New software can make animations look more realistic

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London, May 30 : Stanford scientists and their colleagues at the Max-Planck Institute Informatik in Saarbrcken, Germany, say that they have developed software that can accurately capture the full 3-D movement of a person's body without having to place visible markers across his body.

The researchers say that their software may help make digital motion capture accessible even to low-budget filmmakers.

In a study report, it has been revealed that studios that make computer games and movies typically capture motion using highly visible markers placed across the body of an actor wearing a tight, dark suit, to help a camera track their movements.

Very often, vision-processing software lose track of such markers, and the resulting errors warrant manual correction.

"This contributes significantly to the production costs," New Scientist magazine quoted Christian Theobalt from Stanford University, as saying.

The researcher insists that the new software could do away with the need of any markers.

He has revealed that the new method starts making a 3D digital clone of an actor with the help of a laser scanner, and thereafter, eight cameras capture their movements from different angles as they act the scene.

The recording of the actor's movements is then analysed to animate the 3D clone, he adds.

Theobalt says that the software compares the relative positions of features on the eight original images to calculate other details, such as creases in the actor's clothes.

Accordingly, the final 3D animation of the person can be exported into the movie environment, he says.

The actor can even wear loose clothes for the recording because the new method is not confused by such costumes, whereas a conventional marker-based recording required clothing to be done digitally subsequently.

Capturing the ruffle of real clothes may enable the graphic designer to create more realistic-looking animations.

"I would imagine an actor could perform better if they were immersed in the right costume," says Richard Broadbridge, an expert in motion capture from 4D View Solutions.

He believes that with improvements, this software may be enabled to capture actors' facial expressions too.

A presentation on the software will be made at the computer graphics conference Siggraph in Los Angeles, California, in August.

ANI

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