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The History and Current State of motion capture

Milestones in the development of motion capture:

By Ron Fischer (addendum by Demian Gordon)

  • 1774 Johann Heinrich Lambert, develops "spatial resection" * [footnote: Lambert is better known for proving that pi is an irrational number and for developing the lighting model bearing his name.]
  • 1840 Arago, suggests use of daugerrotype for cartographic measurement
  • 1849 Laussedat (Father of Photogrammetry), uses photographs to make maps
  • 1856 Porro, invents first means of correcting lens distortion [footnote: better know for the Porro Prism used in standard binoculars to widen the stereo view.]
  • 1867 Laussadat, exhibits Photothéodolite and plan of Paris made from rooftops
  • 1872 Muybridge, begins work on sequential photography
  • 1880 etienne-jules marey developed animated photography into a separate field of chronophotography
  • 1882 Etienne-Jules Marey develops the chronophotographic gun, capable of taking pictures at 12 frame a second
  • 1893 Meydenbaur, coins the term "photogrammetry"
  • 1899 Finsterwalder, publishes "The Geometric Fundamentals of Photogrammetry"
  • 1915 Max Fleischer, develops rotoscope technique
  • 1924 Gruber, projective equations of photogrammetry and their differentials
  • 1930 Fenn & Morrison, analyze motion w/100 fps film, 1m lattice, black markers, dropped ball for synch
  • 1937 Snow White and her Prince are animated using rotoscoping
  • 1939 Cureton, analyzes limits of multiplier technique (planar motion analysis)
  • 1940s Church, equations for resection, intersection, etc.
  • 1953 Schmid, matrix equations for multi-station photogrammetry, with error analysis
  • 1953 Zeller, interrupted light markers trace motion of athelete in long stereo exposure
  • 1960 Aidman and Sigmark, strobe illuminated reflectors to analyze car collisions
  • 1960s Disney Imagineering uses mechanical “motion programming” for audio animatronics
  • 1960s Bill Polhemus at Harvard University, magnetic tracker
  • 1962 First human motion to drive a digital character, :ee Harrisons Animac
  • 1965 Handiman & Hardiman are developed at General Electric
  • 1965 Garnov & Dubovic, time-matching cine film from multiple cameras for analysis
  • 1967 Torlegård, determining interior parameters of non-metric cameras
  • 1968 Noble, 3 cameras on axes, multiplier technique for 3D motion analysis
  • 1970 Polhemus founded
  • 1970 Susanka & Diblik, Miller, 3D analysis techniques eliminating perspective error
  • 1971 Abdel-Aziz & Karara, Direct Linear Transformation (DLT) for close range photogrammetry
  • 1973 Lippert, plexiglas markers directly attached to bones
  • 1975 Selcom, SELSPOT active marker system
  • 1976 Van Wijk & Ziemann, analytical close-range cine-photogrammetry
  • 1982 Selcom, SELSPOT II active marker system
  • 1983 Simon Frasier Univ., Tom Calvert, potentiometer-based Goniometers for computer analysis
  • 1983 Ginsberg & Maxwell, MIT, "Graphical Marionette"
  • 1983 Motion Analysis founded
  • 1983 MIT, Ginsberg & Maxwell, Graphical Marionette, Op-Eye active markers track body position
  • 1983 Northern Digital, WATSMART active led system
  • 1984 Oxford-Metrics, Limited founded (Vicon is US name)
  • 1984 Bio Mechanics Inc, founded
  • 1985 Robert Abel and Associates, "Brilliance" commercial uses "digital rotoscoping"
  • 1985 Sun-1 computer takes 17 hours to compute 8 points from 4 cameras on 3-second trial
  • 1986 Ascension founded
  • 1988 Polhemus, 3Space digitizer (single channel)
  • 1988 Dotcomix (then Protozoa), "Mike the Talking Head" puppeteered with hand controller
  • 1988 Pacific Data Images, Jim Henson’s "Waldo C. Graphic" puppeteered with mechanical arm
  • 1988+ Pacific Data Images, lightweight plastic exoskeleton using potentiometers
  • 1989 First CG movie created using passive optical 'Don't Touch Me',Kleizer Walzac,Motion Analysis
  • 1990 Northern Digital, Optotrak 3020
  • 1990 First TV commercial created using passive optical body motion capture, superfluo BTS ELITE
  • 1990 First Feature film - Total Recall - Motion Analysis
  • 1990 Ascension, Bird (single channel magnetic)
  • 1991 Ascension, Flock of Birds
  • 1991 Second Feature film to feature motion capture - Lawnmower Man
  • 1992 Sim Graphics?, Mario, “Face Waldo” mechanical face-tracker glued to performer’s skin
  • 1992 First TV commercial created using face and body optical capture, superfluo BTS ELITE
  • 1992 First Music Video creates using passive optical - Peter Gabriel, Steam
  • 1992 Motion Reality demonstrates single character realtime body capture
  • 1993-4 Stan Winston Studio & ILM, Dinosaur Input Device digital stop-motion armature
