Bodies in Motion

Live Performance - Tension of the Self

Teaser Promo for live performance using motion capture, live music and dance.

Created by: Gabriel Brasil (Concept and Choreography), Shuai Wang (Art Direction and Unreal Development), Shuting Jiang (Music and Unreal Development) and Terrick Gutierres (Production and Concept).

Part of the "Bodies in Motion" class - NYU IMA/ITP

instructors: Todd Bryant and Kat Sullivan

NYU Magnet, 8th floor

2 Metrotech Center - Brooklyn

As concept artist and choreography director, my role was to elaborate and implement an overarching aesthetic. All while taking into the consideration our experience using the motion capture studio.

Through this experience I became proficient in motion capture studio management, direction and data cleaning.

The studio located at NYU’s Magnet Brooklyn campus, included a 15 camera Optitrack system.

Early concepts based on the works of the renown choreographer Martha Graham.

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Bodies in Motion - Week 4

This week I had the opportunity to direct a couple of scenes and have a better idea of the demands of directing a Mocap scene. Also, I had the great pleasure to have my 6 year old daughter Estela as our very special guest mocap artist. Not only was this a chance to show my proud Dad face to the team, I was also very curious to know how capturing the movements of a child would play out. Children are not small adults: They have a different center of gravity as well as unique proportions - big head, tiny shoulders - and the skeleton rig in Motive is clearly set for a grown up.

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The first challenge was to find an Optitrack suit that could fit her, so we ended up with a size small top, heavily customized with foldings and tape. The trackers on the legs had to be taped. This shows how important a good suit must be, since any strange fold or lose seam generated extra effort, with falling trackers and strange occlusions. Luckily, after taping the trackers the system managed to generated a working skeleton for a 6 year old.

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Directing a MOCAP scene requires great concentration from the team and actors alike, as well as synchronicity between Mocap engineer at the station, the director and the actor. Double so when having small children at the studio. Careful actor placement and rehearsal before takes are necessary in order for not only generate a cleaner mocap data capture, but to help the actors immerse themselves in the imaginary scene set by the director. Without clear job distribution, the actor might become overwhelmed by different directors barking conflicting scenarios.

While capturing Estela and Ridwan, the team seemed to give me the voice to direct - it was MY daughter after all. Ridwan showed tenderness and tact while dancing and interacting with this little girl, making for an enjoyable and funny recording session.

Bodies in Motion - Data Cleaning and Character Creation

Data Cleaning on Motive - The group recorded 3 animations, each with an increasing rate of errors and gaps - from very clean to several simultaneous track occlusions.

Data Cleaning on Motive - The group recorded 3 animations, each with an increasing rate of errors and gaps - from very clean to several simultaneous track occlusions.

The handstand animation was selected for now since it was the easiest to clean. Clear goals and strategic use of movement made a world of difference in the cleaning phase.

The handstand animation was selected for now since it was the easiest to clean. Clear goals and strategic use of movement made a world of difference in the cleaning phase.

With cleaning done, the FBX file was exported.

With cleaning done, the FBX file was exported.

I created the character using QUILL - VR drawing software. I was happy with the overall design, but I ended up with several extra steps to go through in order to rig the very complex mesh that Quilll generates

I created the character using QUILL - VR drawing software. I was happy with the overall design, but I ended up with several extra steps to go through in order to rig the very complex mesh that Quilll generates

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Bodies in Motion - Studio day Week 2

Our second studio day


Bodies in Motion - using Unreal - CyberJungle

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First steps to the Cyber Jungle - getting to know the Unreal Engine.

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The idea behind my first Unreal level was to recreate the moodboard I created last week. The theme I was looking for was “CyberJungle”, a more organic vision of the classic cyberpunk cyperspace, but instead of sharp lines and neon, I’d have trees AND neon.

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Working the first time with Unreal was challenging. Although the interface has many similarities with other 3D development environment like Unity or Maya, I was constantly struggling with what seemed trivial tasks like changing and painting textures.

I used some free Assets from the Epic Marketplace, and my goal was to replace some of the textures and paint some neon detail on the landscape, but I just couldn’t pull it of. It is true that it was my first couple of hours on this very powerful software, but I was really looking forward adding some funky colors to the usual drab grimy game assets.

The goal now is to go back to the basic Unreal tutorials and review texture application.

Bodies in Motion - Getting my hands on a Motion Capture Studio for the first time!

My first opportunity to get my hands on a fully equipped motion capture studio!

Last Saturday, September 15, I had my first lab session on the Motion Capture studio located at NYU’s Magnet facility in Brooklyn. In order for everybody have a chance to learn how to get the equipment up and running, we were assigned into smaller groups with sessions throughout the day.

My group consisted of Yiyao Nie, Yu-Hsuan, Ella Chung, Yibing and me.

In less than one and a half hours, we all managed to setup all cameras; get the room properly tracked; configured and assigned rigid bodies sensors; linked the computer running Motive to Unreal and were able to stream data in real time from our sensors to objects inside the game engine.

I’ve made a video on how the whole thing worked out.

Personally, I can say that the whole thing was quite magical. Being able to manipulate digital objects with physical ones never cease to maze me. More so having a whole room capturing various sensors with no discernible lag.

I understand that the main use for such an expensive MOCAP studio is to record high quality motion data to be used later, but it allowed me to glimpse a more communal experience of a computer interface. The whole group could run, dance and play together, and the position of our sensors was translated to digital doubles of our actions. I wonder how a collective coding experience - harnessing motion capture with seamless Augmented Reality - would look like.

Maybe I’m starting to feel how Jaron Lanier felt when he first started to dabble in VR and Motion Capture in the early 80s.

Moodboard - CyberJungle

https://www.pinterest.com/brasilgabriel/bodies-in-motion-cyber-jungle/

Part of our first assignment was to create a moodboard on Pinterest on the kind of environment I’d like to create inside UNREAL.

I came with the idea of a cyberspace - but not only it would have it’s cyberpunk 80’s vibe, but it would also be more organic than neon. I’m envisioning a living environment as rich as the Atlantic Forest from my hometown of Rio de Janeiro.