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Motus Lets Users 'Film' Within Any 3D Environment

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the still-need-a-zoe dept.

Movies 89

Zothecula writes "In the creation of the film Avatar, director James Cameron invented a system called Simul-cam. It allowed him to see the video output of the cameras, in real time, but with the human actors digitally altered to look like the alien creatures whom they were playing. The system also negated the need for a huge amount of animation – every performance was captured in all its blue-skinned, pointy-eared majesty as it happened, so it didn't need to be created from scratch on a computer. Now, researchers from the University of Abertay Dundee have built on the techniques pioneered by Simul-cam to create a new system that lets users act as their own cameraperson within existing 3D environments."

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Holodeck, here I come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34175436)

Move out of the way Barclay.

Lightwave 10 (1)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175496)

This looks similar to what Lightwave 10's, Virtual Cinematography.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhJauu_vB2A [youtube.com]

Pretty amazing stuff. Though not as exciting as the old days of waiting 24 hours to see what a single frame turned out like. :)

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175562)

A single frame?

Shouldn't you be modelling a single frame?

Or did you try 3D Animation with a blindfold?

Actually I did that once with Blender, I was telling my friend about how there are so many hotkeys and shortcuts in Blender to do everything, he challenged me to animate a sphere moving without looking at the screen, from scratch. I wrote up a script of keys to press while the monitor was unplugged. It worked.

Sweetest 10 bucks I ever made.

Re:Lightwave 10 (3, Informative)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175618)

My computer ran at 7mhz at the time.

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175756)

Didn't you at least have some kind of viewpane for what you were doing though?

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176192)

Way back when, there were these very exclusive devices known as video terminals. There were many different kinds of different capabilities, but the basic idea is that they could interpret commands from a serial port (running at up to 9600 baud if you're lucky) and draw points and lines on the screen. Some early models used a video storage tube that didn't need to be continually refreshed, but it had to be erased by erasing the entire screen at once. They were monochrome (green). Eventually, models incorporating huge amounts of RAM (like several K-bytes) came out and supported raster-scan graphics, with 16 or more colors. Eventually, they got really fancy and could draw using a palette of 256 colors out of a possible 16 million. Someone figured out you could hook three of these together to achieve 24-bit full color output, but this cost tens of thousands of dollars, typically (heck, the big color CRT alone would go for about $10K).

Of course, prior to such advanced technology, people were still doing computer graphics. For instance, you could hook up a D/A controller to an oscilloscope and control a dot of light on a small screen. By putting up a color filter and a camera back on the screen, you could draw a fancy image, one color layer at a time. You'd have to do that and then develop the film, of course, before you could see anything.

In such times, you would write your code carefully (if you were lucky, you had a printing terminal with a line editor; not so lucky meant using a card puncher to code a card at a time). You'd then run it and wait to see what the final output would be: no preview of any kind, except what you drew on paper.

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177374)

Young whipper snapper! Get off my lawn!!

The first software I saw with a viewport was in about 95 or so. A wireframe only rendering on a HP Unix workstation (@60Mhz!) would take a few seconds to re-draw (longer if you had back face culling on). Mind you, we didn't get mouse input for the camera controls until we switched over to SGI machines a couple of years later. Up until that point (and still integral to the animation pipeline today) you only had control over the scene by executing code. You should try to find a dos version of 3d studio if you want to relive the experience!

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176074)

7mhz? Bloody luxury!

Back in our time we had to draw the frames, paint...

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176326)

I thought so at the time. I had 1.5 megabytes of memory, so I pretty much dominated everyone I knew.

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176518)

heh.. i remember having a "laptop"/"portable computer" which was an old 8088.. 640k ram. and a 2mb hdd.. replaced the battery pack with a bunch of D Cells.. and used to play games on it on road trips.. still have it some place...

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

Pezbian (1641885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177996)

I have a laptop like that still. I did a battery retrofit with NiMH AA cells in a radio shack battery case to run it when I got nostalgic. Had better charge life than the original heavy pack, actually.

