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 Post subject: New Member Introduction
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:42 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:37 am
Posts: 2
Hello, I am a freelance artist and animator, and a new member here. I have seen some excellent videos using this software and can't wait to try it out. I have high hopes and would like to take advantage of the holiday discount.

I've got three Playstation Eye cameras on order that should be arriving tomorrow, and I'll be testing them out over the weekend and hopefully get some results to show.

In your experience, is there a substantial difference between using 3 cameras versus 4 cameras?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 2346
Location: Los Angeles
Welcome aboard! :)

I started out a couple of years ago using three Logitech web cameras; with four, I saw a big improvement in accuracy. Since that time I've upgraded to four PS3 cameras, and I recently added two more cameras to my system but I haven't tried the six camera setup yet.

IMO, a minimum of four is recommended but three may work if you limit the type of actions you perform. For example, with only three cameras you may have trouble tracking a performer walking around because the cameras cannot see enough of the body to track it accurately. With less spatial data, you may see a bit more jittering too. But if you're just testing the software, three cameras might give you a good idea of what's possible.

I have a couple of test videos posted on my YouTube channel showing what four cameras can do:

LGD TestTube

Bear in mind that the sword test was done using an older version of iPi Studio that didn't have shoulder tracking. Even so, it's not bad.

The 'stretch and walk' video was done just a couple of months ago with a version of iPi DMC that had an excessive jitter problem. Again, even so, the mocap is pretty decent for raw, unedited mocap. IMO, this mocap looks a little linear and 'robotic', which I believe is the result of over-aggressive Jitter Removal, another problem with that build. BTW, this version of iPi DMC did have shoulder tracking, which is very apparent in some of the motions. (This performance was designed to test character deformations in my short film but, as it turns out, it was also a good test of some of the mocap system's limits.)

I'm happy to say that the latest version of iPi Studio is much improved: the 'excessive jitter' bug is gone and the new Configurable Jitter Removal is a powerful feature. Yesterday I re-tracked the four camera 'stretch and walk' test using the new version, and the mocap looks significantly more stable and accurate than what you see in these older test videos. I'll try to post a comparison video in the next day or two. Additionally, I hope to have new test videos using the six-camera setup posted on the channel this upcoming week.

G.

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Greenlaw
Artist/Partner - Little Green Dog | Demo Reel (2017) | Demo Reel (2015) | Demo Reel (2013)

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Watch a one minute excerpt on Vimeo now!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:53 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:37 pm
Posts: 104
Welcome bond

There are some gotcha's that can catch you out which will appear frustrating. There are fundamentally 2 sections to this, first is the capture and the second the processing.

Watch the tutorials and make sure that you practice with the ipisoft demo tutorial videos and use the software with those to perform successful tracking of their video. This way you'll know that your workflow is correct with the tracking.

As for capture, really important things include making sure the cameras are set up properly, getting a good calibration with a good lightsource (use the "calibration mode" checkbox in the capture software, I didn't notice that at first). Don't have the cameras too far away or the amount of image sensor capturing the actor is much less than optimal. Equally they need to be far enough to capture your desired volume. Good lighting, good choice of clothing, good movements. Make sure that for the first part of the capture that you have a clean background without you in it. i.e. don't place your PC in such a location that you are capturing yourself at the beginning pressing the "start" button. Be out of shot.

From the same session, i've had some great results and then some that leave me utter rubbish that I just can't do anything with so don't be too ambitious at the beginning, concentrate on simple movements that let you refine the process.

I'm still trying to optimise my captures but I'm pretty competent now with the software but you're potentially onto a hiding to nothing if you start with a bad capture, bad calibration and then struggle in vain to turn it into artful mocap so that's why I say practice with the demo "walk" video first, knowing that you can get a result with the software at least lets you then concentrate on refining the capture process.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:39 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:37 am
Posts: 2
Thanks for the tips! I've been looking at every tutorial I can while I'm waiting for my cameras to arrive, so hopefully I can get a good idea of what to expect.

I mostly do character animation for games, not cutscenes , but for in-game use. So my needs are probably simpler than someone using this tech for a short film. Most of my animations will be "in-place", rather than lots of moving around in the capture area, since the game engine itself controls the position of the character in the game world.

I think this software will fit the bill nicely, and save me tons of time for animating game characters as opposed to keyframing everything by hand. I use 3ds Max biped and it's layering tools, so I'm hoping to blend some home-brewed mocap with traditional keyframing. My cameras should arrive today, I can't wait!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:22 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 2346
Location: Los Angeles
djtaylor brings up a good point. Like anything worth doing, using iPi Studio takes some practice and familiarity to get good results. I've made a LOT of mistakes before I got where I am now with iPi Studio, but so long as you learn from your mistakes, it's all good experience.

Browse through the recent threads in these forums and take note of issues users have run into and how they solved the problems. This will move you way ahead in the learning curve.

Good luck!

Greenlaw

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Greenlaw
Artist/Partner - Little Green Dog | Demo Reel (2017) | Demo Reel (2015) | Demo Reel (2013)

Image
Watch a one minute excerpt on Vimeo now!


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