iYoga Premium is the exciting new application released by 3D4Medical in collaboration with Yoga One, an award-winning yoga studio located in downtown San Diego. Over a year in development, iYoga Premium combines technical anatomic information with precise alignment in over 190 yoga poses. In less than a month, the iYoga Premium application reached the number one spot for best-selling health and fitness applications worldwide on Apple’s app store.
Amy Caldwell, co-founder and head instructor at Yoga One, worked closely with the Scotland-based company 3D4Medical to bring yoga postures (asanas) to life under a detailed anatomical gaze. Using 3D motion capture technology, Caldwell’s movements were recorded as she moved into and out of yoga poses then technicians animated the movements to create a life-like muscular-skeletal avatar.
The journey began with Caldwell donning a motion capture suit covered with electrodes. She was then filmed in 360 degrees on Pendulum’s 2,500 sq/ft optical motion capture stage over a 3-day period where she performed nearly 200 yoga poses. Caldwell who has twice appeared on the cover of Yoga Journal (the number one yoga publication in America) was tasked with executing the poses with optimal anatomical alignment for up to 8 hours a day.
“It was surreal to see my movements in real time displayed on a huge screen,” Caldwell said. “The whole process really reinforced for me that yoga is as much a moving meditation as it is a physical activity. The stage was freezing and the motion capture suit a little constricting. The conditions where challenging to practice yoga, but I quickly got into a rhythm and focused on my breath to stay centered.” Caldwell admits that by the third day she was exhausted but exuberant about the project’s future. “It was such a unique experience and the technicians at Pendulum were very professional and helpful.”
The next step for Caldwell was to identify the muscles as they contracted and stretched in each and every pose. 3D4Medical is a leading medical visualization and education software developer and a longstanding contributor to AppleStore’s medical application market. They wanted the app to give the user a more in-depth look into the major muscle groups that are exercised during a yoga routine.
Caldwell and anatomy expert Rachel Krentzman of Embody Physical Therapy and Yoga meticulously reviewed the footage and notated when each muscle turned on and off. Caldwell says “It was a pleasure teaming up again with someone as knowledgeable as Rachel. She leads the anatomy portion of Yoga One’s annual teacher training course. Rachel and I agreed, the process reaffirmed how much we love this practice!”
The voice over instruction that accompanies each pose was recorded at Studio West. Caldwell re-visited each posture and the pre-set sequences of poses recording anatomical notes as well as alignment-based instruction. “I have a pretty deep voice and really got to hone my enunciation and tone. I think I might have a career in the voice over field,” Caldwell joked.
More info on the process:
San Diego based Pendulum created 884 high-definition videos for the iYoga Premium application, featuring Caldwell’s 3D anatomical model performing over 190 yoga poses from multiple viewing angles. This was made possible thanks to Pendulum’s incredibly accurate active-LED PhaseSpace motion capture system. Ultimately, Pendulum processed over 340,000 frames of motion capture, rendered over 50 MILLION frames (yes, you read that correctly), and delivered 8.7 hours of final video to bring the virtual yoga teacher to life!