Mazda's Soul Red Paint Process Creates a Handcrafted Look with Motion Capture

Photo: Mazda

Photo: Mazda

You may be familiar with motion capture (“mocap”) suits used to create animation from human movement. In a motion capture session, movements are captured dozens of times per second, and recreated from that sample. The infamous Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks was generated via motion capture, as was bad guy Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Mazda used this technique in the process of formulating their Soul Red Crystal paint color. Working closely with the master painter and color designer, engineers captured the handcrafted paint strokes and translated that into robot movement that could be copied over and over for mass production. Typically, this kind of stroke-by-stroke attention is reserved for concept cars, and Mazda discovered a way to transform the painting method.

With this process, called Takuminuri, robots were taught to duplicate the techniques of Mazda’s best artisans. Soul Red Crystal is a three-layer progression, starting with a reflective/ absorbtive layer with high brightness small-aluminum flake paired with light-absorbing flake; then a translucent high-chroma layer; followed by a clear top coat.

Read more about this process on Inside Mazda.

Kristin Shaw