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34178116)

that'd be because the originals where most likely NiCd

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

Pezbian (1641885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34181228)

And that would be why I mentioned the chemistry of the cells I used.

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34184542)

heh.. i remember having a "laptop"/"portable computer" which was an old 8088.. 640k ram. and a 2mb hdd.. replaced the battery pack with a bunch of D Cells.. and used to play games on it on road trips.. still have it some place...

A hard drive? Luxury!

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187696)

milli hertz? Wow that IS slow.

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176380)

Yeah, I modeled in wire frame, but even that took a long time to update. But when the scene was together you'd want to render a frame or 2 to see what the hell it was going to look like before you started a 3 week render of a 5 second animation.

Re:Lightwave 10 (1)

agrif (960591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34178636)

That's a very impressive tech demo there, but I cringe every time this guy says "OpenGL". It's pretty clear he has no idea what OpenGL actually is, because he's constantly acting amazed that OpenGL can do realtime rendering (*gasp*).

Choice quote: "The VBOs have been like pumped up for OpenGL..." (around 4:20)

Obligatory (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175538)

The first weird and not specifically predictable combination of erp/cosplay/fanfic/porn using Motus emergent in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Obligatory (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175710)

The first weird and not specifically predictable combination of erp/cosplay/fanfic/porn

Are there any non weird combinations involving cosplay?

I mean, sure, hot girls with blue hair and fake swords is kinda sexy and all ... but, it's still weird.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175948)

Your normal world seems dull...

Re:Obligatory (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176016)

Your normal world seems dull...

I embrace weird wherever I can ... but I still recognize it as weird. ;-)

Re:Obligatory (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176840)

Yes, but at least I can still get excited by reality. It is really sad when the only thing that gets you off anymore is a blue haired tentacled chick.

Who invented it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34175546)

James Cameron invented it? Really? Why not name the (team) of engineers that really did it.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175654)

James Cameron invented it? Really? Why not name the (team) of engineers that really did it.

If Cameron came up with the idea and had someone build it for him, I'd say you could argue he invented it.

He may not have been the one doing the technical details, but if it's his concept developed on his dime ... well, my past employers own the works I did for them, so why not in this case?

Re:Who invented it? (2, Interesting)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175736)

If Cameron came up with the idea and had someone build it for him, I'd say you could argue he invented it

That sets the bar for the concept of "invention" pretty damn low. If one can claim invented status for anything you can dream of, then I can produce quite a list of inventions on my resume. It's the actually making it work that is the hard part

He may not have been the one doing the technical details, but if it's his concept developed on his dime ... well, my past employers own the works I did for them, so why not in this case?

owning is one thing, being attributed as the inventor is another.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175818)

you are aware that the USPTO has allowed IBM to patent collating documents by hand right. You set each page on a table in sequence and then you simply walk along grabbing a page at a time.

the new idea bar is already pretty low.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177022)

you know the patent # ? i'd like to read that one

Re:Who invented it? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34180114)

i couldn't find that particular patent number but here are three more that are just as stupid.

patent #7,720,794 [uspto.gov]

patent # 6,925,605 [uspto.gov]

Patent #7,215,445 [uspto.gov]
Of those the last one is my favorite. Here is the abstract
Method and apparatus to correct distortion of document copies

Abstract
Pages of books are copied without distortion due to curvature of the page near the book binding or the distortion in a copied page is corrected using the spacing of equidistant bars on tape strips applied to the top and bottom edges of a page before copying. The tape is preferably transparent and rather narrow and easily attached to a page to be copied. The first step in the distortion correction procedure is to locate the bars at the top and bottom of the page. The distortion of the spacing between the imaged bars is computed based on the known distance between the equidistant bars. The computed distortion of the spacing is then input to a distortion correction algorithm. The output of the distortion correction algorithm generates a corrected image. This image may also optionally delete the bars so that they are not printed in the copy. The corrected image is then copied.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177604)

you are aware that the USPTO has allowed IBM to patent collating documents by hand right. You set each page on a table in sequence and then you simply walk along grabbing a page at a time.

the new idea bar is already pretty low.

the words "patent" and "invention" are a long way from synonymous. The USPTO has given patents for everything from "method of swinging on a swing" to "using a school desk at bullet shield".

