Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Bridging the Gaps 5

Translating human motion into sculptural form

This element of the project entailed capturing the kinesis of a human body using a motion capture suite. In this case, an athlete replicated the hammer throw, during which the linear motion of 42 body parts were recorded. Once the capture data was cleaned in Vicon X software, it was imported to Motion Builder for conversion into an FBX file. This was imported into Maya, where a particle was attached to each locator (matching the original motion capture marker). Thereafter, a plugin was used to generate a trace curve based on the motion of each marker moving in space over time.

This resulted in a series of dynamic curves that describe the complete motion of the athlete through the throw, from start to finish. These, it may be observed, are not necessarily likely to be curves that one would design from scratch. Naturally, there was considerable difference between the linear motion of the heal and toe when compared to that of each hand. The resulting curves were then used to produce a series of sculptural forms. These included: Finally, a lofted surface was developed from the exterior silhouette of all the curves by Matt Price.

Lofts across adjacent curves – left hand to right hand etc

Simple extrusions along all the curves

Piped extrusions of expanding diameter along a selection of curves

An animated snapshot of a discus form moving along a single curve – the latter also gives an indication of the rhythm and timing of the motion, whereby the more spaced out the discuses are the faster the motion and vice versa.

Video showing the 'sculptures' from multiple viewpoints

Several of the extruded forms were rapid manufactured in nylon and then dyed with dispersive pigments. All of the resulting sculptural forms demonstrate a vitality of movement that evidently stems from the direct capture of human motion. In so doing, the method provides a viable pathway for translating the energy, orientation and speed of motion into form. One, that in due course could include other sporting activities, or for that matter, dance or any kind of motion be it human or mechanical.

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