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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:02 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:44 am
Posts: 3
Hi Everybody!


After a long time trying to find the best options for mocap, I finally decided to go for Ipisoft, rather than a mocap suit.


But, before I buy all the needed pieces, I have some questions :



I plan to use 4 Pseyes on a 4,5 x 5 meter ( 14.7 x 16 feet ) room. (If I substract the furniture, it made a 4 x 3,5 meter (13,1 x 9.8 feet) usable area for my movement.)



-here is a "plan" of the room :

https://imgur.com/ojjavYH

Do you think this setup can offer proper mocap ?



alternatively, I could do a three camera setup, and place them on C,F and D (on the plan), if the space for a 4 camera setup is a issue.


I can't use 2 kinect One (only have one fulltime accesible computer, and pricey), and 2 kinect V1 seem good (I read somewhere on this forum that they offer the precision of 4 Ps Eye), but they have a way smaller area of capture, so it's not my n°1 choice.


Of course, the best scenario is 6 PSeye but when I check my USB ports in the System information, I only have two Controller (respectively : "Intel(R) USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller" and "ASMedia USB 3.1 Host Controller" )...



So, I can't have more then 4 cameras, right ? :/

I'm pretty confused on that point, because, on the FAQ, it say :


"
With 2 controllers you've got enough bandwidth to record with:

2 depth sensors (first generation Microsoft Kinect)
or 4 cameras at 640x480 (raw Bayer format) at 60 FPS
or 6 cameras at 640x480 (raw Bayer format) at 40 FPS.
"

But, I'm pretty sure I have read somewhere that is not recommended to connect more than 2 Ps Eye to a single Controler...



If that's so, would any PCI-E to USB 3.0 ( or 3.1) card would work for reaching a 6 Ps Eye configuration ?

This one look great : (french description, but it seem to be the same as the one recommended on the "Accessories and Hardware Required" part of the website)


https://www.amazon.fr/CSL-contr%C3%B4le ... B014JGHCAQ



Speaking of USB, this "Active" kind of cable extension is the one I need to use, right ?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004A ... VGU1&psc=1



Another question, more about the Mocap quality to expect.


-I prefer Ipisoft over other mocap solution for the price, but also the freedom of action it offer.

I want to be able to use the Mocap for a lot of different situation, like talking,walking,seating, gripping something, etc. but I also want to be free to fight, throw, jump, run, crawl, and fall freely.

Crawling and falling are good examples I think, because it's typically the types of movement you don't want to do on mocap suit because of the risk of breaking the components and disconnecting cables.

So, does 4 or 6 PSeyes will allow me to do fast and "complex" movements, without (to much) risk of bad tracking (as long as I use it properly, and use a proper setting (cloth, light etc)) ?



Finaly :

Do you recommande Iclone7 or Ikinema WebAnimate with Ipisoft ? I plan to use it for refine and alter my animations before integration, finger and face animation, second pair of arms, or animate some non-humanoïde creature for exemple...

Ikinema WebAnimate is very affordable... Maybe to much... (99 dollars seem really really low cost for that kind of product to me)

But videos I have see look promising, here is some of them, if you're interested :


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btvGftEnHgc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY9oPig ... e=youtu.be





Thank a lot for your time!

I know it's a lot of questions, but all of this is pretty new to me, so I want to be sure about those things before buying anything and then come asking "Why is this not working ?!?" ! :P

Note : I'm french and my English writing is a bit rusty, but I hope I'm clear ^^


Thanks again !


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:58 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:47 am
Posts: 736
Location: Florida USA
...

This room volume is too small for very good use of PS Eyes set up, as you need 2-2.5m allowable space outside of the actual capture volume to get any real movement space for motions.

A 45-60 degree angled to center V set up using Kinects would work much better, although the limitations are more prevalent.

You can try a 4 PS Eye semi-circle set up and act closer to a rear wall, but you are just limited in what you can do for PS Eye use in that small of an area, or you take the hit in the usable capture volume you can perform in.

4 PS Eyes are really the bare minimum needed for any reasonable tracking quality, 5-6 makes it much better, but also adds to the machines power needed to process the video in iPi Studio at any reasonable fps.

