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Martial artists push their bodies to super-human levels, and only with NVIDIA Quadro® graphics could we have measured and illustrated it down to the bone and muscle level. NVIDIA technology drove our special effects and allowed us to bring Hollywood firepower to bear on a TV production.

Mickey Stern, Executive Producer of Discovery Channel Xtreme Martial Arts (XMA) documentary for BASE Productions, Inc.

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Film & Entertainment
Nexus Digital Studios and Motion Analysis Studios

Filmmakers and game designers have always relied on the human element, employing artists to create compelling experiences. Today's digital artists require advanced laser scanning and motion capture technologies to bring realistic people and objects to life in 3D digitized worlds. Two of the premiere studios providing scanning and motion capture services to movie houses are Nexus Digital Studios and Motion Analysis Studios (MAS). Both of these companies rely exclusively on NVIDIA® graphics technology to capture the highest photorealistic detail for film-quality results. The Challenge

3D digitized humans were created, detailed down to biomechanically correct skeletons.
The best graphics technology became critical to high-end TV broadcasts such as the Discovery Channel Xtreme Martial Arts (XMA) documentary. This technology also played a critical role in creating feature films such as The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man, and X-Men. The goal was two-fold: to deliver stunning visual imagery of the human body in motion in a way never seen before; and to do so in a biomechanically accurate way, generating data that could be analyzed by scientists as well as animators. To reach these two goals, the studios supporting XMA director John Brenkus would need to use NVIDIA graphics technology.

The Solution

Viewers can see the speed, angle, and lethal reach of a martial artist's moves.
For the Discovery Channel XMA documentary, the studios were asked to create 3D models of martial artists going through a variety of fight sequences. Impossible to view and analyze with the naked eye, the CG segments slow down complex movements and provide insight into precise body motions and the awesome forces behind them. Each martial artist in XMA stepped into Nexus Digital Studios' laser scanner for a 3D body scan. Even though the scan data comprised hundreds of thousands of polygons, NVIDIA technology easily created a real-time 3D image of each martial artist. Next, biomechanically accurate, animated skeletons were scaled to fit the body size of each artist according to their scans. As the artists fought, MAS used digitizing cameras to capture the subtlety and precision of their acrobatic and often deadly moves. The MAS team used particularly sensitive biomechanical devices placed on the artists to capture their body and muscle movements, and the intricate movements of their weapons. MAS used this behavioral data and NVIDIA graphics to bring the 3D body scans to life by imposing natural movement onto the digitized characters.

The Impact

Martial artists in XMA are clad in reflectors, specially configured to feed biomechanically correct data on body and muscle movement to an NVIDIA Quadro FX 3000-powered computer.
The project exceeded the producers' most ambitious expectations. Utilizing NVIDIA technology, the studios were able to focus on their own expertise and talent. The primary reason that Nexus and MAS rely on NVIDIA graphics solutions comes down to capacity and performance. Nexus and MAS demand maximum graphics performance and NVIDIA delivers.

More Information

For more information about Motion Analysis Studios, please visit: //www.mastudios.com.

XMA was produced by BASE Productions, Inc. for the Discovery Channel, John Brenkus, directing.

Images courtesy of Nexus, MAS, and the Discovery Channel.