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Animation done by hand from reference footage vs motion capture ...

Hi everyone,

I am just wondering in this day and age where animation is mostly done with motion capture if
it is feasible to try doing it by hand off reference footage.
That is if you are going for the realistic look.
Something that would stand up to Uncharted / Witcher 3 or Assassins Creed Syndicate.
Do you guys know of a game where this was actually done, recently and it looks good?
Or is it just a silly idea and wont stand up to motion capture?
Just playing with a few ideas how to get around the high cost of motion capture …
Thinking I could shoot an actor with two cameras, one tight on the face and one full body.
Then animate off that.
Thank you!

quite hard to be honest, if you want a realistic animation with blending and all that motion capture is the best option, you have many options to get good animations, like kinect on pc capture yourself doing stuff, or record yourself doing something and use that video as reference for blender anim, but is an extremely tedious work if you want it that way

Looks like you can buy the gear for as low as $1500 which is not too bad.
Its still is a chunk of money but reachable.
Maybe just buy the gear and learn how to use it.

Far less. Around 150$ for kinect 2/blender, and Nimate is additional 10$ a month. DIY Kinect Motion Capture Studio | Blender - YouTube
ipisoft is more expensive, but can use pseye cameras which can be picked up for around 15$ each. I started this route, and then bought the kinect 2 because it can detect finger bones more accurately than the older pseye lower res.
Ipisoft just has more features than nimate, but it comes at a higher price. All of that was around $600 for one year, but time wise it really sped up my project.
I’m not very good with animation, but I can mocap, and make loops/edit. I really want something with good blends
I animated a quadruped in about an hour. My dog only had to get on the treadmill for 5 minutes though. Lol. He’s old 16 years, so any more than that and it would’ve killed him.
Mocap Process | iPi Soft | Motion Capture Test - YouTube

[quote=“thadkinsjr, post:4, topic:102176”]

Far less. Around 150$ for kinect 2/blender, and Nimate is additional 10$ a month. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UPZtS5LVvw
ipisoft is more expensive, but can use pseye cameras which can be picked up for around 15$ each. I started this route, and then bought the kinect 2 because it can detect finger bones more accurately than the older pseye lower res.
Ipisoft just has more features than nimate, but it comes at a higher price. All of that was around $600 for one year, but time wise it really sped up my project.
I’m not very good with animation, but I can mocap, and make loops/edit. I really want something with good blends
I animated a quadruped in about an hour. My dog only had to get on the treadmill for 5 minutes though. Lol. He’s old 16 years, so any more than that and it would’ve killed him.https://youtube.com/watch?v=ydZPvb5wF2Q[/QUOTE]

O.k. great info thanks.
I also found faceshift.
Interesting you can use it with blender too.

Yeah. I seen that, and reallusion has some cool stuff also. They have the mocap plug ins that look really good.
I’ve never touched Iclone, but I’ve only heard good things.
On a side note. I feel sorry for the software/hardware developers that don’t make things available for Blender.
This new 2.8 version is looking extremely improved.

For the PS camera setup you need a large enough room to maneuver, plus the setup time is very long unless you have a spare room where you don’t ever move or mess up the initial setup with a proper grid drawn on the floor and lighting, even with that you’ll need that extra setup time which can be very demanding but worth it if you have the resources.

Kinect is hopelessly low quality to be usable for anything other than idle motions and the range it covers is also extremely limited.

The best method of affordable capture quality i’ve seen does indeed come from the PS camera setups but only if you have 6 or more cameras setup in a large enough space for you to do most moves like running and jumping.

Most practical setup so far and a middle ground to all this would be the mocap suit Neuron. You will need much more clean up work than the PS setup but its far more flexible and faster to setup since you can record from anywhere and doesn’t depend on cameras and can cover relatively larger distances.

Having said the above, mocap alone will not cut it to get anything near top quality work. I wouldn’t consider The witcher as top animation work, it’s good enough and in parts OK, Assassins creed is slightly more polished in some places than the witcher But Uncharted is superior to both because of the far greater extra animation work done over it to help the acting.

In terms of animation I will not look at just other games for reference but at animated movies. But if you must look at a few games for animation references I would go in the other direction with titles like, The last guardian, Shadow of the colossus, Inside (if you think minimalism). These animations are almost all hand animated and they are far superior in terms of characterization and emphasis on subtleties.

You must hand animate mocap later to a high degree in order to get best results. At this stage mocap becomes simply good reference to start from.

For faces and eyes, I have yet to see a mocap that will come close to a proper hand animated blendshape setup.

For your question about reference for footage, most definitely you can as reference, that’s how it was done before all these mocap libraries became mainstream. And for movement of animals such as horses and canines it is something to be seriously considered.

For 999USD you can get a mocap suit from Perception Neuron, body tracking without fingers, for 1499USD you can get a fully body mocap with fingers.

I own two of them and for motion capture session is worth the price :wink:

Cool thanks for all the answers!

This convinced me :slight_smile:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50iirLHXX54