All you can do is set it up and see for yourself, you may get what your looking for, but any issues are most likely going to be from your set up and not from the software itself.

Webanimate is pretty good for a quick editing solution, it does have bugs, but I use it as a main initial correction software now, IC7 is much better and does a lot more for the price, I also use that for all my final animation scenes, just easier to toss it to Webanimate first for rough editing, just a faster method before IC7 conversion IMO.

That USB 3.0 card is ok, but you really only need a 2 port single chip one of the same make for 2 more cams, if comp has 2 controllers now and enough ports, I am not sure using hubs to split ports will work out, though iPi has stated they will, but I personally haven't tried it that way.

If need the ports, I would say to invest in the 4 port 4 chip add-on card yes, has a single chip for each port.

Good Luck!

...


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:32 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:44 am
Posts: 3
Hi Snapz,thanks a lot for your answer!

When you say :
Quote:
This room volume is too small for very good use of PS Eyes set up
You mean it can still (theoretically) work, but will give animation with more jitter / imperfection that's a bigger setup can offer ?

I don't really understand why on the website, they say the minimal size is 4x4m if, in fact, you need more...


I have spend some hours trying to figure out some other options... but I'm kinda stuck to Ps eyes setup (Can't find any "Kinect for windows" anymore for reasonable price, and Kinect V2 will need another computer anyway, plus adapters.)



I think, if there's a chance that it's works , I'll try my luck with a 4 ps Eyes setup, it's really cheap anyway, and I do not have much more options except 2 kinect for windows (if I find them ...)




Quote:
Webanimate is pretty good for a quick editing solution, it does have bugs, but I use it as a main initial correction software now, IC7 is much better and does a lot more for the price, I also use that for all my final animation scenes, just easier to toss it to Webanimate first for rough editing, just a faster method before IC7 conversion IMO.


I see, if I find a proper mocap setup, I'll probably start by using Webanimate, and pick IC7 in some months, once I get used to animation edition.



Thank again for you answer! If you have more advice, or if anybody reading this have a opinion on this, don't hesitate to share!

Thank a lot for your time!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:58 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:47 am
Posts: 736
Location: Florida USA
...

Yes, when I stated too small of room size for good capturing, meaning your capture volume, (the camera visible area you can act in) will be almost to the point of standing still in that small of a room, using the 4 corner set up you presented in the image.

You would be better off to use a semi-circle set up and act closer to a rear wall, but you are not going to gain much volume, but you may have more forward motion area.

When I say semi-circle, it would be more of a rectangle with only 4 cams used, (2 in front corners as you show at about 1.2-1.5m), the 2 pointing 90 degrees to a point about 1m (3 ft) off the rear wall, placing cams at the same 1m (3 ft) off the rear wall at about 2.2-2.4m high, looking down on the area.

This should allow better forward motion area, as well as capture 360 turns better, but if you ever get a couple more PS Eyes later, you can fit them in as a straight head on cam at 1.2m (4 ft) and one high in front at 2.4m approx. looking down on the performer for better foot contact.

As far as Kinect for Windows version, that isn't needed, it has a few more options for color correction and close up recording, but not "needed" for basic full body mocap capturing.

Two Kinect 360 will work exactly the same for this purpose, but the tracking quality isn't as good as Kinect X BOX One, but the trade off is you can use one computer and can also position the sensors at different viewing angles, where Kinect X Box can only be set up level to the floor.

Hope this helps explain.

...


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:41 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 2229
Location: Los Angeles
Just wanted to chime in since I'm using a mutli-Kinect setup in a small space for my projects.

I used to use PS3 Eye in my garage years ago and I had a semi-circle setup with four cameras. I went with the semi-circle (it was actually a bit wider) because this gave me a lot more walking room. The capture quality was pretty decent, even with the early version of the software at the time. Yes, there was potentially more occlusion issues with the semi-circle but I choreographed the performances to favor the semi-circle so occlusion errors were minimal. When they did occur, Mocap Studio was able to do a good job interpolating what it couldn't see (I mean with supervised tracking of course.)

In fact, at the tiem, this setup was good enough for me to present a demo to my boss at Rhythm & Hues and he allowed me to test the system to create some animatics for a commercial. We used a professional mocap studio for the final mocap but this excercise got my boss to seriously consider Mocap Studio (back then called iPi Desktop Motion Capture,) for future projects. (Unfortunately, R+H as it existed back then is no longer around so this never happened.)

