Motion capture gets slightly less embarrassing

It looks like the profession of motion capture artist could soon become a slightly more dignified one, with one upstart company doing away with the trademark spandex suit and ping-pong balls in favor of a come as you are approach. That bit of of freewheelin' technology comes to us from Organic Motion, who showed off their wares at the big Games Developers Conference in San Francisco. According to the company, instead of relying on reflections from a few markers placed on a person's body, its system automatically visualizes and captures thousands of natural points on a subject, turning it into a complete 3D scan in real-time. On the downside, the current implementation of the technology (set to launch later this year) can only scan one person at a time, although a version that scans two people is apparently on track for 2008. On a related front, a team from Germany's Max Planck Institute for Computer Science have developed a system that can scan a high-resolution 3D image of a person and quickly turn it around into a model ready to be animated or, for instance, imported as an avatar into a game. It appears that it's slightly further down the line, however, with no indication given as to when, if ever, we might see it commercialized.

- Newsweek - Level Up, "Organic Motion's Marker-Less Motion Capture"
Read - New Scientist, "Animation tool puts you in the frame, or the game"