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SiCrane

Hobbyist motion capture

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Does anyone know of any affordable options for a motion capture setup for the hobbyist? The cheapest package I can find online is about $5000 US including hardware and software. While I'm not adverse to spending money on this, that's a little out of my price range. Or more to the point, at that price I could hire artists to do the work for me and probably get better results.

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What results are you looking for,

The cheapest way would be to just video tape the motion and manually line up the bones in the 3d program, you would have to estimate z axis and it would be bit labor intensive.

Their is probably software to do motion capture in a automated way without needing specialized hardware but I don't know how well it would work.

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theoretically if you strapped a wiimote to every part of your body you could make a fairly effective motion capture system but im not sure if anyones actually tried that

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Quote:
Original post by Kaze
What results are you looking for,

The cheapest way would be to just video tape the motion and manually line up the bones in the 3d program, you would have to estimate z axis and it would be bit labor intensive.

Their is probably software to do motion capture in a automated way without needing specialized hardware but I don't know how well it would work.



No need to estimate the z-axis - just use 2 cameras placed at right angles, and stand in the field of view of both.

Also, tape lots of ping-pong balls to your clothes [wink]

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Yeah, if you want mocap on the cheap you do rotoscoping instead of mocap, with two cameras and a bunch of markers. It's actually not that painful to do, given that mocap data needs to be cleaned up anyway.

Alternatively, the CMU mocap database is very comprehensive in some areas, though it lacks depth in certain other areas useful to game development. Worth having a look-see, at the very least.

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I've taken a look at using existing mocap data like from CMU and other free animation sites, and while there's plenty of data for locomotion and similar activities, animation data for things like walking and running already comes with my animation software. Online databases seem remarkably short on things like "Green Dragon Emerging from Water" or "Wind Sweeps the Plum Blossoms".

I've tried rotoscoping, and with my 3D animation skills its hard to get a result that looks right in a reasonable amount of time. Yes, hands and feet are in the right positions, but getting hips and center of mass to look right is significantly harder. (It doesn't help that I don't seem to have the "feel" for 3D animation. I'll get a bunch of key frames that look right individually, go through a preview animation and be satisfied, and then only after rendering do I notice that my model is moving like there are no bones in his spine.)

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You're really not going to find a good method of motion capture for cheap, unless of course you're competent at programming and you can rig up some home brew method. As was suggested above, rotoscoping is a good route, filming yourself doing various movements in general is a good idea, whether or not you use it as a guide.

If you're animating less conventional things that aren't based on reality it's best to observe animals or things that are similar to it. If you're animating a dragon coming out of the water study reptiles like alligators, komodo dragons, etc.

A good book to pick up is The Animator's Survival Kit (can find it on Amazon) it's considered The Bible when it comes to animation, and what it talks about can be applied to anything in the animation field. So that might help if you're having problems with how your animation looks when you're rotoscoping.

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