Naturalness of animation with iPi
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Author:  Snapz [ Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Naturalness of animation with iPi


Video of some actions performed to show the naturalness of the animation that is easily achievable, I have limited capture volume in my recording area, wish I had more.

Recorded with 5 PS Eyes and 2 Move controllers for wrists with iPi, head tracking on, shoulders by video and very flex spine.

Exported as BVH and applied to a character in Motion Builder.

No clean up done in either program, just tracked, refined, Move data applied, hand jestures added, and 1 step of jitter removal added for legs, set on 0 for rest of body

parts and 0 trajectory filter for JR, exported with 5 on trajectory filter, then a couple steps of smooth filter added in Motion Builder and certain actor parameters set.

Total processing time to this result was 2 hours. Minimal clean up needed from this point if it was to be used.

Link: https://youtu.be/ADJOzod53S8 ... View Full Screen in HD


Author:  Snapz [ Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalness of animation with iPi


Video of a jive walk with hand jestures.

Link: http://youtu.be/WopR7HZvRUs


Author:  Snapz [ Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalness of animation with iPi


Re-make of the PN demo video, done with iPi Studio, played on a character in Motion Builder, I pantomined the ball bounce, so less action than if I bounced and caught one.

From start of recording to this example took 1.5 hours, mostly tracking time, using the same settings as above video, but I didn't use refine forward on this export.

I tried a different screen recorder to see if it's any better, seems to be a little clearer and smoother.

Just a demo for comparison... no manual clean up done in either editor, just what iPi processing tools offer and actor smoothing/settings in Motion Builder.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giwEwFhfD7g ... View in Full Screen HD


Author:  Snapz [ Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalness of animation with iPi


Video from the 3ds Max BVH output file from Perception Neuron, recorded by the Perception Neuron Team.

Run in 3ds Max 2014

Recorded in Orthographic mode, so the camera would keep the actor in view easier.

Non- compatable at this point, there is no way to, or who would want to correct all the errors for use.

iPi has far less output compatability issues with Biped.

If considering PN... 3ds Max Biped users beware at this point.

If anyone else has attempted testing PN files on a Biped character, post if you have a different result.

I may try to use Bippy to convert an FBX export to Biped friendly and see if there is any difference, doubtful though.

Link: https://youtu.be/eIOLZCe0cSY .. View in HD

I used a different recording setting, so it should view better.


Video of iPi 3ds Max Biped BVH export, uncleaned animation, applied to same character.

Much better compatability.

Link: http://youtu.be/S0RU4L0YVqI ... View in HD


Video recording of a PN users captures of basic movements exported as 3ds Max BVH form Axis Neuron.

Compared to a 3ds Max BVH export from iPi Studio of complex dance movements.

Same character used and same version of 3ds Max (2014)

Both are uncleaned/unedited files, except for the smoothing tools used inside iPi Studio, which at this time PN doesn't offer in their free editor,
and to be honest, I don't think their Pro editor will help matters in 3ds Max at all, when it is released. Time will tell I guess.

Link: http://youtu.be/4LhvOktZ5xs .. View in HD


Author:  Snapz [ Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalness of animation with iPi


Test of fast punching, slo-mo to allow smoothness of the animation/hands to be viewed better, then run full speed.

Minimumly edited in 3ds Max (2014) to adust areas of incorrect hand tracking in some areas and to make a better fist on character.

Move controllers used, they lost some correct tracking, as is common for fast movements in my experience, 1st frame adjustment layer used to correct common export issues to 3ds Max, head and neck position and shoulders position, no other main bones needed editing.

Tracked with head on, shoulders by video and very flex spine, only low setting JR ran, no Refine Forward was needed, exported with 5 Trajectory Filter.

Very good results.

Link: https://youtu.be/GcDzWG0cxJg ... View in HD


Author:  Snapz [ Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalness of animation with iPi


I recorded this video,(link at bottom), showing a non-optimal or not recommended lighting scenerio to show mechanical lighting only with the recording/tracking process and

reduced the gaim and exposure cam settings on purpose to produce a more noisy/darker tracking video using 80% JPG compression setting and the program still tracked well.