So no, I don't allow the goverment to define "invent" either, I hold that bar a little higher.

Re:Who invented it? (2, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175834)

That sets the bar for the concept of "invention" pretty damn low. If one can claim invented status for anything you can dream of, then I can produce quite a list of inventions on my resume. It's the actually making it work that is the hard part

I specifically said "and had someone build it for him" ... meaning he didn't just come up with the idea, he footed the development costs, and probably had to explain his grand vision to people to try to get them to build it. He probably needed to iterate over a couple of prototypes to get to the final thing.

And, since the engineers likely weren't sitting around inventing this non-existent thing ... someone has to be the one who invented it.

owning is one thing, being attributed as the inventor is another.

It's a work for hire. I'm sure if the Academy gives an award for the technology, the guys who built it will be the ones receiving it.

But, for public discussion, I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to say that if Cameron envisioned it, paid for it, pioneered its use, and made it become more than a technology testbed ... well, he may have invented it in the broadest sense of the word. He didn't build it, but maybe he did invent it.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177568)

Yes this is something that used to piss me off when, as a student, I worked as a researcher for a faculty member. We would agree on the very broad outline of what I would do, i.e. the general goal, and then I went away and with no other contact came back later - usually months later - having refined the problem, designed the solution, implemented the solution and frequently having redefined the problem definition itself since the original formulation was flawed or inadequate in some way.

But he talked to others as if it was his work. Hey he paid for it and coming up with money in academia is certainly a necessity and can be hard. But that made him an enabler not the creator. It's pretty simple if you hire an artist and tell him/her that you want an oil painting that shows animals coming out of a barn and the artist goes away and comes back with their painting... who is the painter? Who is the artist? Who signs the painting - the guy who commissioned it or the guy who painted it?

Re:Who invented it? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175798)

If Cameron came up with the idea and had someone build it for him, I'd say you could argue he invented it.

He may not have been the one doing the technical details, but if it's his concept developed on his dime ... well, my past employers own the works I did for them, so why not in this case?

My guess is its one of those situations where Cameron invented it, until Autocad and friends open their decades of patent portfolios for enhanced animated architectural walkthrus and smash them, uh, then I guess it turns out those engineers invented it instead.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175868)

My guess is its one of those situations where Cameron invented it, until Autocad and friends open their decades of patent portfolios for enhanced animated architectural walkthrus and smash them, uh, then I guess it turns out those engineers invented it instead.

Honest question ... are these the same thing? I honestly don't know since I've never used autocad.

Does it support a real-time mapping between the live performance of an actor and a partial result towards the final animation?

Some patents are just plain stupid, some represent a real jump in the state of the art. Which is this? (And, did Cameron even patent it?)

Re:Who invented it? (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177854)

I think the previous poster meant Autodesk (and not their CAD product). Autodesk have been swallowing up every single one of the main players in the filmFX / 3D animation arena for the last few years. They've never actually developed their own animation software, but have bought out discreet (devs of 3ds max), alias wavefront (devs of maya), Kaydara (devs of Motionbuilder), Softimage (devs of XSI) to name but a few.

The upshot is that Autodesk now own pretty much every conceivable patent to do with 3D animation. It's effectively impossible to develop any competing product without falling foul of one of their data structure patents (Dependency graphs, modifier stacks, you name it, if it's a data structure used for 3D animation, they've got the patent...). As someone who works on one of the few remaining non-autodesk products, I can assure you it's a minefield! I'm not going to go into details, suffice to say that we normally have a patent lawyer in our code reviews and design meetings......

