I first saw “Traces” (the above video) over a year ago, and I remember that when I did, I was simultaneously impressed with the technology and disappointed that the artwork created by the shoes was not as representative of the dancer’s movement as it could have been. There’s something to be said for an abstract interpretation, obviously, but I wished there had been more than just circles, lines, and clumps. One reason that “Traces” looks this way is, of course, that its data comes from sensors in the dancer’s shoes rather than external motion capture. This is very impressive, but limits the motion recorded to just that of the feet.
For my project, I hope to create plotter artwork that is similar in style but different in appearance, because I want to use the whole body as the basis for the brush strokes. Ideally, I want to analyze which four or five joints on the body move the most in a portion of BVH data, and then have the plotter paint only those. In this way, I think the artwork will more closely resemble the motion of the dancer/person than if I painted only the hands and feet (or any fixed set of points). For example, in a pirouette, the dancer’s spinning knee would be more worth painting than her fairly stationary foot. I’ll see if I can find a way of effectively choosing which joints to paint using only code.
Here is another video that I discovered more recently. Unlike “Traces,” the software here doesn’t generate 2D images, but rather it makes a variety of animated shapes that it places on top of the video of the dancer. This isn’t quite what my project will be doing, but I think it uses similar technology, and I really like the end result. You’ll notice that several of the animations only involve select points on the body.