Can you use a Leap Motion controller to model in Maya?

We gave one to two modellers from MPC to find out.

The Leap Motion controller is best described as a Microsoft Kinect for your desk. It allows you to control your desktop or laptop by making gestures in the air – pushing and pulling, swiping and flicking like an interpretive chair dancer.

As with the Kinect, the initial applications developed for it were games, but we’re starting to see it being pushed in exciting new directions such as allowing you to manipulate and explore 3D worlds and models – even the anatomy of spiders if you like, though we could see this being more widely used for human anatomy. You can sculpt as you were working in clay and animate puppets like virtual marionettes.

We were intrigued about the possibilities of this for professional CG work, so we invited two 3D artists from London-based visual effects company MPC to the Digital Arts studio to see what they made of it. Joaquin Gutierrez and Patrick Harbourn (below) are 3D modellers whose previous work includes the zombies of World War Z, and are currently working on Hollywood’s latest reboot of Godzilla, which is out in May.

After warming up with a few games, we let Patrick and Joaquin try out the Leap Motion on a beta plug-in that lets it work with Autodesk Maya. Watch the video above to see what they made of it.

Photography and video: Dominik Tomaszewski

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