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Animated Series Uses Kinect For Motion Capture 36

Posted by timothy
from the sneaking-into-the-budget dept.
baxpace writes "Thanks to all of the recent breakthroughs of Kinect hacks that have emerged, a new animated series is now in development that incorporates many open source middleware and wrappers available to us all in order to create an entire series with motion capture software using the Kinect, OpenNI, Brekel, MotionBuilder and Maya."
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Animated Series Uses Kinect For Motion Capture

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  • Will there be a plot, or is plot considered something 'shiny' dreamed up by 'mere marketers'?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sunfly (1248694)
      If you read the history of Pixar, their first films were animation for the sake of animation. They found themselves fast forwarding through their own work out of shear boredom. They quickly realized no motion picture will work without a real plot.
    • Not really. The series is about characters in a video game.

      So the fanboys don't care what it's about; they'll love it not mater what, and talk about how cool the technology is, and endlessly discuss if the motion capture and rendering details. It's kind of like going to a golf game and talking about nothing but who made the golf balls, clubs and shoes while not caring about the score.

      No actual entertainment will take place. Nothing to see here, move along.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No actual entertainment will take place.

        So in other words, exactly like going to a golf game.

      • (...) It's kind of like going to a golf game and talking about nothing but who made the golf balls, clubs and shoes while not caring about the score.

        No actual entertainment will take place. Nothing to see here, move along.

        So, nobody could possibly enjoy socializing and just having a chat. For "real" entertainment to occur people must conform to rigid parameters. I guess I don't enjoy any "real" entertainment either when I watch a bad movie solely for the purpose of ripping it to pieces with friends, I should just watch it silently and without distraction. I think not.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      if they took the time for making a plot they could be inspired to use the time to do the animations.
      now they'd also need to find dancers and gymnastics, instead of just the guy who could define how the said dancers and gymnastics should move.

      but as an art project.. well, it's a good learning project at least. but very boring in the sense that kinect isn't exactly rocket science nor does it prove anything new to be possible.

  • by snikulin (889460) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:06AM (#35427096)

    The gun is supposedly heavy. The body shields and the helmets are too.
    In the video I see dynamics of a Styrofoam toys.
    And it's not about this particular video.
    Now-days I see wrong dynamics in almost all of multi-million mega-busters too.
    In my time [insert a lengthy rant here]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In your day Charlie Chaplin still had to wear a real suit. We know ...

    • The gun is supposedly heavy. The body shields and the helmets are too.
      In the video I see dynamics of a Styrofoam toys.
      And it's not about this particular video.
      Now-days I see wrong dynamics in almost all of multi-million mega-busters too.
      In my time [insert a lengthy rant here]

      Just poor miming skills on the part of the actors, although they kind of get a way with because its done in a video game "style". They could use something like Endorphin [naturalmotion.com] to add a bit of weight/dynamics to their movements though.

    • And the voice acting and writing is bad, too. I mean, painful.

      This is the time where the clever animators need to get on the phone and call all their friends who got degrees in English or theater, if they have any ambition at all.

    • by Skidborg (1585365)
      Which could be solved by having the actors wear real weights while they're doing the motion capture. Not that they'll do it, of course.
      • by mangu (126918)

        Which could be solved by having the actors wear real weights while they're doing the motion capture. Not that they'll do it, of course.

        What about having them wear real muscles? In the times when swords and shields were used, everything was hard work for everyone, man, woman, and child.

        Before breakfast could be served, the house wife had to knead dough to make bread. The little boy had to go to the well and bring a bucket of water. Meanwhile the husband was milking the cow. Day to day life was an endless iron pumping for everyone.

        I have a friend who has an uncle in Spain who makes replicas of medieval battle axes. They weigh up to 30 kilos.

        • by Duradin (1261418)

          I doubt 11th century muscles were swinging 30kg/60lb "battle axes". Even the Huscarl axes was nowhere close to 60lbs. (Here's a hint: they didn't fight with 20lb swords either.)

