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Please check DEMOS if all details are right for the Thursday night showcase.

How to setup an interface between a 3D character and a real time input device.

Creating animated 3D characters made of water, metal or plants from a skeleton using a motion capture file.

Designing dynamic environments for animated 3D characters - part 2.

Designing environments for animated characters - part 1.

Modeling a character.

Playing your Motion Builder animation in Maya.

Editing motion clips, animating a character on a path and cameras.

Animating an Actor and a Character with a marker set from your motion capture session.

VICON mocap cleanup tutorial. Download

Lab 944, on Mondays from 5 to 6:00 pm, A non-mandatory one hour tutorial covering production software. Please keep in mind that this tutorial is giving you extra help with the software. If you think are doing fine after the class, you are not requested to attend the tutorial. If you want to attend the tutorial but you have a time conflict, email me your possible time slots.

c3d files for your motion builder homework (everybody can use everything, you're not limited to your groups data only.)

csm files ( for people who want to look inside the file and experiment around)

Lab hours

New York University
Courant Institute & Tisch School of the Arts

Experiments in Motion Capture & Recapturing Life Course

Fall 2008

G22.3033-004 / 3(+1) credits (G & advanced UG) (optionally +1 ind. study credit)
or H95.1602 (UG) H95.2602 (G) / 4 credits

Wed 6:20pm 721 Broadway, Room 941
sometimes class moves at 7pm to 719 Broadway, 12th floor Motion Capture Lab


This class is open to students of various backgrounds (Science, Art, Dance, Film, Architecture, Music etc) and to both graduate students and advanced undergraduate students.

If you want to learn what’s “under the hood” in motion capture, and want to push the envelope of what is considered motion capture (and are able to program C / C++), choose the “Technical Track” of this joint Courant & Tisch collaboration. If you are more interested in the production and artistic aspects of motion capture (and do not want to program), choose the “Production Track” of this class. Both tracks overlap 80%, and the entire class (production & technical) will move back and forth between the Courant Motion Capture Lab and the Tisch Gaming & New Media Center. Both tracks are very hands on, and besides lectures and assignments, the final group project is considered the most important part of this class. We hope that most class projects will be interdisciplinary, involving students from both tracks.


Motion Capture, with a long tradition in the sciences and art, is the process of recording human movement (or other movement) in physical space, and transforming that information in a computer-usable form. In this class, students will discover how to use motion capture for computer animation, and all the enthusiasm that it currently sparks.

The use of Motion Capture has increased in popularity, due to recent technological advances, and due to increased demand in entertainment, computer animation, visual input for new Human-Computer-Interfaces and scientific applications. The course will introduce students to the use of state-of-the-art, marker-based and vision based motion capture set ups, working with dancers.

As part of an effort to explore and understand motion from an artistic and from a scientific point of view, Chris Bregler ( and Jean-Marc Gauthier ( will introduce students to the exciting and sometimes controversial art of capturing and recreating motion of living creatures. We will look at designing motion and the ability to create the illusion of life as applied to the expressions and the styles of a person or character. Students will have hands on experience with a motion capture set-up that can measure full-body movements from dancers, for example from the Pilobolus Dance Company, facial expressions from actors or motions of animals. Students will also explore the history of motion with recordings going back to Marey and Muybridge in the late 19th century and early applications of rotoscoping dating back to animated features like Disney's Snow White.

Production Track -- starting time 6:20pm, Wed: Special emphasis will be placed on creating interactive story telling involving interactive character animation using Alias Maya, Alias Motion Builder and Virtools.

Technical Track -- joining at 7:10pm, Wed: -- “technical-track” students are welcome to also show up early for production track, but this is not a requirement. On the technical track, in some break-out sessions, special emphasis will be placed on implementing core motion capture and vision techniques in OpenCV on XP, OS X, or Linux (using C++).

INSTRUCTORS Chris Bregler (CB), Computer Sciences/Courant Institute and Jean-Marc Gauthier (JMG), Open Arts/Tisch

PREREQUISITES This class has limited seats, and therefore consent from instructor is needed. Please email both instructors (, your relevant background, what classes you took before, and why you want to take this class.

GRADING Weekly production assignments and presentation of portfolio on week 9 = 40% Team research posted on the class blog = 30% Final project = 30%

SYLLABUS for the Tisch Production track

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