Performance Capture

Artificial intelligence (AI)

The usage of computers and algorithms to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making processes of humans. Artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques can be used to process performance capture data and apply it to a digital character with markedly different anatomy.


A loopable sequence of movements. Can be used to depict a virtual character’s walk or other repeatable actions.


A data capture device used to collect performance capture data from physical inputs, such as camera rigs, jibs, drones, etc.

Facial capture

The capture of facial expression using a head mounted camera or other methods; a part of performance capture.

Facial performance replacement (FPR)

A form of facial capture intended to replace an original facial performance while retaining the original body performance.

Fiducial marker

A reference object visible to an imaging system such as a camera, for tracking purposes, such as motion capture.

Four-dimensional (4D) capture

A recording of a performance from multiple angles over a period of time. Typically using a synchronized array of cameras, lights, and sensors surrounding the subject. See also volumetric capture.

Four-dimensional space (4D)

The space in which a 3D object or person captured using volumetric techniques is represented.

Hand capture

Capture of 3D hand movements using gloves with sensors, haptics, or visually; a form of performance capture.

Head tracking

The method used by a head-mounted display to project the correct image by tracking a user’s head movements via gyroscopes, sensors, cameras, etc.

Head-mounted camera (HMC)

A special camera rig designed to capture an actor’s facial performance.

Jerk and Jounce

Derivatives of acceleration and sometimes important issues to filter out when doing motion control.

Motion capture (Mocap)

The process of recording 3D movement and applying that information to virtual characters, props, and cameras.

Motion capture suit

A special costume with sensors used to capture human performance movement to puppeteer virtual characters. Sensor types include retro-reflective markers for optical tracking and inertial motion sensors.

Motion data

The raw data derived from performance capture for use in visual effects, blocking, visualization, etc.

Motion processing

The clean-up of raw motion capture performances to eliminate errors or artifacts from the original capture.

Motion study

The observation and analysis of the motion of an object or character to aid in reproducing it virtually.

Performance capture

A combination of techniques used to capture an actor’s entire performance, including facial expressions, head, hands, and body position.


A pre-production motion capture session used for motion studies and to help guide previs.


The application of performance capture data to a CG character’s skeleton; can be used to convert motion captured such as from a human to a larger character.


The process of converting motion captured at one rate to another; useful for synchronizing mocap captured in different sessions or deriving slow-motion or high-speed frame rate effects for virtual shots.


A 1:1 correspondence between a physical space and a virtual environment.


The feeling of immersion within a virtual environment when using an HMD.

Virtual character

A humanoid, animal, or other living creature whose animated movements are created in real-time via the input of a human operator via performance capture.

Virtual rapid prototyping (VRP)

A previs process which leverages virtual production techniques, and enables a small crew to plan, shoot and edit sequences in real-time using actors in mocap suits.


A category of markered props used for aligning physical sets/objects to virtual counterparts; can be used to drive static non-markered objects within a volume.

Zulu set

A physical set or prop designed for actors to interact with and stand in as a proxy for a virtual asset. Sometimes built at different scales to accommodate for major size differences in actor to character. This term was coined and still in use by the Avatar team; also referred...