A Gorgeous Animated Sculpture Reveals the Physics of Kung Fu

kung fu motion capture
A new animated sculpture created by digital artist Tobias Gremmler recreates the motion of Kung fu practitioners going through a drill. (Image credit: screen shot from Vimeo/Tobias Gremmler)

A stunning new visual art piece is revealing the physics of Kung Fu in all its dynamic glory.

To create the animated sculpture, German digital artist Tobias Gremmler used motion capture of a Kung Fu practitioner moving through a typical drill.

The video recreates the whirlwind of activity using myriad materials, including fabric and sticks and balls. The visualizations are inspired by the motion, speed and direction of different body parts. The swirl motion changes continuously, sometimes resembling rapidly written calligraphy or liquid swirling spirals, while at other times a human form seems to morph in and out of existence. At other times, the body appears to resemble a building structure or a precarious pile of bricks that collapses on a moment's notice.  

The stunning art piece was commissioned by the International Guoshu Association for an Kung Fu exhibition and will go on display in Hong Kong in September.

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Kung Fu Motion Visualization from Tobias Gremmler on Vimeo.

Tia Ghose
Managing Editor

Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.