Sunday, February 15, 2009

To Cap or not to Cap ? part 3/3

Dealing with the Data.
You don't work for mocap, mocap works for you.

Getting mocap data back is actually fun. You look at the performances, remembering which actor did what and relive the fun moments of the shoot.

For God of War we actually realised we didn't even need the Sony mocap studio to clean up the raw data for us, except in few cases where two interacting characters were clipping through each other too much.
Working with raw data saves a tremendous amount of time, first of all you can get it back right away.
We did not want to add motion builder to our pipeline, that would kill all the time we saved mocapping. Instead we asked the studio to deliver the raw data onto our character rigs so that all we have to do is clean up the animation like we would our own first pass animations.

Since we are working with Cinematics, the performances are cut and pasted from multiple takes of the same scene to get the actor's very best movements only. The inconsistencies between takes force us to hand key the transitions and sew the performance back together, again blending mocap and keyed animation.

"Is it OK if I don't use the mocap data ?" Yes its ok. Mocap is only here to help you save time, if you have a better performance in mind that you want to hand key, go for it. Most of the time mocap will get you what you want but there will be cases where it simply doesn't work as well, and depending on your animator's talent is still your best bet.

You don't work for mocap, mocap works for you.

The end.

Friday, February 13, 2009

To cap or not to Cap ? part 2/3

The capture !

Everything was planned to a T; don't you feel better now walking on to the mocap stage ?
All you can think of now is: Showtime.

Actually people shouldn't be waiting for you. Get there early, first if possible. That'll help you get familiar with the surroundings, run around the stage, check that everything is ready to go... and welcome your actors with a big smile :)

Even though you won't be acting it is good to be in character. You'll give better direction when you are feeling the part.

The single most important thing I found on a stage is that having energy and enthusiasm sets the right tone for the performers. Don't be the director that sits on the sidelines and shouts out direction through a blow-horn every once in a while. It makes it look like you don't care all that much and it sends a bad vibe to the performers.
Get up and move, talk to your actors, make eye contact, transmit the direction through every possible channel, not just verbally.

Oh, and having an awesome associate producer/co director makes a huge difference in helping things run smoothly.

Have fun.