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TIFFCOM: Imagica’s Gen8 Pushes Motion Capture

Gen8 (‘Generate”), a team from Japan’s leading film and tech company Imagica Lab, unveiled its Motion Archive project this week. The motion capture-based effort has reached out to artists and athletes and is using the latest visual technology, including 3D imaging, to record, analyze and archive human movement. It demonstrated the technology on the trade show floor of TIFFCOM, the market associated with the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Athletes or performers’ movements are recorded with motion capture devices and the body of the subject is scanned in 3D to create a 3D CG image. The image is then inspected with VR devices and archived for long-term data storage.

“At first we are capturing traditional Japanese activities like sumo and kabuki,” Tomoya Takazawa, a director of one of the production departments at Imagica told Variety. One of the first big undertakings of the Motion Archive project was to recreate a sumo arena and bout between grand champion Hakuho and former champion Kotoshogiku. The movements of the wrestlers were captured both to have a 3D record of natural sumo moves and to be able to show them from new angles.

Takazawa thinks there can be many applications for the data. “We are talking to VR companies and when the technology advances we think our data will be useful for creating VR content,” Takazawa said. He also notes the project will have data on athletes’ movements, and can help track the success, or not, of those athletes, and said that the motion archive will be useful for predicting the success of future athletes by comparing their movements to the archived data.

Imagica is also consulting with robotics companies. It believes the Motion Archive data will be useful in creating robots that can move in more natural, human ways.

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