale!

12-18-2010, 12:55 PM
They also do motion capture with miniatures instead of humans. They shoot the minatures on 35 mm film, then integrated computer animation onto them. Much like the way they did Avatar (but with miniatures instead of people).

12-18-2010, 01:44 PM
I agree with AnotherCaucasianGary. Mocap can be used for good or evil. Xmas Carol may be dead-eyed, but Gollum was mocap and kicked ass.

The Davy Jones character from Pirates 2 was, for my money, a fairly astonishing effect blending mocap animation with live action. Check out the extras on the disc to see how they did it. Doesn't really apply to your situation, but I just think it's an impressive use of motion capture.

01-04-2011, 01:20 AM
I work on animated features. All they are talking about is the way the animation is being done. In theory Mo-cap saves money because there aren't as many animators plugging away. It also tends to be used with more realistic animation like Beowulf or Polar Express. If it is a Big studio don't worry. If it is a small company that doesn't know what they are doing and trying to make the movie for less than five million... you might be concerned. Hopefully they didn't invest a ton of time in animation before this point.