What is Motion Capture?

How does one prep for a career in mo-cap and which city has the best animation institutes in India?

In the realms of filmmaking and video games, Motion Capture (mo-cap or mocap, in short) is the technique employed to capture the movements of human actors.

Motion Capture

This recorded data is then utilized to animate digital character models in both 2D and 3D computer animation. When the process extends to include facial and finger movements or records nuanced expressions, it is commonly known as performance capture. While in some domains, motion capture is synonymous with motion tracking, in the specific contexts of filmmaking and gaming, motion tracking typically pertains more to match moving and is done by professionals who are trained in this craft.

Motion capture artists employ mo-cap technology to breathe life into 3D characters intended for use in various media such as feature films, television series, gaming, and commercials. Collaborating with actors and the production team, they craft 3D characters with scripted, realistic on-screen behaviour. Specially designed cameras capture the performance of real actors, equipped with sensors on their face and body, which is then used to animate computer-generated (CG) characters. Fresh graduates entering the field are typically assigned tasks supporting the motion capture process and mapping captured data onto 3D models. As they accumulate experience, they advance to senior positions, taking on more intricate responsibilities and mentoring junior colleagues.

Qualifications required to become a Motion Capture Artist include a passion for filmmaking, games, and related fields; understanding of camera movement and composition; knowledge of animation principles and acting for performance shots; familiarity with production workflows and motion capture software; comprehension of motion capture shoot pipelines; proficiency in 3D animation software; proactive with strong artistic and technical skills; effective communication, interpersonal, and organizational abilities; and industry awareness and adaptability to new trends.

3D animation courses - Motion capture artists employ mo-cap technology to breathe life into 3D characters

Career aspirants are expected to possess a range of job skills that can be acquired through 3D animation courses. Recruiters look for a combination of artistic and technical skills. While many companies utilize proprietary software, Autodesk Motion Builder is a standard industry tool. Experience in Cortex, Motive, Blade, or equivalent motion capture software is beneficial.

Courses in animation and VFX

Candidates are expected to be proficient in one or more types of 3D animation software, such as Maya or Motion Builder. Technical programming skills provide an additional advantage. A solid foundation in character animation is crucial, and numerous academic institutions offer animation coaching with  courses in animation and VFX, fine arts, etc. Internships offer valuable work experience and facilitate a seamless transition into the field.

Most employers hire enthusiastic newcomers and provide motion capture training after reviewing the candidate’s showreel and assessing their animation skills. A professionally crafted resume and cover letter can help aspirants showcase their candidacy effectively. Motion Capture Artists who are truly passionate and excel at their work have great opportunities ahead in terms of career progression. A typical career path goes this way: Junior Motion Capture Artist > Senior Motion Capture Artist > Animation Supervisor.

Many of India’s animation artists begin their career journey from Hyderabad which is a hub for training. Particularly, Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad is dotted with numerous training institutes, and the animation courses in Dilsukhnagar offered by these institutes are in high demand.