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THE USE OF COMPUTERS IN ANIMATION SHERBERT JAMES BRIDGES 04-24-2000 THE USE OF COMPUTERS IN ANIMATION The use of motion capture for computer character animation is relatively new having begun in the late 1970s and only now beginning to become widespread Motion capture is the recording of human body movement or other movement for immediate or delayed analysis and playback The information captured can be as general as the simple position of the body in space or as complex as the deformations of the face and muscle masses Motion capture for computer character animation involves the mapping of human motion onto the motion of a computer character The mapping can be direct such as human arm motion controlling a characters arm motion or indirect such as human hand and finger patterns controlling a characters skin color or emotional state The idea of copying human motion for animated characters is of course not new To get convincing motion for the human characters in Snow White Disney studios traced animation over film footage of live actors playing out the scenes This method called rotoscoping has been successfully used for human characters ever since In the late 1970s when it began to be feasible to animate characters by computer animators adapted traditional techniques including rotoscoping At the New York Institute of Technology Computer Graphics Lab Rebecca Allen used a half-silvered mirror to superimpose videotapes of real dancers onto the computer screen to pose a computer-generated dancer for Twyla Tharps The Catherine Wheel The computer used these poses as keys for generating a smooth animation Rotoscoping is by no means an automatic process and the complexity of human motion required for The Catherine Wheel necessitated the setting of keys every few frames As such rotoscoping can be thought of as a primitive form or precursor to motion capture where the motion is captured painstakingly by hand Having seen the possibility of animating characters by performance techniques in Waldo
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