As my camera placement is fixed and never get moved, this recording was tracked with a 5 day old Calibration file and was still accurate, when it's important I always do

recalibrate before a recording session.

The lighting seen is just 5 - 40w fluorescent screw in bulbs filtered through a white filter paper for ambient light, not directly pointed on actor, you can see behind the

iPi actor how dark the performer is.

I tried to show a variety of range of motions and show where the "subtle" bouncing on the squat was eliminated do to the JR and TF filters, but wasn't really necessary to the

overall animation result anyway.(could be re-added easily if I wanted to).

Second part of the video shows the uncleaned BVH imported to Biped and the resulting limited clean up on the test character animation which didn't take long at all, about 30

mins. and most of that was pin pointing the areas where keys could be reduced, some hand bone adjustments were made, not much though, where some body penetration occurred on

the bow. Of course I could refine it more, but you want better more natural animation right from export with less work, I don't know what your expecting from a motion

capturing program in this systems price range.

I don't use a high end machine or components, but the better the video card used, the better the resulting tracking and faster processing time.(mine is actually med.end card

750Ti with an i5 processor and processes fine for now).

I use only 5 cameras and only 3 capture the full actor in a triangular postion, the other 2 point only to the hips/lower back when actor is centered and are set side centered

and closer to the actor and point more downward to track the hips and feet more accurately and works well for floor contact actions also. (this does change the way I have to

perform my camera calibration, but I know how and get very good calibration easily).

My capture volume is 3m x 3m approx., any larger and I would need more cameras to catch the hips accurately as the actor moved farther forward or backward, but I can do a lot

in a 3m x 3m space, in a 7m x 4m room, and it's what I have to work with now.

I also always use the very flex spine, head tracking on, shoulders by video for best results when doing human actions, just depends on the actions if I change that and how I

use JR and TR and Refining during processing. This was done with JR at 1 on all parts again and 1 on TF again, Refine Forward wasn't used and exported as my preferrence at 5

TF for 3ds Max.

Really if you aren't getting similar results, under a better recording scenerio, I don't know what to say except try something different than what's being done now.

(Note: There is a glitch when applying the Move data, in order to stop the jittery effect on export, I must apply the data twice (back to back) on each controller and always

be the last thing I run before exporting, or I get weird hand glitching, it only usually takes a minute, so no big deal, but if the Move data is not accurate, and sometimes

is, it has to be corrected in a 3d editor afterwards).

Link: https://youtu.be/n0_SqJQXWwI ... View in HD


Author:  TOmSS [ Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalness of animation with iPi

generally thanks for your posts, very helpful information.

I'm starting tests with IPI and I have a few questions. Works in Maya, I also know Ikinema. Do you think it is necessary Motion Bulider. Maya has a built-in system HIK for retargeting, but there are no filters for clean. Is it enough Ikinema. I do animatiki, the movement should be precise. I am doing these things.

Second question. Why traking quality depends on the quality of the graphics card? Is the card not only affects the speed of traking?

How much Move controllers for wrists improves traking.


Author:  Snapz [ Sun Aug 07, 2016 5:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalness of animation with iPi


iPi should work fine for that type of animation, small learning curve for use depending on cam set up chosen, but the Version 3 program has gotten better with each update so far, for the most part.

Which Cam style is being used?
Kinect cams aren't as accurate as PS Eyes, but ease of set up for Kinect makes them attractive to many, I choose 6 PS Eyes for single performer recording.

Room size and needed capture volume for actions are other concerns, Kinects will not capture past a certain distance, when using more than 1, although 1-XB1 Kinect can record up to approx. 16 ft from cam, but mostly for more front facing actions, some say one cam will work well for full 360 capture, and for some faster body rotations it will, but not for slower body rotations, or single side facing actions where arms and legs are obscured for longer periods by the body, unless you want to manually clean up those errors in the tracking later.

