Motion capture has been used in animation, filmmaking, and video games since 1915 to help actors bring characters to life by using real-world movements. Motion capture (MoCap) involves filming actors’ movements and translating them into digital data. The technology has advanced quite substantially since then. Nowadays, it is widely used by game developers to create more realistic and immersive gameplay experiences. Game developers are able to give players a more visceral experience when fighting off hordes of zombies or manoeuvring through complicated puzzles.
Here are some of the benefits that game developers stand to gain from using motion capture technology in their work.
What are the benefits of motion capture?
MoCap has become an important tool in game development, adding realism and nuance to the way characters interact with their environments. It increases the fidelity of animations and micro animation. Not to mention, acting nuances are accurately captured and transferred to a digital character much quicker than using just hand animation. The results are more realistic character animations and achieved much quicker than they could be without MoCap.
You can record multiple takes of the same animation far quicker than you could hand animate different ideas.
Different idle stance? Done.
Do you want more attitude in the walk?
No problem, just hit record and shoot again!
It’s also much quicker to throw on the suit and block out cutscene ideas meaning you can practice getting the camera layout in, get the actors moving in a vague way to get a better flow of things.
There are however a couple of disadvantages to motion capture. There are particular hardware and special software programmes required to produce and process data. The cost of the software, equipment, and personnel required can be prohibitive for small productions.
Why use it over free mocap solutions such as Mixamo?
Our main reason is character personality.
Mixamo is an amazing resource and many indie teams use it. The downside to it is that so many other projects are using it, meaning the chances of your animations feeling generic is high.
We don’t argue that they are high quality and look accurate, but don’t you want more than that for your game? When using MoCap you have more control of your characters movements rather than putting together animations that are not intended to blend nicely.
With custom Motion Capture, you can direct the actor yourself. You’re able to show how the character is thinking or feeling in the animation, which will shine through in the result. In the end you have more control of your character’s movements rather than splicing together animations not intended to blend nicely.
The MoCap Pipeline
At MLC, we have affordable MoCap services so if motion capture is something you’re interested in using for your next project, get in touch 👋🏼