  • 1993 Acclaim, SIGGRAPH ’93, 2-character animation, 100+ passive markers, proprietary system
  • 1994 Motion-Analysis, first sale to entertainment market (US game developer)
  • 1994 Polhemus, Fas Track?
  • 1994 Digital Image Design, The Monkey 2 digital stop-motion armature
  • 1994 Analogus founded
  • 1994 Motion Analysis introduces the head-mounted Face Tracker facial capture system
  • 1994 Charynwood Dynamics, CODA mpx30 active marker system
  • 1995 First video game created using passive optical, Namco, Soul Edge
  • 1995 Vicon, 370e system, first system sold to Jim Henson's Creature Shop
  • 1995 First use of motion capture to drive animatronics and cg simultaneously at Jim Hensons Creature Shop, Mary Reilly
  • 1995 Motion-Analysis, Segro, solves translation data to skeleton rotation on scaling limbs
  • 1995 Ascension, Motion Star?
  • 1995 Puppetworks founded
  • 1996 Motion Reality demonstrates 6 person optical realtime
  • 1996 Analogus, Animatton
  • 1996 Motion-Analysis, Mocap Solver, translation data to rigid skeleton
  • 1996 Motion-Analysis, auto-marker labelling software
  • 1997 Puppetworks, The Puppet digital stop-motion armature
  • 1997 First Live action and Motion Capture TV show, Jim Hensons Creature Shop, Merlin
  • 1997 Ascension, Motion Star Wireless
  • 1997 First live action movie to feature facial capture,Lost in Space, Motion Analysis
  • 1997 Analogus, Gypsy
  • 1997 First all CG TV show made using magnetic motion capture - medialab, Donkey Kong Country
  • 1997 Natural Point? Founded
  • 1998 Puppetworks, Body Tracker
  • 1998 Analogus, Gypsy 2
  • 1998 First all CG tv show made using passive optical - Motion Analysis, 'Voltron'
  • 1998 Vicon, Vicon 8 system, first system sold to Industrial Light and Magic
  • 1998 Motion-Analysis, real time output
  • 1999 Dual 450 M Hz? Pentium computes 70 markers from 10 cameras in real-time
  • 1999 Vicon, Vicon 8 rt, real time output
  • 1999 Modern Cartoons captures face, body and hand capture of multiple talent
  • 1999 PTI Phoeni X? Technologies, Visualeyez VS-2000 introduced
  • 2000 Motion-Analysis develops 32 camera passive optical system
  • 2000 Vicon, M series camera with 1,000 by 1,000 pixel resolution
  • 2000 Motion Analysis Eagle digital cameras introduced
  • 2001 Final Fantasy 'The Spirits Within' is released
  • 2001 Peter Jackson brings Golem to life for 'Lord Of the Rings' Trilogy
  • 2001 Naturalpoint introduces Track IR? headtracker
  • 2001 Motion Analysis demonstrates realtime capture for multiple talent
  • 2001 Image Metrics introduces markerless facial capture
  • 2004 Vicon / Sony develops 64 camera passive optical system capable of face and body simultaneously
  • 2004 Robert Zemeckis shoots 'Polar Express'
  • 2004 Naturalpoint launches optitrack desktop motion capture system
  • 2004 Giant demonstrates 10 person realtime capabilities
  • 2005 Motion Analysis, Giant and Vicon awarded academy award for motion capture achievements
  • 2006 Organic Motion incorporated
  • 2006 ILM develops I Motion? system for 'Pirates Of the Caribean Dead Mans Chest'
  • 2006 Motion Analysis demonstrates 10 person realtime optical capture
  • 2006 Vicon / Sony develops 200 camera optical system
  • 2006 Gil Keenan and Robert Zemeckis shoot 'Monster House'
  • 2006 Japanese develop Robot Suit HAL,a wearable cyborg-suit/robot
  • 2006 Motion Capture Movie 'Renaissance' is released
  • 2007 Naturalpoint introduces Arena Body capture
  • 2007 Vicon / Sony develops 238 camera optical system
  • 2007 Mova surface capture system introduced
  • 2007 'Happy Feet' wins Best Animated Oscar
  • 2007 Vicon demonstrates ten person realtime body capture
  • 2007 Xsens Moven inertial suit introduced
  • 2007 Image Movers Digital founded.
  • 2007 Organic Motion introduces 'open stage' markerless body capture
  • 2007 James Cameron shoots 'Avatar'.
  • 2008 Vicon introduces 16 megapixel T160 cameras
  • 2008 Raytheon Sarcos XOS wearable exoskeleton debuts
  • 2008 Motion Analysis 150 camera three person realtime system developed
  • 2008 Robert Zemeckis shoots 'Christmas Carol'
  • 2009 District 9 - mocap used for 'Prawn' characters
  • 2009 Military unveils the HULC un-tethered, hydraulic-powered wearable anthropomorphic exoskeleton
  • 2009 Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson shoot first of three Tintin movies
  • 2009 Robert Zemeckis shoots 'Mars Needs Moms'
  • 2010 Motion Analysis announces Raptor cameras and 'shoot outside' capabilities
  • 2011 Real Steel - mocap used for fighting robots
  • 2011 John Carter Warlord of Mars
  • 2011 Ceasar:Rise of the Apes - mocap used for apes
  • 2011 Green Lantern - mocap used for suits and characters