As for real time re-targetting, yes motionbuilder, maya and xsi can all do this easily, and this stuff has been in use in mocap studios for years. I'm failing to grasp what is actually 'new' here. The only thing I can potentially see, is the use of a motion tracked camera. Mind you, you can be fairly certain that ILM did all of this twenty years ago and never told anyone.....

Re:Who invented it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34175816)

Ah but I bet he holds the patent!

Edison says (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177884)

"Invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." I suppose James Cameron might have contributed 1% of the invention of Simulcam.

Of course it should be noted that Edison himself did not put in most of the perspiration for "his" inventions once he had already become successful. It could be argued that his greatest invention was in industrializing the methods of invention.

Re:Who invented it? (3, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175774)

He fronted the money, he assumed the risk. The engineers are merely the tools to execute his vision.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177038)

Is that quoted straight out of an Ayn Rand novel?

Re:Who invented it? (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177654)

I'm pretty sure Ayn Rand would have said the opposite.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

Pezbian (1641885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34178038)

Mod parent up for truth.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177818)

Yes, and none of that is invention.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34186692)

I know, I was trolling. It is fucking pathetic I was modded up for it.

Re:Who invented it? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34175928)

I was a member of that team and we weren't all engineers. What we were was a team of artists and artists-with-technical-inclination who assembled the bits and pieces he needed to fulfill HIS vision. He was often the guy that would point out exactly how to assemble what we needed.

So, no, I have no problem saying he invented it. I would concede, though, that 'created' is a better word. I believe my colleagues feel the same way.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183804)

Build me an FTL ship. Here's a barrel of cash. Oh and put the drive near the rear of the ship....

Hey look! I invented FTL travel!

Re:Who invented it? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34184692)

Er, the slight difference is that no-one can build your ship, whereas Cameron has actually used his invention to make a film.

Re:Who invented it? (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188358)

No one? Hmmm can you prove that negative?

Re:Who invented it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34188490)

Build me an FTL ship. Here's a barrel of cash. Oh and put the drive near the rear of the ship....

Hey look! I invented FTL travel!

Actually it was more like:

"We've got these sensors that get 3d space, we've got this program and a team of artists who can create the visuals in real time, we have the ability to composite them in real time, and it lets me use the camera the way I'd like to instead of filming something invisible and reverse-engineering the shot. Can you guys tie these together?"

"Yes!"

"Make it so."

Realtime Rotoscope: Death for makup/costume art? (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175566)

This sounds like rotoscoping in real time using a digital process.

Being able to "skin" your actors in real time with costumes/makeup will have a profound impact on a lot of films, but also the film making industry itself. I'm sure there are a lot fewer model-makers/matte painters since the advent of CG, will this have the same effect on makeup/props/costumers?

Re:Realtime Rotoscope: Death for makup/costume art (3, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175730)

Well essentially you're just transplanting the costs to someone else - where did that 3D model come from? It didn't just prop up out of nowhere.

Some things, like Zombies, are generally much cheaper on Make up than something like a talking Gorilla suit. One of the reason there are so many Zombie movies out there is because it's essentially the cheapest thing an Indie Film maker can make - They require little to no story writing, they don't require any special effects besides 1 good make up artist and a lot of cornsyrup and food colouring, and you can simply run around your city shooting.

Now - is it possible to make a Zombie model and transpose it over your actors? Definately. Is that cheaper? Not really. You're paying big bucks not only for the design of the model but the textures, skinning, skeleton work - there's a lot of stuff that goes into this.

One of the reasons this worked so well for James Cameron in Avatar is that essentially the world of Pandora was meant to be vast and immersive, which is really hard to do on a sound stage - or its extra expensive that way. Since the rest of the world was in CGI to cheapen the costs of producing an elaborate stage - it wasn't much of a stretch to move the Actors and Actresses into CGI as well - in fact for me personally I think it makes the parts with Live actors look more faked somehow (specifically the end fight scene).

So I don't think this is exactly "the end" for makeup and costume artists, because 100 yards of silk and a good tailor to do up Costumes can be a lot cheaper than a team of 3D modellers - and still look more real.

