On to the post, a re-post from my blog:
As many of you must already have, a few months ago I heard about using a Kinect Sensor for Motion Capture to create animations. I bought one and tried using Brekel but the results were not good enough (glitchy, weird) and the workflow wasn’t too straightforward either. Now a few days ago while searching (and avoiding the almost-omnipresent iPiSoft) I found a free open-source software called KMotion Capturer by Akira32 (site is in Chinese but he usually translates his KMotion Capturer related posts).
This software captures from Kinect and saves it into a .ms (MaxScript) file for use in 3ds Max. While you’re not able to see the real-time movements directly in your character, the result is an animated Biped skeleton which allows for easy transfer of the animation into your own character. Mocap is only ever a base for animations which requires adjusting and cleanup (further in this case, since the Kinect is limited in bones and other stuff) so it doesn’t represent a problem.
It also uses Voice Commands for the different functions so it’s easy to use even without being at the keyboard to control it.
I really like this approach and the resulting workflow, but I encountered a few problems:
- It only exports bone positions and Biped only allows setting positions on the rootbone, elbows, wrists, knees and feet; the rest are ignored. As such, the resulting animations are blocky and robotic (sample proof).
- It’s only available as source which is unfriendly for most artists. And despite the author’s effort of translating his related posts to English, the software is mostly unknown.
- It could use a few extra minor features (control the Kinect Sensor’s rotation, a more natural spine, some customization, etc).
- It might be a little early to say this, but it seems it might be abandonded.
The results so far are promising, I’m already able to export rotations for all bones (thanks to the new functionality in the Kinect SDK 1.5) producing a more natural animation. It's still not at the quality level I'm looking for though (getting close) so I'll keep on developing it. After that a public release should come.
I've tried contacting the original author about it but it's been weeks and I've gotten no response from him, so I'll just continue this on my own. The changes have been significant and I'm already planning more features for it (maybe capturing facial animation) so I'm thinking about changing the name of the program to something more "of my own". So far the name KinectBiped sounds good in my head but I'm open to suggestions.
and also my idea is to release the program for free and accept donations via paypal, how would that sound?
Here's a video of a test capture
and I'm attaching a picture of the program running