“Mocap has given me the opportunity to bring in more human narratives into digital art, whilst moving away from the coldness manual animation can have. It allows me to think of digital art in a more cinematic way - when you bring in mocap and camera tracking you suddenly bring the world of cinema in, creating something beautiful with it.” Ben, Studio Dosage
Citing the french illustrator Jean Giraud / Moebius as his idol, Ben of Studio Dosage has a real interest in narrative and sci-fi. With a degree in illustration and experience as a dance music producer, he moved into digital art five years ago.
Ben wanted to collaborate more and was keen that Studio Dosage not be about him as an ego, explaining, “I wanted people to view it as a larger thing than just me. I like to have a degree of separation between myself as a person and the art that I make.”
Studio Dosage has produced work for Selfridges, Universal Records and the BBC.
Ben’s foray into the world of mocap began ‘solo’ as he created the music video Don't Start Now (Yaeji remix) for Dua Lipa, using a body tracking suit from his home. “The workload - the clean up job on top of animating and rendering - was insane,” he reports. Understanding the difficulties of using the medium, he teamed up with Target3D for his next project, the music video for Can't Let You Go by British rapper, Stefflon Don.
Having identified a common theme running through Steff’s music; of her returning to Africa, to Jamaica, that sense of returning to home, Ben extended this with a narrative of Steff 'returning from a dystopian city to her home planet, a tropical paradise' for the rapper’s first fully-CG video.
Ben always starts with a story board, and for this project he worked with the 3D-modellers Bren Castillan & Alice Ares who helped bring the project to life. The planning, the performance capture, the recreation of them as avatars in the full environment, indeed the whole production took just two and a half weeks and was shot in Hoxton’s Studio T3D. Target3D’s Motion Capture Technician, Petros, worked alongside Ben to rig the clothing capture and move the mocap data into Unreal Engine.
“I have a vague aesthetic idea, an idea of the movement but I don’t like to have a fixed vision of what the finished article should look like," explains Ben. "It’s important to not leave everything to the computer."
"Every piece of work is an iteration on the last; a learning narrative. The Stefflon Don piece worked well as an aesthetic dance experience but time and budget constraints meant it was lacking facial mocap.” This was something Ben was keen to work on for his next project…
Collaborating with Elliot Gonzo, the music video for AU/RA tells the story of the German singer as an ‘Undead Girl’ and begins with some incredible facial mocap. Previously knocked down so many times by those around her, the star can now do what she wants - a superhero of sorts who is followed around by zombies.
“I was really happy working with Petros and the Target3D team again, and coming up with a solution for facial mocap. Typically it’s more expensive so harder to convince a client to work with it, but with the Target3D mocap solutions we worked out a way to use pre-rigged characters which were good enough to create some high quality mocap with instead of rigging manually. The solution that we found is a reasonably unique workflow that means that I can make use of facial mocap in a more affordable way.”
Petros De Donker, Target3D Mocap Technician, added “We really enjoyed exploring all the different character and retargeting options with Ben and Elliot for the music videos. It feels as if we've been on a journey with Studio Dosage, learning together, adjusting as we go and continually finding ways to bring the human element to the fore."
There are more creative projects ahead for Ben and Studio Dosage, with the artist keen to stay experimental in his work:
“I’ll continue to use motion capture and tracking to add chaos from the outside world, and to avoid the perfection often associated with digital art.”
For motion capture expertise - in your location or at our studio - speak to Target3D.