DisneyResearch|Studios Receives Sci-Tech Academy Award for Medusa Capture System
On Saturday, February 9, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized DisneyResearch|Studios with the prestigious Technical Achievement Award for the Medusa performance capture system. Medusa captures facial movements at a high level of accuracy, without the need for markers or makeup. It is also currently considered to be the state-of-the-art in facial performance capture. Furthermore, production studios have used Medusa to capture hundreds of actors for blockbuster movies. Some of the films it has been used on inlcude the latest installments of the Star Wars saga and Avengers: Infinity War. On these films Medusa was instrumental for creating iconic characters such as Hulk and Thanos. The Academy honored four individuals at DisneyResearch|Studios that developed Medusa for their contributions to the technology. These individuals include Thabo Beeler, Derek Bradley, Bernd Bickel and Markus Gross.
“Medusa has dramatically improved the creation of believable digital human characters,” said Gross, vice president, Research, for The Walt Disney Studios. “It is the result of years of hard work and demonstrates that continuous investment into research and technology innovation is essential to retain the magic of the stories we tell.”
Medusa Performance Capture System
The Medusa performance capture system does away with the use of traditional motion-capture dots. It uses a mobile rig of cameras and lights, along with proprietary software, to reconstruct actors’ faces in full motion. The end results are high-resolution 3-D faces, with the ability to track individual pores and wrinkles over time. It also enables filmmakers to create extremely realistic digital doubles for visual effects and computer games. The clip below provides a glimpse into the “super” range of emotions Medusa produces. Furthermore, it makes it possible to bring to life computer-generated characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and in films from Lucasfilm, Disney live-action and more.
During the February 9 ceremony, the Academy also presented Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull, Pixar Research Group Lead (emeritus) Tony DeRose and Jos Stam with the Scientific and Engineering Award for the impact their work has had on the way digital artists represent 3-D geometry throughout the motion picture industry.
Visual Effects Society
Earlier in the week, more Medusa system movie magic was celebrated at the 17th Annual VES Awards. These awards recognizes outstanding visual effects artistry and innovation in film, animation, television, commercials, video games and special venues. Avengers: Infinity War received VES Awards for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature and Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature. They also received Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature and Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature.
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