JPCatholic Offers New Motion Capture System to Students

Oct. 31st, 2019 | By Clare Schmidt

JPCatholic is excited to announce the purchase of the Xsens Awinda motion capture suit, which will be available for students to use in the coming Winter Quarter.

“Motion Capture is used all the time [in the industry],” said Professor Max Hulburt, the Chair of the Animation and Gaming programs. “For students to able to put that skill on a resume or even in a demo reel, it’s a unique and beneficial skill to have that not many students leave college with.”

The Xsens Awinda is a MoCap suit that has sensors across the body which communicate to each other, which provides the students of JPCatholic the flexibility to record motion capture in any location; “We can record motion capture literally anywhere. We can go in the soundstage, we can go in a classroom, we can go outside, and the student will be able to record motion of somebody doing something, and then apply that to a CG character.”

In addition to building the skills and resumes of the students in the animation and gaming programs, part of the goal of the MoCap system is to prompt a further connection and between them and the film students, according to Hulburt: “As the animation program expands, I believe a natural progression is to collaborate further with the film program, and really break more into visual effects kind of work.”

According to Hulburt, the MoCap system will help “get film, animation, and gaming students, if they’re interested, to collaborate on really large effects that you really don’t see except in much larger productions, but also teach students how to get that effect on a much lower budget.” Footage from the suit is already being used in a compositing class this quarter, taught by George Simon, Professor of Film Production.

Next quarter a new class will be taught by Professor Hulbert and Professor Simon, which will be “all about, from the ground up, how film students and CG artists communicate in creating really cool visual effects.” The class will teach students not only how to operate the new system, but also how to communicate between the film department and the CG animation department. It will answer questions such as, “what does each team need from the other one, when do they need it, how do they need it, how does the film department give the CG artists the information that will help them create the character, light the character, film the character in a CG environment?”

According to Hulburt, “It’s all about the communication from beginning to end, and part of that will be using the new motion capture system…we’ll collaborate and do something that has never been done before at the school.”

Demo footage from a MoCap test with JPCatholic students