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December 22 , 23
You won’t believe your eyes
  by Beren Tofino


When you watch a movie, can you tell the difference between animation and live action? It used to be easy, but now filmmakers can combine the visual possibilities of CGI animation with the emotional power of a human actor’s performance. Audiences now see real actors performing in costumes and makeup that were added digitally after filming through the use of performance capture technology.

  Performance capture, AKA motion capture or mocap, records and digitizes the movement of an object or person. This involves placing dozens of sensors called markers all over the actor’s body, especially on the joints. Other kinds of markers are placed on the actor’s face. As the actor performs, these markers are tracked by cameras that feed the data into a computer.

  Animators then use software to create digital models with this data. A model can be almost anything – a robot, dragon, alien, insect, etc. – but the facial expressions, voice and movements are those of the actor. It was not until recently that these astonishing cinematic creations could be produced. It’s the best of both worlds: digital characters that, according to actor Andy Serkis, “are infused with the heart and soul of an actor’s performance.”


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