Affordable Motion Capture Project Goes Intergalactic With Kinect

[Photo: Christian Hall]
Seeing the detail of special effects in some movies can be quite a breath-taking experience--look how incredible all the production in Avatar was. In the case of Avatar and many movies past and present, a lot of the effects are down to motion capture technology, where a computer can capture the body movement of a person and apply them to fictional characters to create a more realistic feel.

Of course, using motion capture in your home is not an easy feat, especially seeing as all the equipment used on film sets is quite costly to replicate. Fortunately, Christian Hall and his team have not only developed affordable and easy-to-use motion capture technology software for the consumer market, but are also directing a movie and game to showcase how good the software is.

While there's little information at present on the unnamed software, what we do know is that it uses motion data captured on a Microsoft Kinect, which is then mapped on a computer using the program. The result will be characters in animated films and games being given much more life. The closely-guarded software will be fully demonstrated for the masses at GamePipe's Demo Day and TED later this year in May.

The animated movie, Cosmic Fling, sounds potentially awesome. Set in space, the plot centres around two characters, cosmic garbageman Stan and astronaught Beatrice. Stan is one day going about his tedious task on a moon, when he notices the beautiful Beatrice on another nearby moon. Stan decides to attach the two moons together in mutual orbit, but the pair must get to the middle of Stan's rope in order to finally meet.

Naturally, the pair must overcome many obsticles to meet in the middle, such as oncoming asteroids, comets, and even planets, so expect impressive explosions--the Kinect and CG software will certainly have their work cut out! Of course, this is where you get to come in with the Cosmic Fling game.

Playing Stan, you'll notice Beatrice's moon is much further away than in the movie. Using his harpooning equipment, you must grapple other planets and travel through space in order to get to Beatrice. Sound straightforward? Well, you also have to make sure you dont hit any other objects while navigating through space.

The whole project seems pretty fascinating, and it would be interesting to watch the film or play the game in order to see how impressive the motion capture software truly is. Fortunately for those curious, you can get the film and game on Kickstarter if you pledge at least $10 to the project. The team are hoping to raise $2,500 to complete the movie and game, and produce enough copies to send initial backers.

Check out the video below to see Christian explain the project:

[Kickstarter]

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