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Thread: ping pong ball suit possibility?

  1. #1

    Default ping pong ball suit possibility?

    Hi guys i was just wondering, i saw the making of the lord of the rings movie on the weekend and they were using one of those blue suits with heaps of white balls on them. ne way i was wondering if i could make one with like a ping pong balled suit in front of a blue screen and then key it out so it just leavs the ping pong balls and use a program to join up all the ping pong balls and track my movment and build a cg charcter out of it?????
    is somthing like that possible??
    does ne one know of ne programs that could support somthing like this??

    cheers ben704

  2. #2


    Moving you to the After Effects forum - most likely to get a response here
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  3. #3


    This is possible but very complicated, if your a 3Dnoob forget it.

    You will need: A 3D graphics app such as Maya or 3dStudioMax as well as motion tracking/capture software. Not cheap!

    You need to build your character in your 3d app, motion track the keyed out balls - apply the motion vectors to the joints of your character- very difficult.

    In a film like LOTR they develop their own software and scripts to handle this sort of thing, there may be an app/plugin available to automate some of the process I'm not sure.

    Your better off amimating your character by hand or use predifined motion templates. However the ping-pong trick works great for adding control/reference points to rooms/spaces in wich you want your animated character to exist.


  4. #4
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  5. #5


    I still think what your trying to do is virtually impossible without mega-bucks and specialist equipment.

    If you just film a guy will ping pong balls stuck to them and key out the balls you still only end up with balls moving in 2d space (ie on screen).

    What you need is information about where the balls are in 3D space, to achieve this you need a motion capture studio which uses laser grids or gyroscopic sensors.

    Remember LOTR spent millions, won oscars and broke new ground with the animation of Gollum, a far cry from a PC a DV cam and some pingpong balls!

    I'm not tring to dishearten you I just think you should concentrate your efforts elsewhere - You can build and animate a 3d character to incorporate into your vid no probs, why do you need to motion capture?


  6. #6


    check here for more info on why you wont be able to do it and to point out the inaccuracies in my previous reply!


  7. #7

    Default oh well

    thankx for your help ne way im still probably gona give it a go cause i wont be able to rest until i try. lol i spose it was abit of a high hope to try and do what the crew at lord of the rings did with just a dv camera and a suit made of ping pong balls. lol
    cheers ben704


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