Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New technology for animation film experts

Date:
February 27, 2013
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Hollywood devotes great effort to chasing monsters through realistic-looking environments. Researchers have now developed a technology that greatly simplifies the production of such scenes. Actors' movements are captured with a few cameras in a real scene and then transferred extremely realistically to virtual characters. This will not only simplify the work of cartoon makers, but also assist doctors and sportsmen with motion analysis.

Actors in their normal clothing are filmed with ordinary cameras. The movements are then analysed with special computer software and transferred to a virtual character in the form of a skeleton.
Credit: MPI for Informatics

Hollywood devotes great effort to chasing monsters through realistic-looking environments. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken have now developed a technology that greatly simplifies the production of such scenes. Actors' movements are captured with a few cameras in a real scene and then transferred extremely realistically to virtual characters. This will not only simplify the work of cartoon makers, but also assist doctors and sportsmen with motion analysis.

Whenever computer-animated characters roam through wild landscapes, such a Gollum in Lord of the Rings, there were real actors at work. Film studios usually use a procedure called 'motion capture'. The actors wear skin-tight suits with markers attached to them reflecting beams of infrared light that are sent out and received by a special camera system. In this way, the movements of a real actor are recorded and can later be transferred to a virtual character, using animation software. "However, the suits are very uncomfortable for the actors, and the markers interfere with their movements," says Nils Hasler from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken. For this reason, the Computer Graphics researchers there have developed a method that eliminates the need for markers but captures the movements quickly and realistically.

This method allows actors in their normal clothing to be filmed with ordinary cameras. The movements are then analysed with special computer software and transferred to a virtual character in the form of a skeleton. "We require only a few cameras instead of the several dozen cameras needed for the special effects in Hollywood. The movements are computed so quickly that we can transfer them directly to the animated character without time delay," Hasler explains. The meanwhile patented computation method has been further refined in the past months. It can now deal with scenes in which several participants are simultaneously active and body parts overlap. "The system even detects a person's movements when they are covered up by other objects or when there are disturbances in the background. This will allow us to shoot visual effects outside of the studio in the future, for example, out in open nature," the Saarbrücken-based researcher reckons.

The computer scientists in Christian Theobalt's "Graphics, Vision & Video" team were able to solve yet another problem in the past few months, as Hasler explains proudly: "It was difficult for our software to reconstruct the body movements of actors wearing big coats or women entering a scene in long ballroom dresses. Our new computation method enables us to capture surfaces in such precise detail that, e.g., the draping folds of clothing can be reproduced realistically." The new technology is also useful in areas outside the film and game industry. Athletes could use it to analyse specific, individual body movements without bothersome markers. Sports journalists would be able to comment on motion sequences, like in pole vault and discus competitions, in live television broadcasts.

"The field of medicine would also profit. It would be easier for doctors to depict and track the degree of recovery after operations on joints," Hasler explains. The researcher from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics wants to establish a company together with Professor Christian Theobalt and his research colleague, Carsten Stoll, in order to offer their software as a commercial product. "We have already had quite a few inquiries from companies in the film and sports marketing industries," Hasler reveals.

Technical Background

The technology used in this method is quite affordable. Anywhere from five to twelve ordinary video cameras are needed. The computer scientists use their software to produce a 3-D model of the depicted person from a skeleton with 58 joints. In order to capture the movements, the computation method continuously works on overlaying the two-dimensional image from the video camera and the 3-D model as exactly as possible. The researchers can solve the necessary equations for this task efficiently and quickly. With this method, they capture filmed movements and visualize them in the virtual characters within just a few milliseconds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "New technology for animation film experts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130227101946.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2013, February 27). New technology for animation film experts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130227101946.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "New technology for animation film experts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130227101946.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) — Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) — Apple's new operating system, iOS 8, comes with Apple's killswitch feature already activated, unlike all the models before it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Let's Review Apple's Latest iPhone Reviews

Let's Review Apple's Latest iPhone Reviews

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — The tech press has shared its thoughts on the latest iterations of Apple's iPhone. We summarize the reactions to help you decide: iPhone 6 or 6 Plus? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins