Palo Alto: 3D Inertial Motion Capture of Horse in Motion

The old man would have liked this, and on his home turf too – just 133 years or so since he captured stereoscopic sequence images of a horse in free motion. (Not 2D, as stated in this article.)

From: Computer Graphics World

‘Xsens, Rothschild Fund Achieve 3D Inertial Motion Capture of Horse in Motion
Category: News
16-Aug-2011
Palo Alto, Calif. – Xsens, a supplier of 3D motion tracking systems, and the Rothschild Fund have accomplished what is being called the world’s first 3D inertial motion capture of a free-moving horse.

The joint project of Xsens and the Rothschild Fund was completed using an advanced prototype system developed by Xsens to enable 3D motion capture of equine locomotion in real-world conditions. The system employs inertial sensors located on the horse’s body and GPS to trackfull-body motion in any environment, indoors and outdoors, allowing the horse’s innate, voluntary movements to be recorded and viewed on a standard PC in real-time.

Xsens’ R&D Team accepted the challenge of developing the prototype, an inertial motion capture system for horses, as an inspiring and out-of-the box project. The aim was to push the boundaries of its MVN inertial motion capture technology, requiring integration with GPS position and velocity tracking, a more complex biomechanical model, and higher motion dynamics.

“We loved the challenge of pushing our technology beyond the state-of-art and to be part of the great ambition of the Rothschild Fund. They provided the equine biomechanical models, equine knowledge, and the horses, so we could focus on the challenge in the sensor fusion,” Henk Luinge (PhD), research manager at Xsens, explains.

Members of Xsens’ R&D Team and the Rothschild Fund performed the world’s-first 3D inertial motion capture of a horse’s gallop in Woodside, Calif. The location is less than 15 kilometers from the site of Leland Stanford’s Palo Alto racetrack where the famous photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, recorded the world’s-first 2D photographic motion capture of a horse’s trot 130 years ago.

“Study of equine locomotion for the past century has remained predominantly laboratory experimentation, in which horses are confined in a controlled environment with stationary cameras,” explains Chris Hart (PhD), a research associate of the Rothschild Fund. “Our goal was to capture the horse’s motions, without capturing the horse.  Remarkably, Xsens, the one company capable of the technical innovation, was also the one company that shared our interest in free-moving horses.”

The “MVN Equine” prototype will be used by the Rothschild Fund to further current understanding of horses and was recently presented to peers at the International Society of Biomechanics Equine SIG in Brussels, July 2011. The technology could also potentially be used to animate equine computer characters for visual effects in a large film production without the need to bring horses into a motion-capture studio.’

http://www.cgw.com/Press-Center/News/2011/Xsens-Rothschild-Fund-Achieve-3D-Inertial-Motion.aspx

More on this, in relation to historical precedents, soon.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Walking + Falling

Eadweard Muybridge, Plate from Animal Locomotion, 1887, collotype. Private Collection, Vancouver


Muybridge’s photographs have featured in several recent exhibitions, including one that’s just opened in Vancouver, Canada. The website of Vancouver Art Gallery has the details.

WALKING + FALLING
JIM CAMPBELL, CHRIS MARKER AND EADWEARD MUYBRIDGE
April 2 to September 5, 2011

“Walking + Falling presents the work of three notable artists who have utilized new media to explore and represent complex notions of time, movement and memory.

Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) was an English photographer whose sequential images of human and animal locomotion were the product of a groundbreaking scientific study and an artistic vision that evoked a lyrical sense of time and movement.

Chris Marker is a French filmmaker who is renowned for his work in a variety of photobased media. His 1962 film La Jetée is widely regarded as a compelling meditation on time and memory. Marker’s film occupies a liminal zone between photography and film, documentary and fiction, past and future, real and imagined, stillness and movement.

Based in San Francisco, artist Jim Campbell draws deeply on the history of photo-based imaging to produce what may be best described as a newly emerging post-photographic practice. Trained at MIT Labs in Boston, Campbell has created several new bodies of work that use computer software, electronic components and programming language to produce provocative images of contemporary life.

Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Bruce Grenville, senior curator.”

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

‘Muybridge, Movement and Me’ project

One of the many varied and excellent projects that have been taking place in Kingston this past year is “Muybridge, Movement and Me” – and the results are now being uploaded onto the website www.muybridge.co.uk


“A group ranging from experienced artists to complete beginners was drawn together in the winter of 2010-11 by Kingston Museum to produce a response to the Muybridge Revolutions exhibition at the Museum.

Working alongside photographer Crispin Hughes, filmmaker Susi Arnott and the Museum’s Learning and Access Officer Caroline Burt, the group studied photography and time lapse techniques. Using inexpensive compact stills cameras, each member produced work on the cusp between still and moving images. Their work uses Muybridge’s techniques and themes of time and movement to explore their lives in Kingston, London.

This site will be updated every week as new work is produced by the group.
An exhibition of the group’s work will be on show at the Stanley Picker Gallery in Kingston 12-26th March.”

When you get to the website, you can download the exhibition poster shown below, and click PROCESS to see the first pieces from the group.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

More new art across the media

In part due to the huge exposure that Muybridge and his work has had this past year, new artworks continue to proliferate across the media – dance, photography, painting, music, theatre, video – on YouTube, blogs, exhibitions ….. some derivative, some innovative. I like these two pieces. The first is a collage by Carolyn Brady and appears on Flickr. (To see Carolyn’s work on Flickr, search “vintagepix”).

(c) Carolyn Brady

And this ‘book’ on YouTube, by “msbrittknees” is great fun…….

And I don’t know whether it’s supposed to be, but the BBC’s “The Weird World of Eadweard Muybridge” is on YouTube too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw9Qav9J46U

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Weird Adventures airs on BBC tv

Andy Serkis. Photo (c) BBC

Apart from re-enactments in a 1960s US programme introduced by Ronald Reagan, Eadweard Muybridge as a character of considerable importance in the story of the creation and recording of the modern world has been absent from television. The Weird Adventures of Eadweard Muybridge is the first programme to attempt to tell the full story. It does touch on most aspects, leaving out the bits with very little visual material – the five years spent as a bookseller in New York, totally avoided in the commentary – and his various activities during the five ‘lost years’ back in Europe in the 60s. But for a one-hour programme, it packs a lot in.

Philip Brookman talks with Alan Yentob. Photo (c) BBC

The talking heads include Philip Brookman, whose exhibition in Washington did so much to introduce Muybridge to a wider public; author Rebecca Solnit, in splendid hat, musing on Muybridge in San Francisco as she wanders through the harbour; print collector Michael Wilson marvelling at the artistry of the travel photographs; Jonathan Miller not getting it at all, and insisting that Muybridge was simply an entertainer; recent biographer and long-time chronophotography specialist Marta Braun talking about the Animal Locomotion sequences; art curator Ann Dumas of the Royal Academy of Arts explaining the connection with the ballet dancers of Degas; and Kingston Museum curator Peta Cook introducing the sacred scrapbook, and zoopraxiscope discs.

A nice touch was Stanford Red Barn (Palo Alto) horse trainer Rachel Williamson confirming that the 1870s horse photos are still used today in the equestrian world.

Rachel Williamson. Photo (c) BBC

I got my fair share of the running time, mostly talking about the complexities of the image projections at a Muybridge lecture, and I also managed to get the last word in. [voice from across the room – “you always do…”]

‘Andy Serkis as Muybridge’ said the blurb, and he appeared reading Muybridge’s own words, wearing just a hint of period costume, but no stick-on beard. Serkis was also one of the expert talking heads, since he’s very familiar with the subject, having been developing a Muybridge feature film project for some years. And of course, he’s best known for being Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy – his physical image altered by CG techniques, in a modern development of the motion capture and image manipulation used by Muybridge for converting his photo sequences to painted animations.

No recent news on the feature movie, but perhaps it will happen someday.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Flying horses to Avatar

Flying horses to Avatar – Eadweard Muybridge comes home to Kingston


http://www.kingston.ac.uk/pressoffice/news/134/19-10-2010-flying-horses-to-avatar—eadweard-muybridge-comes-home-to-kingston.html

For a succinct guide to the Muybridge in Kingston project, it’s well worth spending 13 minutes viewing the new video featuring David Falkner, Director of the Stanley Picker Gallery.

“Kingston University and Kingston Museum have teamed up to run a major programme of events and activities promoting Eadweard Muybridge. This coincides with the first significant retrospective of the famous photographer’s work arriving at Tate Britain from the Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC.

David Falkner … believes that, in 2010, Muybridge’s work is more relevant than ever. In this interview he explains how Muybridge’s experiments have direct links to modern films such as Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and The Matrix.”

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

From Muybridge to The Matrix

Professor Anil Kokaram

I’ve previously mentioned Muybridge’s TimeSlice or Bullet Time sequences, now there’s a short video explaining the 20th and 21st century developments of creating extra frames when using this technique for movie making. These extra frames are necessary because it’s difficult to position a sufficient number of bulky cameras in the necessary circle to photograph the required number of positions to give a smooth result on the screen. Having developed this ‘artificial inbetweening’ method, Professor Anil Kokaram of Trinity College, Dublin (whose previous work has involved image restoration of old films), explains how it can also be used to produce artificial inbetweens for any movie sequence, making it possible to produce slow-motion movie sequences in post-production, from footage shot at normal speed. http://videos.wittysparks.com/id/240417892

Professor Kokaram states that Muybridge used engineers from the University of Pennsylvania (1884-85) to produce the necessary “kit” (exposure devices), but in fact Muybridge’s experiments in “Bullet Time” started before his involvement with the University. An article in the New York Times in 1881 (February 19) entitled ‘Instant photography; results of the California experiments’ described an earlier 5-camera ”Bullet Time” session (1878 or 1879).

“Mr. Muybridge, once in the studio of Mr. Perry, watched with interest the artist endeavoring to outline the picture of a California coach and four. He had Mr Muybridge’s pictures as a guide. But these were broadside views, and he wanted a quartering view. Mr Muybridge hastened back to Palo Alto, arranged five cameras in a semicircle and concentrating upon one point, galloped a horse over the point where the electric current was completed, and produced a perfect picture of a horse at fullest speed, as seen from five different points of view, all at the same instant of time and while, of course, the horse was in one and the same position. Now, an artist with these pictures as guides can draw a horse in any position desired.”

To go back to the video – Anil Kokaram’s explanation of Muybridge’s contribution is incomplete. He emphasizes the familiar motion sequences of a horse – “it’s pretty complicated – it’s got wires and stuff” –  and mentions multiple camera positions (used in many of Muybridge’s sequences) but the video doesn’t make it too clear that his subjects shot with a semi-circle of cameras – and with just one instantaneous, simultaneous moment when all shutters were released – produced a sequence showing a single frozen moment in time, unlike the majority of his sequences which recorded a progressive movement.

Sequence from Plate 524

This was a deliberate experiment in multi-position capture of a single moment in time – exactly the same as the TimeSlice and Bullet Time camera technique used in the past two or three decades. This can be seen in the plate shown by Kokaram, Plate 524 from Animal Locomotion (Throwing water from a bucket, Descending a step, Ascending a step, and Playing lawn tennis) and other plates, including 527 (Spanking a child, from three positions), 528 (Carrying a child, Walking with a child in hand, Running with a child in hand), and Plate 522 (Jumping, Handspring, Somersault, Springing over a man’s back). Each of these uses five or six cameras set in a semi-circle and fired simultaneously. As my previous post explains, Tim Macmillan, originator of TimeSlice (predecessor to Bullet Time) was unaware that Muybridge had taken such simultaneous views.

Sequence from Plate 528

It would be interesting to see these specific Muybridge sequences given the ingenious treatment developed by Professor Kokaram and his colleagues – which would enable us to see Muybridge’s original experiments with “Bullet Time” improved by creating interpolated inbetweens, to give a smooth sequence, rather than the jerky result created by the limitations of using only five or six cameras.

Two sequences from Plate 522

 

Anil Kokaram won an Academy Award in 2007 for his development of visual effects software for the film industry.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert