Access to New Technology Pushes Creative Possibilities for CCS’s Entertainment Arts Students

May 9, 2023

David Gazdowicz working with a student on the computer

The acquisition of three Rokoko Suits is the latest example of how the College for Creative Studies is at the forefront of access to industry-level technology.

The purchase of the Rokoko Smart Suit II was made possible by the support from an Epic MegaGrant, received from Epic Games, who through the program has committed to accelerating the work of creative, noteworthy and innovative projects built around Unreal Engine or that enhance the 3D graphics ecosystem. Two of the suits will be used in the Entertainment Arts department and one suit will be used in the MFA Transportation Design department. 

The Rokoko Smart Suit II is a suit that captures your body’s motion and streams the data over WiFi in real-time to digital characters. The technology is similar to what is used in feature film, game and other industry processes that allow an actor’s performance to be captured as a 3D representation. The Entertainment Arts department is also integrating face capture technology that will allow for detailed face tracking to capture a performer’s facial gestures and emotion.   

The first two students to try out this new technology are Entertainment Arts student Eric Le and Film student Jordan Sain, who worked on an independent project during the Winter semester. The students were able to slip into the suits, calibrate in seconds and start recording. 

Chair of the Entertainment Arts department, David Gazdowicz sees the suits enhancing the student experience whether the student is focusing on animation or game. Motion capture technology has been around for a long time, but we are in a great position to utilize the techniques through powerful tools such as Unreal Engine. Technology moves fast, and being able to demonstrate, first hand, new tools that can help students ideate, create and tell stories is imperative.”  

Looking toward the future, Gazdowicz sees multi department use of the Rokoko Suits. “Entertainment Arts, Game Design and Animation as well as the Film department are eager to jump in and get these suits integrated into their workflows. Film and Entertainment Arts will be running a special topics course in Winter ‘24 that will focus on virtual production, and this technology will be introduced along with other techniques to expand students’ understanding of new and emerging film production pipelines.”