Rare system transforms reporter to digital character

By Rachel Leigh - bio | email

BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) - Long gone are the days of Pacman and Tetris. Thanks to digital animation, the way we play has completely changed.

But for a character, like Mia, to even budge, someone, like Rachel Leigh, has to do suit up and make the moves first.

The system is complex and rare, and that's why students from around the globe come to the Digital Media Arts College in Boca Raton.

Andres DelValle, Chairperson of Animation Department, "This is the motion capture room, and this structure is the motion caption system which is made of 12 optical cameras. What happens with these cameras, they cannot actually see us. They can only see the reflective marker tape."

After suiting up, DMAC students place several reflective spheres on Rachel. "When the data gets back to the camera, it takes all the data from all 12 of the cameras and kind of triangulates where each of these points are in space which is known as a point cloud, so what you end up seeing is a bunch of dots floating around in space which we apply to characters."

Anything Rachel does, Mia mirrors including her rendition of the Chicken Dance; however, this only scratches the surface. "For a movie, they might record an entire sequence of movements. Let's say the character is running and jumping and doing all sorts of karate movements and stuff like that," explained Roth.

"For a game, however, they might be doing individual movements. Let's say for example, the character is walking, they might do a stumble, or something like the character fell over or jumping. There's a lot of individual sequences you need to do for a game."

Both Bryan Evans and Isaac Bratzel are completing their Masters of Fine Arts degrees in visual effects animation and graphic design.

"I'm sure you have a lot of projects over the semester. How many hours do you work on a project? Can you even log them?" Rachel asked.

"For this class, it was a whole lot. We had to do a group project, so it was quite a bit of time, but it's worth it in the end when you see the final results," said Bratzel.

Especially when the results turn into an amazing job opportunity right out of school. "I'm currently going into the gaming industry. I have an offer with Microsoft in Washington," Evans said.

DMAC also offers year round acceptance. You can learn more by visiting their Web site, DMAC.edu.

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