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Old 02-03-2003, 11:29 PM   #1
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Default Using Motion Capture

From reading F1 in Maya, I have come to understand that Maya is capable of using motion capture for animation purposes. What I don't understand is how you get a system that will do this. I did a little research and found a company that is widely used among video game companies, motion films, and television studios. http://www.motionanalysis.com/index.html Their software is compatible with Maya, 3D Studio Max, Lightwave, and Softimage. By the looks of it, however, I am under the impression that you cannot purchase it, but must travel out to California to their studio and perform there. This seems impractical. Can anyone shed some light on this?
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Old 03-03-2003, 12:02 AM   #2
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Motion capture and motion tracking are two different things. I believe moton capturing refer's to capturing movements of an actor. Motion tracking refer's to tracking camera movements. Maya live can do the latter. You shoot some footage and track it in Maya. After you've done you are able to add some CG elements to the footage. This is it in a nut shell but there's far more to it
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Old 03-03-2003, 01:52 AM   #3
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I actually know a bit about Motion Capture (MOCAP), when I went to school we had a Motion Capture Studio. Which was really cool, basically the setup is a room with 8-9 different cameras set up looking at space on the floor. And the character, or person gets in this black spandex suit, talk about uncomfy.. believe me.. urgh. Anyways lil ping-pong ball markers are placed using velcro on the body suit, around the forehead, neck, arms, waist. etc. Different pointers consisting of the body, roughly there's about 26 points on the body. Well the program that we used was Kaydara, and the cameras are connected to the computer. And once the camera picked up these pointers from the suit on the screen you attach them to a "virtual skeleton" in the Kaydara program. Once all is said in done you capture the "motion" or the movements of the pointers, and after the animation is saved. You can then export the skeleton into Maya or whatever 3d program your using and then just attach the skeleton to your 3D character.. and the animation is already done.
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Old 03-03-2003, 02:10 AM   #4
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BAH, wow, sounds awesome. One thing billyz... could you get a huge sheet of blackness and hang it off some trees in your backyard right before its totally dark.. then have it span on the floor.. then make a suit thats black and put ping pong balls on and capture it will a good home camera? If you could, damn.. that would be awesome.. then use a program like "Kaydara" like you were saying and that would honestly be soo cool.
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Old 03-03-2003, 02:22 AM   #5
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Yeah, I know about the suit, the cameras, and all that stuff. It's pretty cool, don't you think? And I guess I am needing a motion capture system, not a motion tracking system. I would really like to have one of these things dispite the amount of money I'm sure they cost. I just don't want to drive myself into a hole by buying this thing and not knowing how to hook it up and everything. From the looks of all the wiering and setup, it looks fairly complex. Motion Analysis Co. (link to their site in 1st post) has a downloadable catalog that has a lot of items in there, but I don't see one of those grid things you step on. They also have a sword-fighting animation that is super cool. It looks so realistic! I imported a body mesh I had previously made, then attached it to the skeleton, then added a simple poly sword and let'er rip. This just makes me want it so much more.
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Old 03-03-2003, 02:40 PM   #6
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I'm sorry to inform you that these products are not for people to have at home. Not even many companies have them as they are so expensive and need so much expertese. Most 3d studios, gaming companies etc. contract specialized companies to do their mocap and it's generally really expensive. You can also buy stock mocap but that is expensive as well (about 100 dollars for each animation I think).

The prices for a relatively cheap mocap wich is the MotionStar and is magnectic with wires costs 25000$ and I think to have an optical system you are getting closer to 100000$ or more.

A good thing about for example Character Studio for Max is that you get lots of sample data that you can use for your animations... There are probably cheaper stock cd:s out there but I'm not aware of them.

To hire a studio is quite expensive but you can have it as cheap as for 2000$/day. Then the animations have to be cleaned and that could cost more.

This is the reason why smaller gaming companies use hand animations even if mocap would suit them better...
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Old 03-03-2003, 02:51 PM   #7
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StockMoves™ GENERIC. Free motion data resource! http://www.e-motek.com/

Here you go... this should keep you all busy for a while :p
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Old 03-03-2003, 07:18 PM   #8
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actually a lot of companies use keyframe animation anyway because they like the look or they feel that cleaning up the data is a poor solution.

Don't mean to make light of your question (TOO much), but this struck me as being a lot like saying "I've always wanted to have my own 747 that I could buzz around the neighborhood when I needed to get out a little bit. I don't want to blow the bank on it though..."

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Old 03-03-2003, 11:09 PM   #9
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Mark - I didn't know how much these things cost at first. If it was in a reasonable price range, I would buy it, but since it isn't I have no chance. So I really don't see anything wrong with me saying that I want a motion capture system, but don't want to blow a lot of money on it.

You see, I'm a sword fighter and as you can imagine, it would be a lot easier to do a swordfight with motion capture rather than key it all and would look a lot better in my opinion. I have seen smaller systems on TV than what I have seen on the web. Systems that look like they could fit in a large closet perhaps. If these are more affordable (even if they are lower quality) I would spend the money for one of them.
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Old 03-03-2003, 11:27 PM   #10
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Oh I know that these systems are very expensive, extremely. But why not find an alternative, I know that my college rented the Motion Capture Suite to outside companies. Why not see if there's a studio close to where you live and see if you could rent it for an hour or so. I'm sure it would be much cheaper.
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Old 03-03-2003, 11:59 PM   #11
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Heh. Not in Georgetown, Kentucky. The University of Kentucky MIGHT have one since it's the biggest university ine the state, but it's very doubtful. I would have to either drive to a location and use it there or buy my own. And besides, this is something I want to spend hours with. I want to use it again and again, experiment with it, use it, learn it.
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Old 04-03-2003, 04:11 AM   #12
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Sorry, didn't mean to tweak you too badly.

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