Sunday, July 02, 2006

Advanced Wire Work with Motor Curve Generation

Hi folks,

It's been awhile and I know I’ve kept the four of you waiting but hey the early bird catches the worm and doesn’t always have time to update the blog. Today’s post is something new, as the title states we’re going to talk about wire work in movies.


I love advanced special FX and this is a topic I’ve long studied especially in the advent of the Americanization of Chinese martial arts movies, such as; “Crouching Tiger,” “Kung Fu Hustle” etc.

Watching these movies is more a hobby than entertainment for me because I have to figure out what I see. Most of today’s movies use a mix of blue screen and wirework to simulate “additional environmental collisions” and the like….. I digress, back to the topic.

Most movies have trouble with one particular thing in the use of wires for fights and climbing, etc.

There needs to be a motor curve worked out for each individual or an active lookup algorithm based on various physical maneuvers, so that differences in “active feedback” on the cable erase the appearance of “floating.”



I’m thinking about moving this kind of thing to a website because I hate not having active image references on Blogger – I have to link to another site – maybe one of you three can tell me how to access images with “root HTML.”

I’m working on a new website and I may try to squeeze in some features that allow for image storage.




This technique is slightly harder to implement though because it requires a “track” to run the engine on, but two cranes with two pulleys connected to either end of an IBeam, tracks can be made for “linear” action – meaning that a secondary beam structure would need to be added to allow for perpendicular movement.

But by adding a second “cam” to the X Axis mechanism it would then be possible to add a third “rotational axis” to allow characters to move farther than contact where contact is the zero point in relative coordinates.

I guess studies like these led to advances in “blue screen positioning of CGI objects” but that would make actors into “voices.”



Don’t know if that would be a bad thing.



Anyway, such a device could be scaled to fit small spaces by using an I beam framework instead of relying on cranes for support, though cranes would help with “aerial maneuvers” like those in the last Matrix.


Blue screening using this technique would definitely have helped with the SpiderMan 2 climax on the subway. I was left flat by their mixture of live action and CGI.



I need to get a good 3D app like MicroStation but that’s a bit much. Guess I’ll have to cough up $600 for one of the lower priced ones – too bad I can’t get the student rate anymore.




As I’m writing this I seem to have “visualized” a more compact version that would enable large groups in one scene on a coordinated group of “motor wire assemblies,” hey that could be patented – anyone got a couple grand burning a whole in their pocket?

The basis of the mechanism is that you have to do tests of “height displacement” using a multi-axis solid bar that registers these differences. Certain movements would use a single bar (only height changes or rotation around the perpendicular axis of connection) and certain movements would use two bars connected for the parallel axis range.

The second mechanism allows for additional points of connection along the body for flight scenes. Since this condition allows – necessitates – more connection points motors can be made smaller and connected in pairs. With a second level of resistance it would be possible to “balance the “shoulder and ankle” connections and move the ankle connection closer to the body and the shoulder connection farther to enable close quarters between two “flyers,” while enabling the same type of “free-movement”

Anyway, that’s the gist of today’s topic. Hopefully, someone will see it…..

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