Fun with Motion Capture

We just love playing with new things over here and motion capture is our latest obsession. We think it’s a great way to create fluid animation. We’ve been experimenting with it in a few projects and this article gives a quick overview.


What is Motion Capture?

Motion capture (“mocap”) is the process of capturing real human movements, usually using a special suit, and transferring this motion to a digital character. Mocap for us at Piehole, on the other hand, is defined as a time when Jason gets to have fun in a ridiculous suit!


Benefits of Mocap

Aside from causing some snickering in the office there are actual creative benefits. These include:

  • Fluid animation
  • Greater creative flexibility… can write more complex character actions into your scripts
  • Ability to add more personality and emotion
  • Faster workflow for certain types of projects

There are some disadvantages too. For one thing, the tech is expensive. There are AI tools available but they don’t deliver the goods just yet, in our opinion anyway. The workflows are also more complicated as you’re incorporating more complex 3D into your 2D projects (speaking from an explainer video viewpoint here). It’s also not a complete replacement for more traditional forms of animation.


More Pics & Examples

We’re still at the early stage of our journey with mocap and we’re taking on progressively more complex projects with a few in production still, which we’ll add here when they finish.

Below are Jason and Charlize setting up.

motion capture

Jason is the only Piehole member in our team of 42 people that fits into the suit and has the required athletic skills. So he’s the main character in this mocap journey of ours! Charlize is our 3D artist.


In the below video we used mocap to create the animation of the person walking to the table and sitting down.


In the below video the client wanted an accurate baseball swing and mocap allowed us to do that easily.

The below is just a dance sequence we slapped onto our character.


Final Thoughts

Mocap is a great way to create fluid character movements and for us it’s another useful tool in the box. It’s probably out of reach for most smaller studios as there are quite a lot of 3D shenanigans required. If you have a project that needs realistic motion and a fresh approach then get in touch and let’s chat about possibilities!