For me, the downside with my garage setup was that I had to lug my computer there every time I wanted to capture data, and I had to create a special (ambient/soft shadow) lighting setup for it.

Around the time I made 'Happy Box', beta support for Kinect XBox360 was added to iPi DMC 2.0, and that was a game changer for me. This meant I could now move the system in the house, and not have to use special lights, special clothing, or move my computer. So far, I've recorded mocap using Kinect for two personal short films, and some digital stunt double work and creature vfx for a handful of SyFy channel b-movies.

These days, I'm back to using Mocap Studio for a personal short film project, and I'm using Kinect One (v2) now.

The nice thing about Kinect One over the XBox 360 model is that I gain a little more capture space because of the lens, and the higher resolution reduces the jitter considerably. I still need to use jitter removal but not nearly as heavily as with the XBox 360 Kinects. I do need multiple computers, which for me means I can only use two Kinect One devices at this time (I own four, but only two of my computers are suitable for Kinect One.) I haven't had a chance to check yet but a recent update might allow me to use one of our laptops for a third Kinect One. TBD.

Accuracy for fast motion is only minimally improved though because Kinect One is still only capturing at 30 fps. (PS3 Eye can capture at 60fps.)

Re: Kinect For Windows. These were pretty nice while they lasted. Technically, they worked the same for iPi as Kinect for XBox 360 but, as mentioned by Snapz, you got more controls to improve the video quality. This made it easier to work with in Mocap Studio but did not actually improve the capture quality. However, Kinect For Windows did feature 'Near Mode', which is useful for face capture and object scanning using other software. Unfortunately, Kinect for Windows is nearly impossible to find these days, and insanely expensive when you can find one. In short: don't bother. Stick with v1 for XBox 360 if your space is tight and you're on small a budget, or go with Kinect One (v2) if you need higher quality.

As for semi-circle vs. full-circle capture with Kinect, there are pros and cons for each and it depends on what you want to capture.

Most of the time, I'm using a semi-circle setup in my living room because it takes less space, it's easier to calibrate and I believe the slightly overapping data produces more accurage results (possibly slightly more jitter though...not really sure.) Because Kinect is capturing 3D data, you don't need as many devices to capture a lot of spatial info in a semi-circle like you do with RGB cameras. I haven't done any comparisons myself but according to iPi Soft, the quality should be comparable to using 4 PS3 Eye cameras.

And, of course, you can set up for a full 360 capture with only two Kinect devices by having the devices nearly face each other. Even though you're only using two devices, occlusion is minimal because the 3D data effectively includes the 'side view' capture. (FYI, you don't want to point the devices directly into each other because of IR interference.) I use the 360 setup this when I have a lot of turning in the motion I want, or need to walk a longer path across the room. To maximize the space in our living room, I position the devices from opposite corners of the room. This has been useful in a couple of situations for me but, as stated, the semi-circle setup is usually good enough. I don't use this setup as often because it does require more space and calibration can be trickier.

FYI, I still own my PS3 Eye cameras. I keep them handy in case I have the opportunity to shoot in a larger space and have a need to. So far, I haven't had to bring them out though, but obviously, your needs may differ from mine. The nice thing about this is that Mocap Studio allows you to switch between devices when you need to.

Anyway, I just wanted to confirm that the Kinect One is quite capable of 'pro' work where lack of space is an issue.

I'm very curious about the new Logitech cameras because of the higher res (potentially better for capturing in even larger spaces than PS3 Eye.) Unfortunately, I don't see my own space situation changing anytime soon. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:48 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:44 am
Posts: 3
Hi !

Thanks a lot to both of you for your very interesting and complete answers!

I picked two Kinect 360, their are cheap ( even cheaper then 4 ps eyes setup, if we include all the materiel needed for a proper setup), and it's probably the best option when you start at mocap, with a small space like the one that I have.


I will make some tests, and maybe update this topic with some result later (or if I need more advice).



Once I will have more experience, and if I feel the need to make a upgrade, I would buy a 4 pseyes setup, and try the setup you recommended, Snapz.


Thanks again for your helps!


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