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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:40 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 2417
Location: Los Angeles
One point I was making with the above is that you may not need iClone if you're using Blender. Before spending the money for iClone, consider what you're intention is and what you want the software to do for you.

If you're good with Blender and want to create mocap for it, then iPi Mocap Studio and Blender may be all you need. iPi actually works well with most animation programs so long as they can accept FBX or .bvh data. Technically, you don't really need re-targeting tools in the animation program because iPi Mocap Studio has re-targeting tools built in.

What iPi Mocap Studio doesn't do is let you re-animate the mocap data (not easily anyway) or mix it with other mocap data. Not a flaw, it's just outside the scope of what the program was created for. This where specialized mocap editing tools comes in. For me, Motion Builder worked well for a long time because adding mocap to non-human (cartoon cat) skeletons was easier to do in MoBu than inside LightWave. Since I don't use MoBu anymore, I'm expecting iClone to serve the same purpose. Plus, getting iClone (with Pipeline) was a lot cheaper for me than subscribing to current Autodesk products.

iClone has other uses of course. TBH, I'm only using a small subset of its features. iClone is actually a complete animation package with a decent looking real-time renderer. For now, I need higher quality renders so I'm using a traditional animation program (LightWave) for final output, but later on I'd like to explore using more of iClone's features if it will will help me create a series of 'web-shorts' quickly. As a matter of fact, I originally got iClone years ago to make 'Happy Box' but at the time there was no way for me to get my characters and iPi Mocap Studio data into the program, so I wound up using MoBu and LightWave instead. Getting custom data into iClone wasn't possible until they released the Pipeline add-on a few years later.*

So, plan out your project first and consider what you will need to get it done. Then look at everything that's available and work out the costs. Also, check the documentation and the available training material. One difficulty I had years ago with MoBu was that it was poorly documented and I was lucky to meet people who understood the program well and were happy to share their knowledge. If I didn't have that help and encouragement, I might have given up back then.

As it stands, after all these years, I'm still pretty excited about using iPi Mocap Studio and other 3D programs for my projects. :)

*One thing to be aware of with iClone is that almost everything is an 'add-on'. That's one of the reasons why the basic package is relatively cheap. The economical way to purchase is to watch for their sales and look for a bundle package that has what you need.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:43 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:54 pm
Posts: 6
Greenlaw wrote:
One point I was making with the above is that you may not need iClone if you're using Blender. Before spending the money for iClone, consider what you're intention is and what you want the software to do for you.


Yeah I just spent the last few days attempting and researching, and it's just not possible. iclone seems to be built with this exact thing in mind of editing animations and .BVH files, which blender is completely incapable of in any meaningful way. Blender can read the BVH files just fine, but if you want to make changes, you are out of luck. I would very much like you said, want the ability to edit, and combine animations and motion captures. Like I saw in one tutorial where a dude applied an animation JUST to the whole body except the arms because he was holding a guitar prop and I was instantly sold in that moment. The editing capabilities are very impressive.

Also like you said, I'm essentially using iclone as a replacement for motion builder, because it's so incredibly expensive. iclone seems to be a budget version of motion builder. I seem to be aiming for a very similar workflow to yours, because I also don't intend to use iclone as a final render program, as I plan on exporting it all to blender at the end of the day for my final renders.

I also really like the expandability of iclone through purchasing upgrades, so it gives a cheaper up front cost, and I can purchase extra functionality as needed. For example, in the long term I love the idea of doing facial motion capture, but it's going to cost me an extra 1,000$ (500$ for an iPhone X and another 500$ for the iclone upgrade). They even have a Kinect plugin for 100$ for direct motion capture, but I'll still probably go with the ipi motion cap system because of the ability to have 2 kinects for a better capture.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:33 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 2417
Location: Los Angeles
sargentpilcher wrote:
I would very much like you said, want the ability to edit, and combine animations and motion captures. Like I saw in one tutorial where a dude applied an animation JUST to the whole body except the arms because he was holding a guitar prop and I was instantly sold in that moment. The editing capabilities are very impressive.

I know what you mean. As a matter of fact, that exact scenario comes up in my Brudders music video. With MoBu, I was able to override parts of the mocap and use IK and constraints to make Toullie appear if only a little more convincing at playing his ukulele. It's a small enhancement but the result looks a lot better than if I just used the mocap alone. Technically speaking, I could have done something similar in LightWave but this was much easier to do in MoBu. (I'm assuming this will be true with iClone too but I'm not quite there yet.)

Quote:
They even have a Kinect plugin for 100$ for direct motion capture, but I'll still probably go with the ipi motion cap system because of the ability to have 2 kinects for a better capture.

Yes, the plug-in adds the typical single Kinect capability provided by the MS SDK. The native Kinect capture quality is okay but not as good as even the single Kinect mocap data tracked with iPi Mocap Studio. The plugin is probably fine for a character just standing in place and gesturing with arms but for anything more complicated, iPi Mocap Studio with multiple sensors is going to do produce significantly better mocap.

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