The possibilities have been expanded for creators in a variety of fields thanks to cutting-edge animation technology at Swinburne University of Technology’s Center for Transformative Media Technologies (CTMT).
Motion and volumetric sensing relies on cameras and sensors to digitize human movement.
Still a very specialized application today, motion capture is commonly used in video game development and can be seen in behind-the-scenes footage of big-budget Hollywood movies—think costumes with little white orbs.
However, CTMT is working to change that and make it more accessible to everyone from artists to biotech developers.
Creative developer Haydon Bakker is part of the CTMT team that runs the bespoke Embodied Movement Design Studio.
“Our motion sensing floor is very large and precise, so you can get really good data that requires a lot less cleaning, and there’s more room to move around, so you can have more choreography,” Haydon said.
“We also have top-of-the-line computers with the system. Volumetric capture is an evolving technology and is very resource intensive.
“We have a loud, heavy, expensive computer in the back that collects gigabytes of data in seconds, which allows us to produce outputs that not many people have access to at the moment.”
Tools and tricks of the trade
In the competitive digital age, volumetric and motion sensing can provide an edge for products, services, marketing and more.
Volumetric sensing uses cameras to record a 360-degree perspective of a movement or series of movements. Once the recorded data is analyzed by a specialized computer, it provides a three-dimensional digital representation of the person as they appeared in front of the camera.
Motion sensing uses sensors (like those little white balls in Hollywood behind-the-scenes footage) to record information about the isolated body movements it makes. When a special computer analyzes the data, it can construct “skeleton” movements that can be applied to pre-made digital bodies, such as cartoon or computer-animated characters.
CTMT’s volumetric sensing technology uses cameras to digitize a 360-degree perspective of a movement or series of movements
Collaboration across disciplines
CTMT Studio has already been used in a number of projects, which emphasizes its wide application in various areas.
“Motion capture is very useful for biomechanics and we are currently using the volumetric method for medical technology research,” Haydon said.
“We’ve used it in virtual reality as well, and a lot of people are doing that too, because the idea of getting a realistic digital person without falling into the uncanny valley is something that can be very challenging, but with this technology, it can capture a person and display them digitally in a way that’s I undeniably eat it.”
Part of CTMT’s work to expand its application is improving education and awareness.
Students, video game developers, artists and business owners participated in the two-day workshop held on October 29 and 30, 2022.
CTMT experts demonstrated the equipment, their studio and how the technology works. They discussed how this could help the various workshop participants, many of whom hope to work together in the future.
“We really want to work with different individuals and groups and get them excited about it,” Haydon said.
“We want this technology to become more widespread and more people to use it. When there’s more work in the field, the field gets better, so we want to encourage that cycle of growth.”
If you have a project and want to know how motion and volume sensing technology could improve it, contact the team at CTMT.
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