View Full Version : Help me pick a mocap system

05-27-2011, 03:19 PM
I have about 10-15k USD to spend on a complete system. I have done some research but have yet to find a definitive review or opinion from someone in "the know" about it. I would LOVE to get an inertial system but the cheapest one I can find is 20k (and that is a big maybe). My main requirements are a system that can be expanded to handle larger areas and/or more people at a time. Real time isn't necessary. I would like to have markerless in the case of optical based.

So does anybody have any solid opinions?

05-28-2011, 07:06 AM
I worked with inertial systems. Big problems with absolute positioning in space. You cannot record jumps, dances, stunts, sports, because the absolute position of the actor is not tracked, but interpolated by software. You will end up in Motionbuilder, animating all position changes. And if you run out of warranty nobody will help you with hardware failures, which are quit common with these systems. A cheap optical, like IPIsoft needs a big room for proper recording, and some work in Motionbuilder for cleaning the data. So, you should also add Motionbuilder also to your pipeline.

05-28-2011, 07:20 AM
buy a kinect and save yourself about 14kusd :)

So does anybody have any solid opinions? the answer to that would be "No idea " :)

goodluck what ever you buy

05-28-2011, 10:14 AM
Hmm sounds like I don't want inertial then. So how good are these optical markerless systems exactly? ipi looks good but I'm stuck with whatever I get and such an inexpensive system...doesn't seem future proof somehow. As far as kinect, probably need to shoot higher haha. There is no telling what sort of things I will have to capture with this thing.

Have Motionbuilder and Maya in the pipeline already. Cleaning up mocap data, ya probably can't avoid but hopefully a good system will minimize it.

05-28-2011, 10:30 AM
tbh ipi gets better and better to the point its workable ,iv'e never meet mocap data that you dont need to tweak in some form .

same with brekel ok give it time , but for free software I highly recommend it , its nice you have big budget to go mental with just remember cheaper alternatives are out there , but for tax reason or business reasons ie getting rid of dosh go mentalllllllllllllllll

05-28-2011, 12:05 PM
Check out http://www.truebones.com

They now sell a Kinect Mocap System.

I would advise you to check it out as I have been getting Fantastic results.

Thanks and Cheers

05-28-2011, 12:08 PM
The department have given me a unique opportunity. Probably won't get another chance to obtain things like this. Facial mocap, full body system etc. I have to turn in my choice next week. Wish I had more experience with this stuff.

Hey thanks mrbones, I will check it out.

05-28-2011, 12:16 PM
Might want to PM Greenlaw. He seems to do quite a bit with MOCAP.
Also, Cageman, he works for Ubisoft doesn't he? If he doesn't have direct experience with MOCAP he probably has access to the people who do.

Just a thought.

05-28-2011, 12:26 PM
The department have given me a unique opportunity. Probably won't get another chance to obtain things like this. Facial mocap, full body system etc. I have to turn in my choice next week. Wish I had more experience with this stuff.

Hey thanks mrbones, I will check it out.

Go mental then blow it all , because if you do not ,next time you will not get the chance

05-28-2011, 12:45 PM
Hmm sounds like I don't want inertial then. So how good are these optical markerless systems exactly? ipi looks good but I'm stuck with whatever I get and such an inexpensive system...doesn't seem future proof somehow. As far as kinect, probably need to shoot higher haha. There is no telling what sort of things I will have to capture with this thing. That said, within limits, it works very well.

Have Motionbuilder and Maya in the pipeline already. Cleaning up mocap data, ya probably can't avoid but hopefully a good system will minimize it.
I've been pretty happy with iPi Desktop Motion Capture. I've been using it for about two or three years now. It started out as a tweaky hobbyist 'toy' but I've seen it grow into surprisingly good 'entry level' production tool in this past year.

