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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:41 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:23 am
Posts: 15
Hi,

I'm new to the whole motioncapture, besides working on HumanIK in Maya with preset mocap files.
I'm making a short film and instead going frame by frame animation, I'm thinking to do it through motion capture to make more realistic.

However, as I said previously, I'm new to this.

Do I need ipiDesktop since I already have MotionBuilder installed with Maya?
Does ipi desktop exports FBX format?
Does 1 kinect sensor enough? Or do I really need to get 2?

Thank you and sorry for the noob questions.

Appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:23 am
Posts: 301
Location: White Lake Mi USA
Yes, You should get iPi to do mocap.

iPi does export FBX.

You should get 2 kinects.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:34 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 2412
Location: Los Angeles
This is just my opinion but I think it all depends on how you intend to capture your motion data, your technical expertise, how much time and effort you want to put into motion capture, and what you intend to do with the final data. (i.e, pre-rendered CG animation, realtime machinima or game development, avatar for social website, etc.)

If you have the time and resources, I believe Motion Builder will allow you connect various devices for capture but it can be quite technical to set up--in short, this is definitely not a 'plug-and-play' approach like using iPi DMC. I believe some Motion Builder users have created pipelines to do this with various deviced including Kinect, and if you're really interested in pursuing this route, you should check Autodesk's forums for more information. For me personally, this approach is not for the fainthearted, and probably a lot more trouble than it's worth for a single artist or a small indie production studio to deal with.

iPi DMC, on the other hand, is very simple to learn and use, and it works with 'off-the-shelf' hardware that anybody can purchase from a toy store or electronics shop. Contrary to the above, iPi DMC is most certainly 'plug-and-play'.

The best solution, and again this is just my personal opinion, is to use iPi DMC for capture and then use Motion Builder (since you have it) for retargeting and editing. That said, Motion Builder is too expensive an option for many casual users and many 'newbies' may be daunted by its learning curve. Luckily, there are a few alternatives for retargeting editing have recently appeared, most notably Ikinema Webanimate and Jimmy|Rig Professional (both which are still in beta.) Since you mentioned having experience with Maya and its Human IK system, you could use that too. (I have no experience with Maya's HIK system so I can't say how it compares to MB; from what I've seen in videos, there are some similarities.)

But for general 'human proportioned' characters, keep in mind that iPi Studio can natively re-target mocapt to your characters too. The editing tools in iPi Studio can be somewhat limited for major editing but after retargeting the motions, you can edit the data on your character in almost any 3D program.

Quick answers to your questions:

1. Answered above.

2. Yes. See iPi Soft's website and wiki for full feature list and documentation.

3. Again, this depends on your intended use and budget. One Kinect can capture motions just fine and it's the cheapest and easiest solution. Two Kinects instantly doubles your expense but it is far more capable and the quality of the data is considerably better; two Kinects are a little more involved to set up but this no big deal really. Even better than two Kinects is the setup for six Playstation 3 Eye cameras, which has truer 360 coverage and twice the framerate, but this setup is also a lot more complicated to setup and use.

For me, the ideal option was to get two Kinects for most general use and six PS3 Eye cameras as an option for special cases. For most users, iPi DMC and two Kinects will probably be all they need.

Hope this is informative.

G.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:33 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:23 am
Posts: 15
Greenlaw wrote:
This is just my opinion but I think it all depends on how you intend to capture your motion data, your technical expertise, how much time and effort you want to put into motion capture, and what you intend to do with the final data. (i.e, pre-rendered CG animation, realtime machinima or game development, avatar for social website, etc.)

If you have the time and resources, I believe Motion Builder will allow you connect various devices for capture but it can be quite technical to set up--in short, this is definitely not a 'plug-and-play' approach like using iPi DMC. I believe some Motion Builder users have created pipelines to do this with various deviced including Kinect, and if you're really interested in pursuing this route, you should check Autodesk's forums for more information. For me personally, this approach is not for the fainthearted, and probably a lot more trouble than it's worth for a single artist or a small indie production studio to deal with.

iPi DMC, on the other hand, is very simple to learn and use, and it works with 'off-the-shelf' hardware that anybody can purchase from a toy store or electronics shop. Contrary to the above, iPi DMC is most certainly 'plug-and-play'.

The best solution, and again this is just my personal opinion, is to use iPi DMC for capture and then use Motion Builder (since you have it) for retargeting and editing. That said, Motion Builder is too expensive an option for many casual users and many 'newbies' may be daunted by its learning curve. Luckily, there are a few alternatives for retargeting editing have recently appeared, most notably Ikinema Webanimate and Jimmy|Rig Professional (both which are still in beta.) Since you mentioned having experience with Maya and its Human IK system, you could use that too. (I have no experience with Maya's HIK system so I can't say how it compares to MB; from what I've seen in videos, there are some similarities.)

