Computer animation is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was years ago, in large part because of motion capture technology that can map the leaps and bounds of real life people. Motion capture (or "mocap") is the process where the movements of actors are used to map movements in either 2D or 3D computer animation, and it's a field that has revolutionized both the film and video game industries.
Motion capture is one of the most effective ways to collect reality-based movement data in real time. Movies often use motion capture for computer-generated effects and creatures. Performance capture technology, as seen in the blockbuster film Avatar, has forever altered the way directors, actors and animators collaborate to create whole new worlds on screen.
This fascinating technology has also been used in all types of video games to portray movement, from sports games like Madden Football to cinematic, emotion-based games such as the recent smash-hit Heavy Rain.