The standard version is compatible with six PS3 Eye cameras or one Kinect. The PS3 Eye setup produces the most professional results and has the most flexibility for the types of action you can capture but it requires a lot more preparation, space and accessories. The Kinect setup is literally plug-and-play but it's limited to a small capture space and has occlusion issues, meaning you pretty much have to perform to camera.

Recording can be done on many standard computers with a fast drive (SSD recommneded.) For the PS3, you need one USB 2 controller for every two cameras. (Controllers must not be confused with ports; more about this in the iPi Wiki.) Tracking requires a computer with a modern graphics card like a GTX 260 or better (I use a GTX 460 and tracking takes about 0.6 seconds per frame with it.)

You can record and track on two different computers. For example, for PS3, I record and track on the same workstation, but for Kinect, I record using a laptop and track on the workstation.

I primarily use the PS3 system because it's more capapble, but it's handy to have the Kinect available since I can use it in the house for quick and simple takes.

iPi Studio (the tracking part of DMC,) exports video, variouis flavors of .bvh (including MB compatible,) and other popular motion formats. You can define multiple takes from a session and export them as individual motion clips.

For retargeting I use Motion Builder 2011, but Animeeple works reasonably well and it's free. (Note: I hear that when released, Lightwave 10.1 should be fully compatible with Animeeple.) iPi Studio is also capable of basic retargeting; just import a compatible rigged character via Collada. I haven't used this feature but some people are reporting good results with 'standard' human characters.

For Lightwave, I export an FBX to Motion Builder, import an iPi .bvh, do some MB magic, and export an FBX for motion only import to Lightwave. For the most part, this works like a charm, and I'm sure it will be even better after 10.1 is released.

I'm just glossing over details here; you can read more in other iPi threads here in the NewTek forums or get more info from the iPi Software website and forums.

Here's one I started a while back: iPi Studio Desktop Motion Capture Tests
The info there is a little old though because I've been too busy at work for a few months to work on my own projects. We're almost done at work though so I'll try to update the thread with new info soon after. (A lot has happened since my last post on the thread.) :)

In short, if you want to go 'entry level', iPi is not a bad place to start. Just be aware of what you need to do to get what you want, and what the actual costs are. The software itself is under $1000 ($395 for the 'Kinect-only' version) but it can cost up to a couple thousand if you go 'all out', which is a lot less than your 14k budget. But if you really have that much to spend, you might want to ask about the Optitrack system from Natural Point It starts at about 7k. Megalodon, who frequents these forums, uses it and it sounds like he really likes it.

BTW, here's a pic of my iPi DMC 'stage': http://littlegreendog.blogspot.com/2010/11/acting.html


05-28-2011, 01:07 PM
One more thing I should add: iPi Desktop Motion Capture does not track the head yet. The developers are currently working on this though. It does track all the other major limbs and torso, and it can track the feet (feet tracking is usually very solid,) and it even tracks your shoulders.

No hand tracking and that's not likely to come; that said, many 'high-end' markerless systems do not capture the hands during a performance either.


05-28-2011, 02:39 PM
I was looking over some of the sites that are more in line with the Vicom (which I think is the standard.) Naturalpoint, http://www.naturalpoint.com/optitrack/products/motion-capture/?gclid=CM_N4eS8i6kCFcN05QodeV4prQ, has two separate types of systems and different scale of packages inside of those types. They also offer a facial mocap system,http://www.naturalpoint.com/optitrack/products/motion-capture/face-mocap.html

You could get a six camera system (of the USB variety) with the pro facial capture setup inside your budget. (Although from the diagrams I think you may still have to shell out for the tripods for the cameras.) Or you could get the six camera ethernet system and the entry level facial mocap for a little over (about $23K) but maybe they would cut you a deal for purchasing two systems?

I have no idea of the actual quality of the system though. Perhaps see what their return policy is first (30day/90day)?

Also notice it is a marker based system which I know you had said you weren't really looking for.

05-28-2011, 04:38 PM
brekel and ipi is working on multi user tracking . Megalodon you mentioned in earlier thread about work ; use this system if you can and export mocap data , no matter how trivia , ie picking a pencil off the ground , then sell the data

as for hand and head tracking its done and also free ! google it !