Re:Realtime Rotoscope: Death for makup/costume art (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175810)

Now - is it possible to make a Zombie model and transpose it over your actors? Definately. Is that cheaper? Not really. You're paying big bucks not only for the design of the model but the textures, skinning, skeleton work - there's a lot of stuff that goes into this.

Not to mention the fact that a zombie movie with only a single zombie is going to be pretty boring. You're going to want a bunch of them, and you don't want them all identical. Which means you want a bunch of different skins.

Re:Realtime Rotoscope: Death for makup/costume art (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175940)

And different models as well - since you wouldn't want to see the same face with a different skin every moment either.

It's another advantage a makeup artist and a hundred extras has over CGI. It's pretty simple to find a bunch of people wanting to be a in a zombie movie, you can probably find a bunch of Teenagers off school willing to do it the whole day for like 20 bucks.

And then your costume and make up artists can spend 2 hours making them exactly how you want them - and you've got a wide variety for a fraction of the cost of having to model and skin each and every one

Re:Realtime Rotoscope: Death for makup/costume art (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176348)

But...what if you were being attacked by CLONES of zombies....or zombie clones....

Someone call hollywood, i smell a hit!!!

Re:Realtime Rotoscope: Death for makup/costume art (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177046)

But...what if you were being attacked by CLONES of zombies....or zombie clones....

Someone call hollywood, i smell a hit!!!

"We thought we were smart. Creating a horde of clones to do all the menial jobs that us Americans didn't want to do anymore. And with them genetically programmed to die after a year, we were going to have an endless revenue stream selling replacements.

It never occurred to us that they might not *stay* dead..."

Umbrella Kamino Branch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34178606)

The Umbrella Corporation opening up an office on Kamino?

Re:Realtime Rotoscope: Death for makup/costume art (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175734)

I'm sure there are a lot fewer model-makers/matte painters since the advent of CG

Actually, it's my understanding they still use the model-makers and old school techniques, they just integrate them with the digital stuff.

I seem to recall seeing something that one of the big CG houses (Pixar?) actually had physical skeleton models to let the old-school animators move the wireframe since they got much more realistic results.

I think they actually use hybrid systems to really good effect.

Re:Realtime Rotoscope: Death for makup/costume art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34176042)

I'm sure there are a lot fewer model-makers/matte painters since the advent of CG...

Matte painters have gone digital. While it's probably true you'll find less 'model builders' in the phone book, models still need to get made (especially in the art department while exploring movie ets etc), they can go digital, too.

...will this have the same effect on makeup/props/costumers?

No. On Avatar we had costumers and makeup artists designing the look of the costumes and makeup. Those people still have very important talents that you cannot easily just throw at a CG artist and expect them to provide compelling results. It's the design sense, not the fabric.

Technology hasn't succeeded in 'killing' many fields, just in replacing their toolbox with a computer.

Re:Realtime Rotoscope: Death for makup/costume art (1)

Bryan3000000 (1356999) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176062)

Being able to "skin" your actors in real time with costumes/makeup will have a profound impact on a lot of films, but also the film making industry itself. I'm sure there are a lot fewer model-makers/matte painters since the advent of CG, will this have the same effect on makeup/props/costumers?

I'm quite sure that the makeup people have plenty of work to do. Have you seen how bad people look in HD? If a camera adds ten pounds, HD adds twenty pounds and twenty years.

Invention (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175634)

Did James Cameron actually invent this system? I thought he was a director.

Re:Invention (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175662)

Came to post that. I suspect this is a case of giving the "genius" credit for everything. At the very least, he was not the one who realized the idea (the hardest part of all ideas).

Re:Invention (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34180112)

He is known to the masses for his directing, but he has also done a ton of screenplay writing (how he got started) and has always beein interested in special effect technology (how he got into the industry in the first place). I don't know how much implementing he did, but he definitely drove the technology behind sci-fi effects. Certainly the functional specification, and possibly also the design spec.

