The question I was trying to answer for my Motion Capture project was: Can I use motion capture to successfully animate a non-human character?
The answer, much to my surprise, is YES!
It’s safe to say this motion capture final render won’t work its way into any award shows, however, I realise that I shouldn’t be so hard on my self. I took a risk and tried to achieve something that was outside my comfort zone, so it’s also safe to say I actually managed to pull it off, if not somewhat awkwardly.
This is one project that I will be spending more time on though, so check back later and hopefully, Vardo will be doing some pretty inspiring things.
(Skip to the bottom if you just want to watch the movie.)
After hours and hours working on this assignment, it’s finally done. I’m not going to say it’s perfect by any stretch, there are quite a few things I”d love to spend some more time on fixing but due to time constraints, two other assignments and an essay I have due in three weeks I am calling it a day on this. (Unless I have time to revisit before it’s finally due on the 25th October)
Here is the title I create for it, I feel like it sets the tone rather well.
I have learned A LOT over the last semester, this being my first introduction to Motion Capture it’s been a steep learning curve, but an exciting and enjoyable one. From my first class until now I am left enthused about the next two years and can’t wait to integrate the knowledge I have gained into my next project.
Overall I am pleased with what I have created, I just wish I didn’t zero in on the imperfections. That being said I will probably continue to work on this when time permits.
The process of MoCap wasn’t as complicated as I first expected it to be, the pipeline is mostly straightforward providing you follow the steps correctly and take the time to ensure each step is carried out correctly as each steps measure of success depends on the one that goes before it.
Having the previous knowledge of how Maya works has been helpful, and I have found that the skills I have learned in both Animation and Motion Capture have beneficial to both subjects, and hopefully means I will continue to deliver better work as I progress my learning.
I have found that taking responsibility for my own learning vital while doing this assignment, which has required watching other tutorials to also expand my understanding of the subject.
I have learned the importance of creating a strong story line from the start so when you are capturing your data you ensure a good end product that follows your script and storyline. I hope to improve these skills also. I believe that I have created an end product that kept in mind my original storyboard and also keeping in mind how this story will unfold in a 3D space.
When I undertake my next project I believe I will take greater care to film the live action from the camera angles I intend on using inside Maya, as it will help when animating characters expressions and finger placement. I will also take create care when capturing the data and fixing it. I have this strange issue with my male leads neck which I was unable to solve in every instance, taking greater care at the first steps should ensure I do not have this issue again.
Anyhow, below is my final edit. I’ll update it here if I make any more changes. Feel free to leave feedback. All constructive criticism is appreciated.
After spending the afternoon in AUT’s amazing motion capture room we have to fix our data in a program called Cortex. It’s not exactly hard, but it’s time-consuming and tedious and takes high attention to detail. At this point, I think our entire group started to realise the importance of capturing good data while recording.
Here is a screenshot of what cortex looks like, I actually forgot to take a screenshot, that’s how focused I was.
After fixing the motion capture data you import into Autodesk and the real fun can begin. To cut a longish story short this where you tell the character which part of the body belongs to which dot, so the motion can be transferred to it. I felt very Dr Frankinstine as is saw my inert characters suddenly spring to life.
You repeat this process for each character, and THEN you can import them into your Autodesk Maya scene.
After that comes the tricky process of making sure their hands don’t go weird, or pass through something that should be solid. I found this part tricky trying to handle all the different animation layers and the graphs. I had quite a few times where one of their arms would bend into a totally inhuman shape.
Then when you have it playing out the way you like you position the cameras. We were given specific cameras to work with.
Then it’s just a matter of creating playblasts and assembling in Premier Pro and editing your audio. I can assure you this took a lot more time than I am implying here.
This is my first edit. In my next post, I will post my final Godzilla Previs. Which I loving refer to as Ohmygodzilla.