05-28-2011, 05:52 PM
Another vote for ipi. I've a setup with 4 PS Eye cameras with pretty good results. You want to invest part of the budget in animation software like motionbuilder, this is the trickiest part of the pipeline IMO.

05-28-2011, 06:12 PM
as for hand and head tracking its done and also free ! google it !

post url links or 'it never happened' :devil:


05-28-2011, 06:49 PM
Wow thanks for the responses! I actually have planned already to pick up Maskarad. I played around with the sample output files and it was great. Vastly better than using the built in MB speech analyzer. I already have a pretty good MB>LW setup. 10.1 solidifies it even more. Anyway...

Some good suggestions here. I was fearing ipi because it was very inexpensive but I feel better about it after hearing all this. Seems it will be between a 24 camera optitrac and a ipi setup. If I go with ipi I might be able to invest in faster workstations ;)

05-28-2011, 07:22 PM
Oh, one more thing: the iPi developers did mention a while back that they plan include prop tracking and support for two Kinects. FWIW, I've used props in my iPi DMC mocap but they tended to be thin and not too obstructive. (The sword in that test I did a year ago with the four camera PS3 Eye setup was a good example.)

05-28-2011, 07:34 PM
Maskarad, never heard of it before. They have a 3ds max motion transfer video example; seems a lot of work, I can't imagine how hard could it be with LW.

05-28-2011, 08:51 PM
Titus, I didn't think it was much trouble. It has a bunch of morph animation curves and you simply copy them to the appropriate morph target that you setup. Of course I have never used any other mocap anything, so that might be awful.

Greenlaw, what's the big deal with kinect?

05-28-2011, 09:30 PM
Before investing, I would borrow a Kinect if you don't already own one and try out the trial version from iPi Software's website. The trial will allow you to save motion and video data for up to 30 days; after that you can still use it, you just can't save motion data. If you can get a hold of four or more PS3 Eye cameras you could test them too, but as I explained earlier, using the PS3 Eye cameras is a bit more involved. The tracking process with either Kinect or PS3 Eye is similar though.

BTW, here's a very cool teaser trailer a user who calls himself 1ko made using iPi with three cameras (two highend cameras and one PS3 Eye.):

Danse Kabyle Teaser (http://vimeo.com/22028464)

This is the finest example of iPi DMC use I've seen to date.

One of these days my wife and I will get our iPi DMC/Lightwave short film finished. (Sigh!) :)


05-28-2011, 09:46 PM
Greenlaw, what's the big deal with kinect?
I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. If you're asking why do I use a Kinect if I already have a PS3 Eye setup, well it's simply a matter of convenience. With the Kinect system, I just plug it in and it works; no special lighting, clothing or calibration required. If I need a simple motion immediately, I can just shoot in my living room with the Kinect using my laptop. This is easier than transporting our mocap workstation to our 'stage' and calibrating the system. (Of course if we need a complicated motion, it's well worth the effort to do this extra work.)

The Kinect system is also arguably cheaper. Technically, you can buy four or five PS3 Eye cameras for the price of a single Kinect, but you will also need to purchase accessories for the PS3 setup. For example: USB repeater cables, a maglite, Helicoil kit, light stands, and optionally you may need special clothing and a basic light kit. (Our own stage is a bit of 'overkill' for iPi DMC but of course we use this stage for a lot more than just motion capture sessions.)

The drawback with the Kinect is that the type of motion you can capture with is somewhat limited compared to what you can capture with more advanced systems (four to six PS3 Eye setup and more advanced systems.) In the future, iPi plans to add support for a second Kinect, which will solve some of the occlusion issues, but then the cost of two Kinects makes this version of the system a bit more expensive too.

Hope this helps.

05-28-2011, 10:06 PM
Hey thanks greenlaw, and thanks to everybody for helping out. I suppose I have some thinking to do.