Re:Invention (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34184706)

Came to post that. I suspect this is a case of giving the "genius" credit for everything. At the very least, he was not the one who realized the idea (the hardest part of all ideas).

There are a lot more competent engineers than genuine inventors.

Re:Invention (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211084)

Depends on what you mean by genuine. If you consider James Cameron a genuine inventor for coming up with an idea for the display he would like to have, I disagree,

Re:Invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34175900)

No silly, Al Gore invented it.

On a side note...did anybody else think Colonel Miles Quaritch character in Avatar would make a great Duke Nukem?

Cam (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175638)

Does it work in the cinema?

Bad Summary (4, Informative)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175720)

No. This summary is horrible. The article and the technology it references has nothing to do with real-time skinning of character models onto real humans.

What they show is basically 2 Wii remotes at the same time for more accurate movement in a video game.

THANK YOU! (3, Informative)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175842)

Sadly, I spent all my mod-points earlier today on utterly irrelevant posts.

It has NOTHING to do with 3D as in stereoscopy (read: Avatar and similar 3D movies) it is instead just yet another control system for 3D games (as in Duke Nukem 3D).
Like the parent said - it's a Wii remote. Again.

Re:THANK YOU! (2, Interesting)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176382)

True, it's a glorified Wiimote. Nothing like what they used for Avatar.

OTOH the Virtual Cinematography feature in the next version of LightWave will be much closer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhJauu_vB2A [youtube.com] even though it only takes care of the camera part and not the kind of realtime two-stage (body + face) motion capturing Avatar used. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhJauu_vB2A [youtube.com]

Re:THANK YOU! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34177252)

Ha ha! SFM'er busted!

Re:THANK YOU! (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#34180194)

Guilty as charged. :p

Re:THANK YOU! (1)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176464)

Yeah, it has nothing to do with stereoscopy or "video output of the cameras, in real time, but with the human actors digitally altered to look like the alien creatures whom they were playing. "

That later was what I was hoping to see when I read the article.

Re:THANK YOU! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34183238)

True, any VR application with a head tracker has been able to do this for quite some time. The whole window-to the world metaphor of interaction is more than a decade old e.g: WindowVR hooked up with Ascension trackers. The interaction paradigm is not novel, but the cost is cheap ~$100. Much like the Wii

Shakeycam? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175722)

Great, just what I never wanted, automated ShakeyCam.

Note from the CAD industry this is decades old. Is the actual story that AutoCad's patent finally expired so movie folks can use it legally in their software, or something like that?

Not impressed (1)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175832)

After watching the video from the source article I can't say I'm impressed and I don't see any advantages when using this compared to my general PC hardware. He says the applications of the commercial version will (for example) be replacing in-game democams so you can film it yourself as if you were really there. Oh please. We all use slick traced animations for that not shakey videos shot by hand, why would we want to have that? We could easily emulate that afterwarts too if we wanted it. Then he tells us about a game idea where the character is part of a journalist film crew..

Its motion capture with realtime display (1)

CarnivoreMan (827905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175904)

From TFA: "The system also negated the need for a huge amount of animation – every performance was captured in all its blue-skinned, pointy-eared majesty as it happened, so it didn’t need to be created from scratch on a computer."

That magic little piece of technology is called motion capture. Most definatly NOT something that Mr Cameron invented.

Additionally, while he may have been able to see the cgi characters in realtime, they would need to be realtime models with realtime capable effects/textures/lighting. Its not going to be of the quality the final product has. That kinda crap still takes renderfarms butt-tons of time to render out. His "invention" is only a tool to help him visuallize how the scene will look in the end. Note: I'm only refering to the tool James Cameron "invented".. not Motus

Augmented reality (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175908)

is what Simul-cam sounds like. However, the technique from the article is a bit different, in that it lets a hand-held device to act as a camera controller within a virtual environment. Nothing particularly new there either. Previously, the tracking device on the user's head performed such a function.

