|Jet Li. He's da man...|
Jet also showed an incredible amount of dedication to the project when he personally recaptured every move we had done up to that point. He wanted to make sure that every motion in the game was his motion. We had already captured over 1000 moves for the game with other talent and we happily started over when Jet joined the project.
How long did it take to complete all the moves, did Jet take long to practise?
Jet was like a machine, he has an incredible mastery of his movement and could hit any mark. There were times that Jet would kick and Cory Yuen (his choreographer) wanted him to kick a little bit higher. Cory would grab Jet’s foot and put it about 2 inches from his own face. Jet would kick again and his foot would stop about 2 inches shy of Cory’s face in the exact spot that Cory and Jet had decided he would kick (and this was at full speed!). This showed the incredible amount of trust that this team had for each other.
As for the amount of time it took to complete the moves there was quite a bit of “on the fly” choreography involved so there were times when we would wait for 10-15 minutes in between takes. However, on the moves that didn’t require the high level of action choreography such as character navigation moves we were capturing about 40 animations in an hour.
|Damn... that looks like Jet Li!|
In the end no matter what was decided on tape Jet was able to take it one step farther, adding in that little flair that adds so much impact to these motions.
The Motion Capture Studio has been around for some time now – what other projects have you worked on there?
Socom, Gameday (annually), Syphon Filter, MLB (annually), Shootout (annually), Final Four (annually), Gamebreaker (annually), Faceoff (annually), Cool Boarders, Jet X2O, Star Wars Galaxies (Sony Online Entertainment). My memory fails me so there are most likely several more that I have forgotten.
Which has been the most interesting project so far – is it a sports game, martial arts, or something a bit different?
This is the impossible question to answer. Every shoot has something that is a little different and very exciting. A few of the highlights have been the wire rig capture that we did with Jet Li for three weeks. Actually sitting and chatting with the Navy Seals was also incredibly interesting. Tackle animation for Gameday is always a highlight, as it’s definitely out of the ordinary and at times a nice challenge to complete. We also work with many star athletes each season, which is always interesting. Working on Star Wars Galaxies was another great project due to the talent we worked with and the variety of the motion that was captured.
What on Earth do you study to become involved with motion capture? Do you need any specific qualifications?
You study motion... motion capture isn’t an exact science and data often needs to be rebuilt due to marker occlusion and other inherent issues. There are different facets of the motion capture process as well. We have on staff animators that will take acquired motion that has been retargeted to cg character and animate over it to line up game environments, props and deal with character model penetration. This requires timing, the knowledge of how a human (or dog, cat, horse, elephant... you get the picture) moves. Is there a school that you can go to too learn motion capture? I honestly don’t know.
What is important for motion capture artists is to have the ability to troubleshoot. Again this isn’t an exact science and no matter how much you plan you are definitely going to be faced with the unexpected.
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