An open brief to create a 30 second motion capture sequence which explores alternative, non-figurative and experimental visualizations of movement and the body in motion. This is an opportunity to explore further the possibilities of creating a visual sequence using motion capture. You are encouraged to take a more experimental approach by exploring alternative visualisations of body in motion: dance, sport, mime etc. This might include the use of geometric shapes, particle effects, fire, smoke effects, and dynamic simulations. The use of the virtual camera as an element can also be explored.

Initial Ideas

  • My friend Kayla has background in dance, ballet, choreography who could potentially be our motion capture actor

I decided I wanted to have a dance of some sort. Either of abstract dance, or some sort of choreography.

Abstract Dance –

Choreography –

Fire Dance Anime –

Fire Particle Effect Following –

Particle Effect Fire Constant –

  • I would like to use various particle effects, fire and smoke effects to go with my dance. Whether it be these mentioned effects popping up after a certain movement etc. or the effects following behind/attached somewhere to the rig.
  • The rig may be a just be built through simple geometric objects that resemble a human form. eg. circle head. cone body (for female) cylinders for arms etc. Or all one object, eg. all balls, or even basic character rigs
  • They could bloat up/reduce for figurative dancing. Certain parts could enlarge, reduce in size during the dance.

Further Ideas

After Greg posted up some videos of various motion captured abstract visualisations on the AUT motion capture page, I decided to rethink my initial concepts. I became interested in these moving digital sculpture type particles and dynamic particles that follow the initial movement and remain for a period of time before fading away. I want to create something that still  with circular particles and their movement rather than lined particles.

Asphyxia: A Striking Fusion of Dance and Motion Capture Technology


Production Diary

Date Action Taken
24/03/16 Assignment Brief given and introduced.
31/03/16 Researched possible dances and documented.
11/04/16 Possible ideas generated and documented.
25/04/16 Motion Capture group formed and personal and possible ideas were discussed with Greg.
02/04/16 Sorted out actor and planned the time to shoot with her.
06/04/16 Equipment needed for Motion capture shoot prepared. Double checked actor was available to motion capture shoot.
08/04/16 Motion Capture Shoot.
15/04/16 Cortex Clean Up.
18/04/16 Cortex Clean Up continued.
06/05/16 Finished all the Cortex Clean Up.
06/05/16 Begun Motion Builder solving data.
13/05/16 Begun exploring various particle effects and various ways to display the movement. Eg. Abstract shapes, or skeleton, or polygon human figure etc.
20/05/16 Finalised idea to use spherical shapes attached to locators to form the movement and shape.
27/05/16 Attached particle effects.
01/06/16 Inserted lighting and cameras. Render.
02/06/16 Begin and finished final editing of sequence. Including – research and editing of background soundtrack.

Work in Progress


Imported locators to experiment with attaching an actor onto it.


Attached character to the mocap data, but the movements seemed awkward and didn’t give the elegant effect I wanted to capture.


I also experimented with various polygons to build as the character and attach the movement to those, however the effect was still quite stiff and rigid.



I decided to go with a more abstract idea, so I used spherical balls and applied a texture to it to create a bubbly/reflective marble look as well as to craft out the form of the dancer. These were all individually assigned to each mocap marker/locator. The locators had to be imported into Maya as an fbx to be able to read as well.


I added particles, by adding an emitter to a few objects, in this case the spheres in the scene. I played around with the lifespan, size and gravity of the particles as well as the different render types of particle shapes and sizes.


After I was happy with the overall adjustments of the particles and their lifespans/sizes etc. I decided to work on the colour of them. I wanted to change the colour at various stages of the dance for the dance to show progression and change. This was done through applying a material and changing the colour of it and then key framing each point that I wanted it to change at.



To finish, I decided to make a box/room by creating a few planes and standing them up in a box form. I made their surface 1.00 reflective to make a very reflective room. This created a nice reflection in the back etc. where the form can be seen, but the particles could not be reflected, giving it an abstract metaphor as if the camera is seeing both the reality and what the “dancer” is imagining. The dancer imagines she is a elegant and flowing with particles flying about, but in reality she is normal and just dancing as seen in the reflection.