Computer Graphics World

NOVEMBER 09

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I t has been two years since a graduate- level performance-capture course was fi rst introduced at the USC's School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), led by A Christmas Carol, e Polar Express, and Beowulf direc- tor and Monster House producer Robert Zemeckis. Recently, Computer Graphics World spoke with co-instructor Eric Furie to fi nd out how the course has evolved. e 15-week course, which started in January 2007, came about when Zem- eckis approached the University of South- ern California with the idea that students should be exposed to performance capture as a fi lmmaking technique. To get the pro- gram off to a good start, he told the school he would be willing to get involved in the fi rst class. Word spread, and students were anx- ious to sign up. According to Furie, digital systems specialist and adjunct faculty for motion capture at SCA, there is typically a large demand for the two-semester course. "We fi ll the class every year," he says. "It's a production class, with students learning everything from calibration, to processing data, to the application of data in diff erent environments." Furie fi rst became involved in motion capture with the opening of the Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts in 2001. One of the fi rst people trained on the Vicon mo- tion-capture system installed at the Cen- November 2009 44 Special Education Section USC student Ben Hansford incor- porated the lessons learned from a performance-capture course by creating a spec commercial called "Hand to Hand" that combines mocap, CG, and live action.

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