No, MoBu isn't required, although I have it and yes it has more tools, but I personally mostly use Ikinema Webanimate now, but after I run the Refining/Jitter Removal built into iPi is used.

I personally think when using re-targeting in Webanimate and adding their ACP it removes the AMT you can select on export from iPi that stabilizes the feet on the floor, even after trying to use other parameter settings in the ACP solver to try to correct it, so I choose to just do it all in iPi Studio, export with AMT and only use the Ikinema skeleton in Webanimate for any offset corrections I may need, but again... to each their own, you can make that determination on your own.

Graphics card quality is very important, not only for speed of tracking, but the accuracy in the original processing to me.
As stated in other posts, I now run an EVGA GTX 970 FTW-2 and Afterburner App (using low res and all actor options maxed) with 6 cams at 2.35 fps @ .43 spf with very little tracking errors during processing, but there will always be some errors expected in the motions I capture. (Refine option runs a little faster 2.50 fps @ .38 spf).

I can only state the experiences I have with the 6 PS Eye cam set up, the way I have it set up, I stopped using the Kinects long ago, but each user has their own style and set ups, but I get what I need out of iPi with far less clean up than many other programs, since a lot of it is done just by a few button clicks in iPi Studio, though it isn't a real time tracking solution.

Move controllers don't really affect the original tracking, (that comes from the color quality of the hands for the tracker to follow), since the wrist won't follow the bending during this process until the Moves data is applied after tracking completed, where it helps is after applying the data and running the Refine and JR processes, the wrist will maintain the rotation applied during Refining Backward or Forward, which in my opinion should always be used, no matter the cam choice, it extends the time of processing, but increases quality of results.

Hope this helps.


Author:  TOmSS [ Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalness of animation with iPi

Thank you for the answer. My PC is Intel i5 3.10 GHz and GTX 750 Ti. Of course, the card and processor I can change if necessary. I have only two usb adapter, which I can plug only 4 PS. The motherboard is a mini atx and is only one PCI occupied by the graphics card.

So the tests start with 4 cameras. Maybe I connecting next camera to a laptop and sparring with the main computer, I know that there is a possibility of Ipi recorder.

If I can achieve quality as in your test, I will be happy :). Is there is possibility that you will send me a piece of animation, a typical move for test. The figure rising from a chair, walks over to the table, put something on the counter. It could be something else, it's about daily activities at a normal speed.


Author:  Snapz [ Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Naturalness of animation with iPi


an i5 is fine, I used an i5-3570k for years, actually just upgraded mobo and processor to an i7-3800k 6 core w/ hyperthreading, I really expected more from it, but it did give a little better performance, I just run it stock 3.4 GHz, can go to 4.2 max if I wanted, just no need, unless I am running a high demand rendering, then I will boost it.

The 750 Ti I also used for about a year and the processing in iPi was fairly slow, struggled to get 1 fps during processing, actaully the videos in this post were tracked with the i5 and 750 Ti.

Your mobo doesn't have a PCI-e x 1 slot? to add a USB 3.0 - 2 port controller. They are like $20 or so, if I remember correctly.

Yes, you can use a laptop for 2 other cams and use distributed recording, but it is kind of a pain I think, but it is what it is if that's all you can do.

I am not in recording mode right now, I have a lot recorded and working through processing, but maybe soon I can record something like you stated, I showed results from some test in this post, so basically that's what you get, but iPi has gotten a bit better since those recordings for tracking and I upgraded my machine.

4 - PS Eyes will only get you so far for tracking and better set up in a semi-circle config, that is if you have the room to do that, takes a bit of space for that set up and get any kind of capture volume, or you will be stuck in about a 3' x 3' area and can't move much.

You should practice with basic shorter motions until you get the set up and process working well, then move on to more complex actions.

There is different settings needed for different actions to be smoother, unless you just go the Ikinema ACP route for smoothing, I just don't use that.

Like I said, each user has their own ways, for their own purposes, so I don't suggest any ways, I just give my experiences with my way.

Hope it works out how you expect.

Good Luck!


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