The biggest movies of our times utilize sophisticated computer animation; think Avatar, Toy Story and Transformers.
Since Clara Keller saw the movie Avatar, her fascination with bringing animation to life has grown. "When characters have depth, story and realism to them, it really pulls you in," explained Keller. She's now majoring in 3D animation and video game design at New River Community College.
If you're like Keller, you may have wondered how animated movies mimic the human motion so perfectly? Come January, students at New River Community College will learn how it all works, while wearing a ten-thousand dollar suit.
The suit weighs fourteen pounds and is equipped with twenty-six sensors that record every motion its user makes. Animation Specialist John Spiker explains, "Being the controller and using 3D capability, you've basically constructed a virtual 3D environment for yourself."
Recorded movements are captured and can be used to produce things like video games and movies.
The biggest challenge for professors is getting the suit in sync with the user, then the user with the computer.
Though this technology is barely hitting classrooms, teachers believe this could eventually be in homes. "I see people in their living rooms becoming the character and the controller," said Spiker.
New River Community College holds a demonstration of this 3D motion capture technology on Saturday, December 17th, at the food court entrance to the college’s NRV mall site in Christiansburg.