05-29-2011, 07:30 AM
post url links or 'it never happened' :devil:


I will my friend once my head stops spinning and my hangover dies either that or I will probably die first

05-29-2011, 08:44 AM
http://www.free-track.net/english/ I digged this up



05-29-2011, 10:59 AM
Forgive me but it seems the first is "head" tracking not hand tracking. The other is a research deal which is meaningless for me at least.

Plenty of water, caffeine, and Ibuprofin is the ticket for the hangover ;^{)>

05-29-2011, 11:10 AM
phwa more beer == solution

yeah the links where just random googles

05-29-2011, 12:32 PM
We call that "hair of the dog" cure.

05-29-2011, 12:47 PM
I remember back in my early 20's my prefered hangover cures were:
water and aspirin after you drink before bed (gives it all night to work before you wake)
and gin and orange juice (when mixed in the appropriate ratio tastes just like grapefruit juice)

05-29-2011, 03:07 PM
http://www.ipisoft.com/ IPISOFT is so good and so cheap!

12-23-2011, 01:31 PM
You know thats right. Just a reminder folks

You can now get the dual kinect sensor Basic Version of iPiSoft for only$399.00!

This will be the lowest price on iPiSoft ever. Until December 31st

Only from Truebones.com :D http://bit.ly/iPiBasicOnSale

Get iPiSoft Basic Markerless Mocap Studio for Christmas!

Now over 30% off all iPiSoft products untill 2012!

iPi Desktop Motion Capture™ is a breakthrough markerless motion capture digital content creation software tool that uses sophisticated image processing and computer vision algorithms to recognize and track the human body.

The iPi Basic system is designed for use with 1 or 2 Xbox Kinects or 3 to 4 webcams (Sony PS Eye recommended). iPi Soft Mocap brings a low-cost professional solution for capturing accurate animation data comparable to expensive traditional marker-based mocap systems, without the need for expensive facility space, clumsy sensor suits with reflective markers or a team of technicians.

iPiSoft Motion Capture is a desktop solution that brings a totally new workflow paradigm to filmmakers, CG animator broadcast motion graphics designers, videogame developers and prosumers in entertainment, military and other vertical markets.

You can record a video right at your workplace using a Microsoft Kinect sensors or webcams and have it converted to 3D animation on your PC. Captured animations do not exhibit artifacts like jitter or foot skate and can be easily exported in popular animation formats including FBX, BVH and COLLADA.

With integrated motion transfer, animations can instantly be re-targeted to custom rigs and skeletons, including 3D MAX Biped.

iPi Mocap is compatible with many leading game engines, 3D software applications and animation rigs, including MAXON CINEMA 4D, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3D Studio Max, DAZ 3D DAZ Studio, Poser, Valve Source Engine, Unreal Engine, Lightwave 3D, Unity and others.

The technology is accurate, easy to use and affordable, And a Free 30-day trial (http://tinyurl.com/3hg3t94) is available.

View FREE Motions Made with iPiSoft Basic at http://www.animstreet.com

Full Online Catalog of our iPiSoft Products http://bit.ly/iPiSoftProductsCatalog


http://www.ipisoft.com/ IPISOFT is so good and so cheap!

12-23-2011, 04:35 PM
I ended up going with the phasespace system. Area is 20x20x8.5, the live area is 15x15 or so due to camera fov. Works great! I do look pretty damn silly wearing the Lycra though haha!

12-23-2011, 08:38 PM
Please start a thread on how that's going, Clagman. I, for one, would be quite interested.

You get motionbuilder with it?


12-23-2011, 09:44 PM
Yep. Motionbuilder, Softimage, Maya, and Mudbox (oh and LW heh). Softimage is the primary tho. It does have the capability of importing C3D data but it's just not quite up to par with Motionbuilder unfortunately. Plus you get realtime using MB.

I suppose I could start a new thread, maybe post a few pics (not of me in the suit haha).