So by now I’ve tried a few options for motion capture: optical ‘high-end’ solutions, Rokoko and Neuron Suits. I’ve also tried homemade mocap solutions using Kinect and Blender. Initially, I was interested in how good each of the solutions is and how they compare on the cost front. From the technologies I’ve tried, Neuron and Rokoko seem to be the winners for now.
Since I gained a better understanding of technology used for motion capture, I have moved on to learning more about how to apply motion capture data onto an avatar. When the data is initially captured, it pretty much looks like an animated stickman.
This animation then has to be applied onto the avatar (a character in a story or game) and this can be quite difficult to accomplish. Firstly, the avatar has its own skeleton structure which is a simplified humanoid skeleton. To apply the motion capture, the skeleton of the stickman and the avatar have to be matched. From the research I have done so far I can see that there are many different ways of doing this depending on what software you decide to use. A lot of the time motion capture will be first imported into Maya, which is a software specialising in animation, where it will be matched to an avatar. As good as it sounds, the software price makes it out of reach for indie developers. Hence, many other tools and solutions have been developed in order to achieve the same purpose. This can also be accomplished in Unity, which is a game engine design software that enables the creation of 3D environments, enables design of interaction with objects and characters. For now I’ve managed to match a trial avatar that I’ve downloaded with Neuron’s motion capture in Unity. However, it was quite tricky since the bone structures were different between the avatar and the motion capture, resulting with quite a few glitching movements along the way. Consequently, I’ve realised that before I invest more time in creating motion capture it will be better to finalise the avatar that I want to use.. This is simply to avoid myself retargeting motion capture data from the stickman onto the avatar skeleton each time. As with anything, there are many different ways to go about creating an avatar so that’s a topic for my next post ;)
Creative producer, writer, immersive media artist founder of Sensosis
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