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 Subject: "(Animation) Creating your own MoCap using your own camera(s)" By: newhere

newhere opened this issue on Oct 25, 2007 · 27 posts

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  newhere () ( posted at 2:02PM Thu, 25 October 2007 


Please do not reply to this post this is just a tutorial

"(Animation) Creating your own MoCap using your own camera(s)" (The basics)

 

Before starting I am assuming that you already know how to use Lightwave 3D (Modeler/Layout). If not Please go to your “help” option tab in Layout so you can understand the tools better that are going to be using in this lesson.

 

Using Camera(s) for recording:

** **

**           ** First, we need to record the film we are going to use as a MoCap guide. Now using one or two cameras, record yourself throwing two punches at a “side view” and at a “front view” as shown in “Example1”……Please note: your recording duration should be no more than 1 or 2 seconds. Save the movie for the camera that recorded your side profile as “Side view.avi” and the camera that recorded your front profile as “Front view.avi” on your desktop. Now that you have recorded your MoCap, we are now going to use them in Lightwave.

 

Modeler:

 

Open up Lightwave Modeler and in the first layer create two polygon squares as shown in “Example2”


  newhere () ( posted at 2:03PM Thu, 25 October 2007 · edited on 2:05PM Thu, 25 October 2007 · @3099358


Example2


  newhere () ( posted at 2:07PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099362


Like shown in “Example3” Select the polygon facing forward and give it a surface name called “front” and then hit ok.


  newhere () ( posted at 2:07PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099363


Like shown in “Example4” Select the polygon facing sideways and give it a surface name called “side” and then hit ok. 


  newhere () ( posted at 2:08PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099365


Change the upper left Viewport window option from Top (XZ) to “UV Texture.” Use “Example5” as a reference.


  newhere () ( posted at 2:09PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099366


Select the surface call “front” and Click the “T” option (highlighted in red in “Example6”) to turn on the “Create UV texture map” window. Follow what it shows in “Example6” and then hit ok.


  newhere () ( posted at 2:10PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099368


Select the surface call “side” and Click the “T” option (highlighted in red in “Example7”) to turn on the “Create UV texture map” window. Follow what it shows in “Example7” and then hit ok. When you are done, Change the upper left Viewport window option from UV Texture to “Top (XZ).” Use “Example8” as a reference.


  newhere () ( posted at 2:10PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099369


Example 8


  newhere () ( posted at 2:11PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099370


Press F6 on your keyboard to open up “Image Editor” and load (it is highlighted in red in “Example9”) up both movies from your desktop called “Side view.avi” and “Front view.avi”


  newhere () ( posted at 2:12PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099371


Now that you have loaded the movies, close the “Image Editor” window and press F5 on your keyboard to open up the “Surface Editor” window. Click the surface called “front” and then click on the “T” button to open up the “Texture editor” window and follow the setup that is shown in “Example10”


  newhere () ( posted at 2:13PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099372


Ok now Click the surface called “side” and then click on the “T” button to open up the “Texture editor” window and follow the setup that is shown in “Example11”. Once you are done with that, save the object as “Movie setup” and then close Lightwave modeler.


  newhere () ( posted at 2:14PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099374


Layout:

 

Ok we are now going to use those videos in layout to make our MoCap data. Open up Lightwave Layout and load in the object called “Movie setup” once you do that save your scene as “MoCap setup.” Now we are going to add a null. Click the null button highlighted in red in “Example12”. Name the null as “Head_Top.” Change the “Item shape” to ball as shown in “Example 12” and scale it down to 20mm. Once you are done you are going to repeat this same step but instead of giving all the nulls the same name, you are going to name each null as follows:

 

Head_Bottom

Spinal_Top

RightShoulder

LeftShoulder

RightElbow

LeftElbow

Right_Hand

Left_Hand

Waist

RightKnee

LeftKnee

RightFoot

LeftFoot


  newhere () ( posted at 2:15PM Thu, 25 October 2007 · edited on 2:16PM Thu, 25 October 2007 · @3099376

Ok now that you have each null named and they have an item shape we are now going to place each null with a specific name to a specific location. Use “Example13” as a guide to place the nulls you named to a specific location. I am quite sure by now you are like (what in the world are we doing here!) well let me explain it to you. The nulls that you positioned are the reference data that we are going to use for MoCap data. Every time we move to a new keyframe the nulls are going to be placed in a new location according to the videos that you recorded earlier of you throwing punches.


  newhere () ( posted at 2:23PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099383

Ok now here is the long part, What you have to do now is go to every new key frame and when you see the background video of yourself in a new position, you have to place the nulls you named in the a new position according to the videos. “Example14” and “Example15” will show the differences in the keyframes. Please note: in the examples 14 & 15 all I did to give it the look of a rig (even though it is not a real rig setup) is I made a certain null target another null corresponding to it. (Ex: LeftFoot targets LeftKnee – LeftKnee targets Waist, etc.) Once you finish and you are happy with animation save it again and load up a character with a rig already setup. Once your character is loaded in the scene, pose your character in the first fame of the timeline in the position of the MoCap data and then parent all the nulls that are on the Rig of your character to the nulls that you animated earlier as shown in “Example16.” If you don’t have a rig setup or don’t know how to make one please check http://www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/tutorials/animation/rigging/index.html
http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/tutorials/animation/CharRigging/index.php to make your very own rig for your character(s).

