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Avatar Shoot Instructions

There are two parts of the avatar shoot: first, you need to 3D scan the body and head to create a 3D model of your character. This can be done in a volumetric scanning booth, or with a handheld structured light scanner. Second, you will need to capture the facial performance of the character, this is to record an animation file and the fine details of your character's facial expression and speech. This is done with a Head Mounted Camera (HMC). Additionally, one can opt to do simultaneous full-body motion capture to animate the body. Alternatively, there are low-cost procedural body animation options like Mixamo. 

how to capture facial performanc

Capture the facial performance

For the facial performance capture you will need ​a Head Mounted Camera We recommend the Faceware Mark IV with the 4.3 distortion free lense.

1: Lighting Seated


We recommend recording a master of all your performance.

Sit your character down on a chair, for optimal stability and comfort.

Make the lighting as flat as possible, ie- large surface area, soft lighting.

2: Camera setup


The camera needs to have the tightest lens, the 4.3 mm with the faceware set up. 


The camera needs to be as far away from the face as the rods allow, (use the longest rods)

Frame rate: 24p or 30p

Format: Prores422

Shutter speed: 1/100  shutter speed or faster 

3: Camera position


The camera needs to be centred to the tip of the nose. 

Ensure the camera angle is low enough to get the inside of the mouth

Use rods that keep the camera minimum 10" from the tip of the nose.


Check periodically to make sure the camera hasn’t sunk.

On a sheet of acetate draw out the below template ensuring the eyes and mouth fall within the blue zone as indicated below. It is very important to have the camera far enough away from the face to ensure the mouth and eyes fall within the distortion-free centre of the lens. If you have used the longest rods you have in your kit and the face is still outside the blue zones, your rods are not long enough. 

Face 3.001.jpeg

4: Performance (seated)


Keep the head as still as possible when performing. 


The script can be placed past the HMC. Make sure the subject looks past the HMC camera, not at the camera. Otherwise, the subject will appear cross eyed. 

5: Mocap shots


For shots to be synced with body mocap:


Use a light-weight ring light. with additional light strips on the rods.


Watch for camera shake and droop.

6: Checkerboard


Shoot a checkerboard to track distortion.

7: Macbeth


Shoot a Macbeth to calibrate your camera

8: Texture reference


Shoot some high-resolution static shots of the subject in a neutral pose, eyes open and eyes closed.

9: ROM poses


It is recommended that you capture a series of range of motion (ROM) poses to build a shared pose library in Faceware, this will accelerate your automated animation analyzing. An example of recommended poses can be seen here:

10: Slate


It is highly recommended that you slate your shots in case the time code gives you any syncing issues in the post production.


Especially when creating mocap shots together with facial performance video, a simple audio cue will save you a lot of trouble.

A close pin can be used to audio slate the HMC

11: Neutral pose


It is important to start and finish each facial performance clip on the Neutral Pose: no expression, mouth closed.  This is necessary so that you can create seamless transitions between your character's different facial animations.

how to scan your character

How to Scan your Character

You can create a 3D scan of the head and body using either a structured light scanner such as the Peel Scanner, or a studio equipped with a scanning booth (photogrammetry).

It is possible to create an avatar from just one single scan in neutral pose, but for optimal results, it is recommended that you scan a set of facial poses, see reference document:
Facial Poses List.pdf

The facial poses are then used to create the various blendshapes

Peel Scanner 

The Peel scanner is a professional 3D scanner that is easy to use. 

Scanning Booth

For more precise scans, you can use a more advanced system for 3D scanning, such as the ESPER LightCage.

best practises or motion captue

Best Practises for Motion Capture

Simultaneous facial and motion capture of the body is possible but it is important to produce as stable as possible HMC footage. Beware that big physical movements such as in fight scenes may cause HMC footage stabilization issues. Therefore we recommend you record a safety backup pass of all dialogue, seated.

We recommend the Rokoko suit for the motion capture of your character. 

ANDREW: do we need to insert  tech specs? 

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