Re:Augmented reality (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176752)

is what Simul-cam sounds like. However, the technique from the article is a bit different, in that it lets a hand-held device to act as a camera controller within a virtual environment. Nothing particularly new there either. Previously, the tracking device on the user's head performed such a function.

Sorry to be pedantic, but, no, head tracking never performed that. Rotation data is very easy to get, the positional data is *not*. Right now, the ability to plot a tracker in a 10x10x10 3D space requires 10's of thousands of dollars in equipment and installation.

Re:Augmented reality (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 3 years ago | (#34178990)

It depends upon what head-tracking you're talking about. The Polhemus and Ascension magnetic trackers have allowed this kind of thing for ages, and are available for under $10K (sometimes you see them on Ebay for a pittance). In addition, various optical (OptiTrack) and ultrasonic (Intersense) trackers have also had this capability.

And let's not forget mechanical tracking, as pioneered by Ivan Sutherland back in 1963. True, range was an issue, but the main idea was already present.

Re:Augmented reality (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34179090)

I'm talking about spatial tracking for something like moving a camera around a volume. Mechanical tracking isn't anywhere near ideal for this and Intersense trackers are exactly what I'm talking about with the high price tag.

I'm curious about the Ascension trackers. Have you worked with those before?

Re:Augmented reality (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 3 years ago | (#34180066)

Indeed I have. So have many others. You can search for "ascension flock of birds" and see lots of related research.
For a limited volume (that's relatively free of ferrous objects), it's okay. It tends to jitter & distort towards the limits of its range
(at least the model I used). I imagine that optical trackers are better for bigger volumes, assuming you can string up an
appropriate constellation of LEDs (for outward looking) or cameras (for inward looking). You could probably do something
quite decent with enough Wii remotes and LEDs, if cost is a concern.

Re:Augmented reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34184270)

Several people have used the TrackIR gaming view controller to control cameras in machinamina productions. It can't get a full 10x10x10 space, but its definitely able to provide 6DOF (rotation and position) data over a large area.

Been done ... Cloudy w/ a Chance of Meatballs (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176340)

I remember seeing some behind the scenes stuff from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and they had sensors on a full-sized, over the shoulder sized video camera, so someone could control the camera's position as the animation played out.

(I think it was on "Science of the Movies") ... so the technique's been done ... maybe the novel part is that it's generic to work with other systems?

Cool..... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34178192)

Now the actors will be getting paid even less because they can super impose the face of any other actor, and only pay royalties on that actors face, but the actual physical displacement of the body is done by a stunt double....watch ...soon, all movies will be semi computer animated to save even more money!

Looks familiar... (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#34178584)

...The guy in the video that is - he used to be my lab tutor 5 years ago when I studied CGT there. Good course, cool profs, hi Matt!

BS title, that... (2, Informative)

JohnnySlash (913420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34178906)

The speaker in the video makes a grandiose claim but shows no proof - all the footage is from their own test environment. "Motus Lets Users 'Film' Within Any 3D Environment"? Gizmag should take some journalism courses.

There are Virtual Cameras already on the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34179404)

There are two companies with virtual camera products already on the market. You can buy and use them now if you don't want to wait for the system in the article to supposedly be commercialized and hopefully have whats actually needed.

OptiTrack Insight :
http://www.naturalpoint.com/optitrack/products/insight-vcs/

Motion Analysis Camera Tracker :
http://www.motionanalysis.com/html/animation/cameratracker.html

Motus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34180522)

What's that - Obama's pet cow or something?

Old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181982)

Weta came up with a similar system a decade ago for the Lord of the Rings movies. Jackson used it to set up the filming for the Moria fight in the first movie.

a virtual head tracking device (1)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34184408)

what on earth is different about this from say..

a augmented reality headset? What exactly is new about this? With a motion controller headset, the thing is basically strapped to your eyes. The only difference here is that the video output is piped to a computer display somewhere else..which I doubt they are the first to do.
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