But for general 'human proportioned' characters, keep in mind that iPi Studio can natively re-target mocapt to your characters too. The editing tools in iPi Studio can be somewhat limited for major editing but after retargeting the motions, you can edit the data on your character in almost any 3D program.

Quick answers to your questions:

1. Answered above.

2. Yes. See iPi Soft's website and wiki for full feature list and documentation.

3. Again, this depends on your intended use and budget. One Kinect can capture motions just fine and it's the cheapest and easiest solution. Two Kinects instantly doubles your expense but it is far more capable and the quality of the data is considerably better; two Kinects are a little more involved to set up but this no big deal really. Even better than two Kinects is the setup for six Playstation 3 Eye cameras, which has truer 360 coverage and twice the framerate, but this setup is also a lot more complicated to setup and use.

For me, the ideal option was to get two Kinects for most general use and six PS3 Eye cameras as an option for special cases. For most users, iPi DMC and two Kinects will probably be all they need.

Hope this is informative.

G.


Thank you Greenlaw for your extensive and detailed explanation.

I'm using Maya / MotionBuilder Faculty License, since I teach at Polytechnic. So for me the license is free.

I'm currently working on my own 3d short film. Learning the whole production process as I go. So far this is what I already have: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c87qwH_4dng

That was done in Maya with HIK. A preset mocap file was imported and plugged into my character cowboy. Lots of weight painting fixing and still some issues, but for testing purpose it was good enough. The next step indeed is to add my own motions (acting) and apply the mocap data into my cowboy. Frame by frame animation it would take just too long and I'm not an Animator.

I tried Brekel software, but not so happy with the results in the first trial test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cat8SEyfK1c&context=C49eb6baADvjVQa1PpcFPF7B_VsdBus6Ahzk6YC4KZf0pS-rJ89Nw%3D More test will take place around this week and next week.

I am not in a rush or have any deadlines for this 3D short, as I'm doing it while learning the whole process and it is a personal project. I don't mind to invest a little amount of money as long I can add realism to my cowboy movement at a reasonable price since I'm doing it all alone.

You mentioned the iPi DMC. Sorry but DMC stands for ???

I currently see 5 versions of iPi softwares:
Free Trial,
Express,
Basic,
Standard,
iPi Motion Capture v.2

... honestly I don't know what or where they are different software wise. For a single user like me who don't mind to invest a little, which version would you recommend?

Again, thank you for your time and detailed reply.

Much appreciated.


Last edited by cgisoul on Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:37 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:23 am
Posts: 15
mrbones wrote:
Yes i agree

Using iPi Motion in Motion Builder is Ideal.

It is very easy once you understand the concept of motion builder and how it takes bvh and turns it into a control rigg ewhich then can be operated on the motion in a myriad of ways. For instance you can adjust in realtime the parameters of hip height and feet placement, elbow bend and all sorts of things. I am working on a series of tutorials explaining all of this in detail.

MB is best but I think Ikinema and WebAnimate is also a logical choice.

Also be sure to check out MOCLIP http://www.moclip.com

I use them all!


Thank you mrbones,

Any particular release date regarding to your training? Would love to see a sneak peak on the workflow.
Thank you for your suggestions. Looking at Ikinema and WebAnimate.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:42 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:23 am
Posts: 15
Just found the comparison table for all the different versions: http://wiki.ipisoft.com/index.php?title=Editions_Comparison
And DMC = Desktop Motion Capture.

It looks like that 6 camera setup is the ideal solution. I think I'll try the trial version first with my Kinect and see from there.

Thank you again for all your suggestions. Appreciated.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 2412
Location: Los Angeles
cgisoul wrote:
It looks like that 6 camera setup is the ideal solution. I think I'll try the trial version first with my Kinect and see from there.

Just be aware that, while a six camera setup increases your capture space, it also requires a lot more space. For example, I could not possibly use this configuration anywhere inside our house, and it's one of the main reasons I'm preferring the twin Kinect setup right now. (Our living room is barely big enough for that setup.) :p

That said, if you do have the space and you don't mind the additional requirements, and you have a capable computer, the six camera system does give you the best results.

Anyway, I'm glad you got things working. Keep us posted on your progress!

G.

_________________
Greenlaw
Artist/Partner - Little Green Dog | My Demo Reels (2013,) (2015,) (2017,) and (2019)
Image
Watch a one minute excerpt on Vimeo now!


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