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3d software that mimics movement

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Is there software that can mimic movements without mocap? I wanted to find a program that could use a 3d model or 3d "skeleton" and could mimic movements of a video clip or etc. I know its a confusing question my apologies, lets see for a exaMPLE clip of a guy doing martial arts and a program that could like scan the clip and place a 3d model, polygon or whatever duplicating the movements in the clip? Does such thing exist? Thanks

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You're basically asking for something that will translate a 2D image into a 3D model. That kind of algorithm would be revolutionary. Human brains are really good at constructing a 3D world from a movie or a photo; computers are not.

I'm sure you could write some highly specialized software that would work under tightly controlled circumstances. For instance, I met the owner of this company a few years ago. They can turn 2D photos of your face into a 3D model.

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Actually, I think he's talking about motion capture by tracking points (joints) in a video and translating them to a model's skeleton. It wouldn't be that difficult.

1) Where a suit that has a bright color on each joint: knees, elbows, wrists, ankles, feet, neck, top of head, and some up the spine (back and front). Having specific colors for each spot would make the process easier.

2) Setup 2 or more video cameras to record at different angles, and record someone doing something.

3) Run a program that follows the points and records the changes they make over time. If the camera angles are hardcoded into the system, it will be relatively easy to position them into 3D space.

Of course, by easy, I mean relative to the fact that you're making a homemade motion capture system.

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Actually, can someone elaborate on why motion capture is not used more widely ? I guess you'd need a set of trackers, but isnt it many times faster than doing animation manually ?

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I don't use motion capture, and wouldn't want to for most situations. Even though the animation is recorded, you still have to convert the system to a skeleton in an animation program to manually fix glitches and abnormalities.

Manually posing animation with modern software looks just as good as the real thing, and is pretty easy to work with. On average, I would say it takes me about 15 minutes to create a general purpose action animation for a game.

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Quote:
Original post by Karnot
Actually, can someone elaborate on why motion capture is not used more widely ? I guess you'd need a set of trackers, but isnt it many times faster than doing animation manually ?


moh-cap is used in a majority of AAA titles. the cons:

a) it's expensive -> pay for real-life stunt actors & rent time at the facility
b) you still have to clean up the raw data -> that means still paying an animator

the benefits are that it supposedly allows for more realistic animation with less animator effort. it doesn't necessarily save any money, just time.

-me

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And buying a mocap suit isn't an option for small operations. Cheaper mocap suits can still run as much as $10,000, and state-of-the-art stuff is many times more expensive.

In Second Life, at least, one can tell the difference between mocapped animations and keyframed. Mocaps, like the "salsa" dance, are smoother and more realistic. Keyframes, which make up the majority of SL animations, often look pretty good, but not as good as mocap.

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Quote:
Original post by Groot
In Second Life, at least, one can tell the difference between mocapped animations and keyframed. Mocaps, like the "salsa" dance, are smoother and more realistic. Keyframes, which make up the majority of SL animations, often look pretty good, but not as good as mocap.

From what little time I spent checking it out, the animation in SL looked really bad, all around. I bailed too soon to get a chance to see salsa dances, though.

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I've heard that motion capture in games is declining in favor of physics engines

i can see that it would have the following advantages
1: cost
2: not having to coordinate development with a external studio or department
3: can be dynamic and adapt to game variables rather than essentially being a static movie

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For the record, any kind of animation techniques can..

3) be dynamic and adapt to game variables rather than essentially being a static movie

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Quote:
Original post by Kaze
I've heard that motion capture in games is declining in favor of physics engines

i can see that it would have the following advantages
1: cost
2: not having to coordinate development with a external studio or department
3: can be dynamic and adapt to game variables rather than essentially being a static movie


Physics is only good for ragdoll. You know, dead body... can't think of anything else.

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Quote:
Original post by Kaze
kinematics systems can make smooth animation with just a few manually placed skeletal key frames
Sure, but those few keyframes don't capture the full set of movement that the model makes. For example, if I make a keyframed animation of a human waving his hand back and forth, I could set two keyframes - one with the hand at the left end of the wave, and one with the hand at the right end. I could even tell the model to sweep along a curved path between those two points, so it makes a partial circle. But that doesn't control how the model's elbow or shoulder moves; it just ensures that the hand gets to where it needs to be without breaking the skeleton. A realistic wave might involve complex full-arm motions that wouldn't be easily captured with simple keyframes; you need much more complex animating to get something that looks realistic.

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They've used motion capture animation throughout a 3D adventure game/movie Indigo Prophecy (aka Fahrenheit in Europe). I doubt that it could've been made any other way.

The company behind it is probably using a similar approach in their future title (it was called Heavy Rain earlier, but I think they've renamed it). Look into it.

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