The digital revolution has made comic book publishing a thing of the past. See and learn how virtual computer technology will revolutionize this field and allow every artist to have their fifteen minutes of fame.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


MOCAP as it is now called, is one of the great new frontiers in the world of digital movie making. Although it has had its resistance in the film community, it is becoming a crucial tool in complex digital effects and, as it turns out, it has become a completely different medium in which to capture entire feature films.

Robert Zemeckis is probably best known for pioneering this new technology. The three films he produced entirely using mocap were Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol. Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and George Lucas have also experimented with and used this technology in their productions.

Early attempts at motion capture often yielded non-realistic plastic-looking facial movements and dead eyes. The technology was continually pushed forward and improved over the last decade. It is now opening the doors to this new and exciting future way of seeing and making films. Steve Perlman of San Francisco’s Mova ( refers to this as “Volumetric Cinematography.”


MOCAP is a conversion of live-action movement into 3D data. This data is then used to drive 3D animated characters.

It's not that easy to describe how this is accomplished. It often pushes computer technology to the limit and spans the spectrum from single perspective pattern tracking interpolation, mechanical armature exoskeletons and radio frequency triangulation to the more commonly used multicamera optical marker-based triangulation systems. There are a couple of system out there employing the use gyro-based inertial sensors and sonic sensing using time of flight triangulation for positional information.


Heath Firestone, a producer/director based in Denver, has a strong background in advanced 3D digital effects and compositing. Reach him at

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