~by tyrell albin~
Jeremy Wright, three-dimensional animation program instructor at the Great Plains Technology Center, is certainly “animated” when he gets the chance to show off his school’s latest high-tech acquisition—a 3-D motion-capture animation.
Students at GPTC are learning the skills needed to work in the field of computer-generated three-dimensional animation, which is seen everywhere from hit movies like “Avatar” to video games and training simulators used by the military and major corporations. This piece of equipment is the organic motion, motion-capture systems,” he said, gesturing to a room lit only by 14 LED lights. It contains a computer work station and other electronic equipment set up around a white cloth studio, closed on three sides and open facing the computer. “It is one of the first markerless motion-capture systems. Its primary advantage over other motion-capture systems you might see is that it doesn’t require a suit or marker to be worn on an individual that’s in the application. It allows you to go in wearing normal, casual clothes, and as long as they are kind of tight-fitting and not loose, then anybody could go in, regardless of physical features, and automatically get calibrated into the system to act out characters or capture motion of any kind.”
Wright said the new equipment has been up and running for about four months. GPTC and Cameron University are the only schools in Oklahoma that have this particular type of motion-capture technology.The University of Oklahoma is in the process of acquiring similar equipment, but has not received it yet, Wright said.
The system works by using light to capture motion at key points of the human body. The information is relayed to the computer, where an on-screen avatar will mimic the movements of an actor.
Wright said the current technology level allow the avatar to mimic most movements but is not capable of reproducing fine motion, like finger movements, yet.
The system is much faster and more advanced than previous motion-capture technology, which required a great deal of time-consuming calibration between the computer and markers on the model doing the movements.
Wright’s students will use the studio to produce short animated features for the Stanley Corporation as capstone projects for the program. Destiny Farrou, a senior at Lawton High School, said she is enjoying the training. She was drawn to the field of 3-D animations by video games and movies.
“I really enjoy the look and feel of the games and I always wondered what was behind it,” Farrou said. “And so, I was like, ‘3-D animation! That’s perfect.’So I got into and I love it.”
Mason Robinson, a junior from Eisenhower High School, was amazed at the quality of the animation produced by the system.“So far, I’ve been in it a few times and I’ve seen how fluid it is and how well it captures,” Robinson said. “It actually was a lot more than I was expecting.”