 

The out come of your animation should look like this: http://s184.photobucket.com/albums/x52/newhere_bucket/?action=view&current=CompleteAnimation.flv

 

** **

I hope this tutorial has been helpful to you. If you have had any trouble reading this you can download the files from this lesson.

 

!!!4 Tutorial tips in one!!! Has been brought to you by: newhere on renderosity.com

 

Copyright * 2007


  newhere () ( posted at 2:25PM Thu, 25 October 2007 · edited on 2:33PM Thu, 25 October 2007 · @3099386

Sorry but i had to put Examples 13- 16 in a new thread please look for it. Or when it is on neighborhood news


  newhere () ( posted at 3:54PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099457


UPDATE: EXAMPLES 13-16 below...

EXAMPLE 13:


  newhere () ( posted at 3:54PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099458


EXAMPLE 14:


  newhere () ( posted at 3:54PM Thu, 25 October 2007  · @3099459


EXAMPLE 15:


  newhere () ( posted at 3:55PM Thu, 25 October 2007 · edited on 3:55PM Thu, 25 October 2007 · @3099460


EXAMPLE 16:


  crocodilian () ( posted at 3:06PM Sun, 11 November 2007  · @3111329

Congratulations newhere! This is very clever. Looking at your video source, I'd have said that you'd have all sorts of trouble-- the video is very cluttered, not what I'm used to seeing as mocap source. But your end result is extremely good, at a fraction of the cost, (not to mention the hassle), of traditional mocap solutions. I'm impressed. The only thing that I'd add is: Why not put some markers on the actor, so you record the null positions as you move? Just get a tight fitting pair of white long johns, and put red dots at the key null locations. . . this will make the process go more quickly in Lightwave. Your technique is very impressive. One of the biggest problems I have with traditional automated mocap is the noisiness -- markers overlapping and "jumping" to illogical places. Your way involves more work, but will be much more robust to "bad data". Again, thank you, this is very impressive.


  newhere () ( posted at 5:51PM Mon, 12 November 2007  · @3111962

Actually crocodilian i did try the long Johns thing.....it is just that when the postition point goes around corners of a person or thing, it does not pick it up as clearly as it would if you were to manually do it. Of course there is always the solution of buying the Equipment ($20,000 to $50,000 worth sigh)

Thanks to you and to all who have read my tutorials :)


  AlbertGriffin () ( posted at 10:34AM Tue, 13 November 2007  · @3112399

haven't commented yet, a little beyond my budget and skills.
It IS an interesting train of thought though. Pent had a tutorial on his site suggesting a very similar method.
I find myself limited to NO video cam, and only me as a model.
I severly doubt I can use mocap like this to help me (an fat old guy) to animate a more sexy tall woman. Nor is my old fat body likely to provide any nija moves or dance moves.


  newhere () ( posted at 12:17PM Tue, 13 November 2007 · edited on 12:20PM Tue, 13 November 2007 · @3112457

Well it depends on what you are going for. With MoCap it doesn't matter how you look, it's about what you are trying to get done as far as animated movement...that's all. If you can somewhat be an actor then you can do all kinds of animations with any kind of character (well......humanoid anyway).


  AlbertGriffin () ( posted at 12:24PM Tue, 13 November 2007  · @3112461

true, but proportions and ability DO matter.

Let us face it, I couldn't do martial arts 15 years ago when I was fit for service, I can't do them now.

Usings videos of OTHERS may work, gawd knows Youtube has enough stuff there.

Of course, my needs for martial arts are far from here. If i DO do my space opera, near the end there IS a sword fight. (yes, I know, There are logical reasons for it. In the end, the villian cheats, and thus does himself in.)

Now I 'could' video tape two people who KNOW what they are doing, and work from that.
Or I could work manually and have less risk of people getting hurt.
(Mind you, neither of my characters are 'experts' which is part of why it works)

I have taken a break from animating characters for a while anyway. Working on my space scene and gettings some insight there.


  newhere () ( posted at 12:29PM Tue, 13 November 2007  · @3112464

lol..point well taken. As far as proportions goes......the video that i recorded was like a million times bigger then the actual character. All of my characters i make are 500mm tall (habit don't ask why). i had to resize the video down to fit my characters before i start rotoscoping.


  Tephladon () ( posted at 2:28AM Fri, 30 November 2007 · edited on 2:31AM Fri, 30 November 2007 · @3124023

Heyas folks.  I just wanted to chime in.  This is a great topic and I commend you on your efforts newhere.   It's better than anything I've ever come up with.

Anyway I have a solution that doesn't cost 20k.  It cost 5k which is affordable in most respects.
follow this URL
http://www.naturalpoint.com/optitrack/

Mocap is the only thing keeping my project from going forward.  I've got money aside and a team of people in my sight (actors) at a local acting, dance school, and gymnastics academy who are interested in what I'm doing.  I plan to make my purchase next year after I pay my taxes which is usually around the end of March.

Believe me when I tell you that children are by far much easier to work with as far as flexiblity.  Pre-teen children who are active are often very flexible, and those in the camps are general receptive to guidance.  The coaches here want their kids to be involved in projects like these to allow them to expand their engagement beyond the sport.  Just remember to gain support of their parents.  Atheletes generally don't mind the gimp suit.


  newhere () ( posted at 12:20PM Fri, 30 November 2007  · @3124270

Thanks for the link Tephladon I think everyone will benefit from this :)


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