Remember 2004 when Robert Zemeckis brought us The Polar Express and we recoiled at the disconnect between motion capture and the final product? The animation was more human than hand drawings, but still quite artificial. For many audience members, it wasn't life-like enough. But the technology has come a long, long way over just a handful of years. In a post-Avatar world, it can be pretty darn realistic, and offer up characters who almost seen real. In fact, now it's more than just the art that's painted onto the captured movement.

Motion capture technology is finding itself useful outside of Hollywood. Instead of being a wall between animation and human reality, researchers are using the technology to measure human behavior.
BBC News has an interesting video segment up on their site about Professor Shri Narayanan and his research at University of Southern California. They're not just capturing actors in scenes, but looking at how they move, interact, and emote. More specifically, "how the body language interacts with the spoken language," and "how intonation is choreographed with facial expressions or body movement."

Narayanan believes that by studying and learning possible connections, these connections can be quantified and used to see the movements are different for children with autism, and help diagnoses. Not only that, but psychologists are getting involved in the studies, to map how couples move and interact in couples therapy. Luckily the couples don't have to wear the spandex bodysuits (as if revealing personal thoughts and feelings isn't daunting enough!), they get what looks to be regular clothing.

I wonder if Tim Roth
has stopped by for a visit yet...
categories Movies, Cinematical