An interesting piece from Engadget looking at the history of motion capture. From the early days of rotoscoping, the present with goofy apps and the future with issues mo-cap fraud, Motion capture is ingrained in our society.
Rotoscoping was a primitive and time-consuming process, but it was a necessary starting point for the industry. In the rotoscope method, animators stood at a glass-topped desk and traced over a projected live-action film frame-by-frame, copying actors’ or animals’ actions directly onto a hand-drawn world. The technique produced fluid, lifelike movements that animators couldn’t achieve on their own.
By the 1980s, animators were using bodysuits lined with active markers and a handful of large cameras to track actors’ movements, resulting in digital images with much more detail and precision than Harrison’s radioactive line drawings. But even in the 1990s, each mocap-ready camera was roughly the size of a small refrigerator, and animators had to manually assign each marker, in each frame, for every scene. It was nearly as painstaking as rotoscoping.
“If there are people that want to use this advancing technology for ill intent, then we will in every possible way disassociate ourselves from them,” Ovadya says. “But I think that’s just kind of the nature of all technology right now. It’s not just motion capture — any technology is advancing so fast that it can be used to confuse people and to take them in a different direction. Hopefully, people recognize that that’s not what this should be used for.”