Santa Rosa, Calif. - Motion Analysis Corp.
congratulates its longtime technology partner, Jim Henson’s Creature
Shop, on winning an Engineering Emmy at the 61st Primetime Emmy
Engineering Awards, held Aug. 22 in Los Angeles.
The Engineering Emmy was awarded for the remarkably innovative Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, a real-time animation system that allows performers to puppeteer and voice digital characters in real-time, dramatically reducing both animation time and cost, says a representative. The revolutionary studio features multiple virtual camera systems, real-time animation viewing systems, and an industry first: real-time, production quality, full-body motion capture system which have been provided by Motion Analysis Corporation, and operated by the production team at Motion Analysis Studios.
This proprietary animation system has been used in the production of the Emmy-nominated animated children’s program “Sid the Science Kid,” produced by The Jim Henson Company and KCET/Los Angeles, and has enabled the Creature Shop to generate 40 episodes of HD computer-generated imagery within a year.
In producing the series, the body movements of six live suit performers and a dog were tracked and solved in real-time using Motion Analysis' industry exclusive motion capture cameras and Cortex software. The movements of the actors were mapped onto digital puppets in real-time and the production quality data is streamed live to the Creature Shop’s proprietary viewer.
Simultaneously, puppeteers who voice the characters also manipulate the facial motion and lip synch, using a special mechanical-input glove device developed for the right hand, and a joystick-type device for the left hand. This all works in conjunction with a director, cameras and production crews exactly as it would on a live-action set. The finished production comes together virtually, in real-time, using the Creature Shop’s proprietary software which marries the stage components with the show’s digital environments on the fly. This real-time, production quality process can be replicated for any film, television, game, or interactive production as well as live events.
"Several years ago the labeling of motion capture markers and the solving segmental data for six animation performers would have been impossible in our real-time environment," says Jeff Christie, CG supervisor for Henson. "With the advancements of Motion Analysis' technologies as the industry leader providing full-body, production quality optical motion capture, they became a perfect partner for our endeavors,” Christie continued. With their unique ability to stream six or more characters' production quality segmental data live into our viewer, Motion Analysis became our first choice for providing full body movement to our digital puppets."
"'The Sid the Science Kid' project is the largest live production quality project involving motion capture in United States television history" says Tom Whitaker, Motion Analysis Corporation’s CEO. "We are pleased that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is recognizing Jim Henson’s Creature Shop for its remarkable engineering achievement and proud to have played a part in digital puppetry’s success", Whitaker adds.