Issue: Volume: 23 Issue: 11 (November 2000)

Ready-to-Wear Mocap from Motek

Motek's more ambitious product, Unica, also features ready-to-use mocap data over the Web, with the major differences being that all the moves are customizable and that users work off Motek's Web server, selecting, manipulating, and blending motion sequences, and fine-tuning body motions with slider bars. For example, while Unica motion sequences follow biomechanical rules for humans, a user can bypass those rules to create sequences containing exaggerated or non-human movements. The sequences can then be reviewed online and the presets saved locally before a user commits to buying and downloading them. Both Unica and StockMoves data can be output to most professional-level 3D modeling and animation programs, including Softimage, Discreet's 3D Studio Max, Alias|Wavefront's Maya, NewTek's Light Wave, and Side Effects Software's Houdini.

Amsterdam-based character animator Jasper Brekelmans recently employed Unica for a Motek project involving well-known Belgian cartoon characters Victor (a lighthouse keeper) and Cerres (a cat) in live-action backgrounds. "Besides custom [motion] capture, we were able to use Unica for a lot of the more generic shots, which saved us about a third of the actual production time," says Brekelmans. "The beauty of Unica is that it allows you to interactively tweak the motions you need from within the Unica client, all in real time and over the Internet."

Motek's 2tb motion-capture data bank, developed from eight years of motion-capture data compiled from game, film, and television projects, provides the basis for StockMoves and Unica. New sequences are added to the site every three to six weeks.

StockMoves and Unica run on Windows 95/98/NT/2000, Irix 6.5 or higher, and Linux Kernel and RedHat operating systems, with a hardware requirement of at least 32mb of RAM and approximately 1mb of hard drive space. StockMoves also runs on Mac OS 8 systems. (Motek Motion Technology; Manchester, NH; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 603-641-8385; -JD