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          <videogame>It's POWERED armor!</videogame>

          Ye olde power-assisted armor trick for videogames - always a nice way to explain away all the excessive weight and such.

          Of course, the dynamics change a lot in non-intuitive ways because unfortunately, *mass* is still there...

  • a new animated series is now in development that incorporates many open source middleware and wrappers [...] the Kinect, OpenNI, Brekel, MotionBuilder and Maya.

    Maya? Not the open-source Blender [blender.org]?

    • by LetterRip (30937) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @03:40AM (#35427356)

      Maya? Not the open-source Blender?

      The important part was Motionbuilder. Right now Blender doesn't have the tools for dealing with motion capture to give 'clean' results from mocap data. Thus until such time as our tools for mocap improve Blender won't be a suitable choice. Maya can import easily the files output by Maya.

      • What's missing in Blender. You can easily create animation keyframes from Python scripts? If they went such great lengths to integrate an opensource middleware, I don't think it would be hard to make it work in Blender. What cleaning tools do you need beside a sliding window average?

  • by boorack (1345877) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @04:34AM (#35427486)

    I hope it will spark a significant change in video game / VR content creation. Contemporary technology went great lengths in core engine / content display / etc. but costs of creating interactive 3D content / VR worlds is still prohibitive. That significant cost propably limits innovation: if production of a single title with decent graphics costs XXmm$, there is very little incentive to risk targeting other than usual/well tested audience (mostly teens) ?

    I hope to see video game/VR industry equipping with tools lowering their costs to the point where high quality 3D content creation will be accessible / easy to use for small studios / artists, so they will be to use it to convey a wide range of stories just like film makers are doing it. Kinect is a good step in this direction.

    Widely available inexpensive and easy to use content creation tools coupled with widely available 3D engines can transform this field into what film making is today (exluding MPAA). Kinect can do magic in this regard !

  • by cyclomedia (882859) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @05:50AM (#35427726) Homepage Journal

    I'm wondering how long before they are sued because at least one of their techniques is patented, seems like the sort of thing that would be teeming with IP.

  • Will this enable someone to convert human movement into game animations?

    Or am I tripping here?

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      As long as it's made compatible with conventional mocap interfaces there's no problem. Game companies have been using motion capturing for years (with a lot of cleanup of the recorded data).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by chenjeru (916013)

      Yes, but Kinect mocap data is very low quality in comparison to what most studios use for professional production. Also, the skeleton tracking doesn't include rotations of the head, feet or hands. On top of this, it doesn't track props, fingers or faces so it is quite limited. If you watched the video you hear the narrator talking about the Kinect getting them 70% there with lots of tweaking (he specifically mentioned adding head animation). The great advantage with Kinect, of course, is cost.

      For high end w

      • by vrmlguy (120854)

        Yes, but Kinect mocap data is very low quality in comparison to what most studios use for professional production. Also, the skeleton tracking doesn't include rotations of the head, feet or hands. On top of this, it doesn't track props, fingers or faces so it is quite limited. If you watched the video you hear the narrator talking about the Kinect getting them 70% there with lots of tweaking (he specifically mentioned adding head animation).

        So for the next release, you put red and green stickers on the left and right sides of everything, so the software can tell which side it's seeing. (Hey, maybe I should patent this idea!)

        I'm disappointed that there were no links to the software in the story. Google turns up some open source motion capture software, but everything I've found so far predates the Kinect. Anyone know what they're using? (I haven't watched the video yet, so maybe it'll be there.)

  • At first I thought the stiff motion was due to poor motion capture, but then I realized that the guys are moving really stiffly. It looks unnatural, but somehow it's actually the actors' fault rather than the technology's.

  • Cool technology regardless of if the series is any good.
  • This is one more case where the technology is giving ordinary people the capabilities to create very good content, and slowly shifting the power from the big entertainment corporations to these people. Somebody can tell it already happened (youtube, torrent LEGAL distribution, etc), but I believe we are just seeing the beginning of it. Yes, I know that Hollywood still have fat-asses computers and crews to do prettier and more real animations and stuff, but the majority of their plots is awful. With a good p

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