The recent success of my IKBooster tutorial series has left me with enough resources to get basic motion capture equipment and software, which I will be using to speed up certain character interactions in Delura’s animated content. NevronMotion is an addon for Lightwave that allows you to use a single Kinect camera and record motion capture data… it also does retargeting. Now, although I have my own methods for adapting motion capture data to characters, I later found that my methods could be combined with Nevron’s to allow for cross-rig animation transfer (something Nevron alone can’t do). So, if I want my Lugarian characters to use the upper body animations of my morph characters… well guess what? I can do that easily now despite their complete skeletal differences. I did explain in earlier posts that I would be utilizing KSU’s motion capture database and this is still true, but now whenever I just need simpler motions I can just create them myself in minutes and know they will totally fit the animation I’m working on.

Before I purchased NevronMotion I made sure that I knew exactly what I was getting as it is considered a “low end” mocap system. Motion capture with a single Kinect has some major limitations that I carefully considered as part of my purchase decision:

– Overlapping limbs cause errors. No crossing feet or arms, must avoid crossing arms across body.
– Fast movements = less accuracy
– Can only turn your body ~30 degrees (facing camera)
– Getting accurate foot placement requires either avoiding camera shots that involve feet, or mocap cleanup. Upper body tracking is pretty decent.
– Facial tracking in real-time can lack accuracy. I determined that a way around this is to play the audio clip at 1/2 speed while I record face animations, then double the playback after recording (gives kinect more time to process my face).

Another consideration in my purchase decision was the fact that I can include NevronMotion content in my upcoming commercial tutorial for late January and in turn, the system will have completely paid for itself (and then some).

Concerning Delura, NevronMotion is going to be used heavily for any scenes where choreography and precise timing is not needed… and if my tests and setup go smoothly, it will possibly eliminate a lot of the work involved with animating character facial expressions. It will allow me to focus much more on the animation that *does* need manual keying. There are other possibilities of use as well… such as using my body motions to drive the motions of mechanical devices or using arms and hands as a driver for visual effects.

Although I have already purchased the software, I will be receiving the mocap camera (Kinect for Windows) on Monday… then perhaps I can upload some test animations. It really feels like all the pieces are falling together for Delura’s production… now I just need to get regular (and quality) animated content rolling! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the first 10% of the work is 90% of the job.