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mdharman
11-09-2012, 05:18 AM
I have been asked to work on a mocap project with a middle school. I see quite a bit of discussion about iPi and other applications. Has anyone looked at iClone?
http://www.reallusion.com/iclone/default.aspx

bobakabob
11-09-2012, 09:21 AM
"iClone5 allows you to create in-house animations by simply moving your body in front of any Kinect Motion Capture system."

Brilliant! Is it already possible to make Lightwave play with Kinect for real time mocap? Or will Genoma have the potential? - if not it should be a major feature request.

Otherwise does it say anything about iClone exporting mocap skeletons into other packages? Thanks for the heads up, mdharman.

Greenlaw
11-09-2012, 04:17 PM
My wife and I got iClone 5 Pro and 3DXchange Pipeline a while back with the intention of doing super quick 'machinima' style shorts--monthly 'Brudders' cartoons to be specific. However, this is a project we don't plan to start until next year.

At the moment we're busy finishing our current short film. For this project we're using iPi DMC 2.0 with dual Kinects and 6 PS3 Eye cameras. This is a fantastic mocap system for what it cost, and with a bit of skill and experience you can produce 'professional' results. We already finished one short film last year using version 1.0 (link below,) and we're using the improved version 2.0 for our new film. That said, this is a fairly advanced process involving iPi DMC, Motion Builder, and Lightwave, and I wouldn't recommend it for a middle school project.

iClone 5 Pro, should be more suitable for your needs. If you get the right bundle, you get a single Kinect capture system, built-in retargeting and an editing system, so no need for Motion Builder. Additionally, it features a 'puppet' style animation system, which can be fun to play with if the mocap stuff gets too complicated. iClone is basically a game engine, so don't expect the highest quality rendering. However, it is a realtime system so that could make it more fun for kids to work with. You also get realtime effects tools, like particles, etc.

To make the most of the system, you may also need 3DXchange. This allows you to import and export custom assets (characters, props, etc.) and animation via FBX--this is essential if your students plan to create their own unique content. However, if they're going to use existing iClone content (and there's plenty of it,) much of the content is customizable within the program (through morphs and custom textures.) We got a great bundle deal last spring that included iClone 5 Pro, 3DXchange Pipeline, the Kinect plug-ins, FX plug-ins and a ton of content for about $600. I don't think that sale is still going on but Reallusion seems to regularly offer a variety of bundle deals.

Sorry I don't have much first hand experience so I don't know how well this system works in practice. As I said, we're not planning to use this system until next year but I hope this info is somewhat helpful.

One more thing: one of the reasons we became interested in iCone was because we thought it might be a good way to get our six year old more directly involved with our 'home brew' productions. She's constantly begging to help out but most of the time I'm just not sure what she can do on our projects. (BTW, she built and textured her first LightWave character last week!) So, anyway, if you decide to take this route with your students, please let us know how it works out for you.

G.

mdharman
11-09-2012, 07:30 PM
Bobakabob: I know little about the product except what is on their site. I teach 2D and 3D animation to high school kids and normally wouldn't be interested in something like this, however, one of our middle schools asked for technical help on their project. We also have a video game class at our school that would like to experiment with mocap. After reading Greenlaw's post, looks like buying the 3D Exchange will allow the use Lightwave to some degree.

Greenlaw: I have been reading your posts this year with interest. Thanks so much for your input. I think I'll give it a try and see if it works. If I get into a jam, I might look for more of your advice. I think it's great that your daughter is involved in your projects and has started LW at such an early age!

Greenlaw
11-09-2012, 11:19 PM
...After reading Greenlaw's post, looks like buying the 3D Exchange will allow the use Lightwave to some degree.
Please keep in mind that this is a product we've had on our shelf since last spring and that we've never actually used it on a project yet. I'm really not sure how 'easy' it may or may not be for kids to use. I'll let you know when we get to working with it seriously.


...I think it's great that your daughter is involved in your projects and has started LW at such an early age!Thanks! Her interest is very cute but I don't think she's ready to go after my job...yet. :)

massmusic
05-09-2013, 03:43 PM
I've been dabbling in iClone since 4.0 for quick, easy stereoscopic animation. After having used Lightwave since the Amiga days, I found it's approach to animation friendly at best. When IC5 with Kinect mocap plug in was released, I upgraded and must say, despite its weak rendering, it worked exactly as it is stated to work and it is very fun.

Now to get around the weakness of the render engine, one must use 3D Exchange 5 Pipeline to export iC5 mocap data to FBX & BVH for use in another platform ie: Lightwave. For current licensed users of iClone5, upgrades are $299.00. But as stated above there are inclusive bundles that get you ready to go for $899.00 (Kinect not included). However, unless you plan on utilizing iClone as an integrated part of your work flow, the total sum spent might be better invested in established products that are known to work well with LW. Especially if you already own a Sony Eye.

While the Reallusion site does imply 3D Exchange 5 works with LW (by showing the LW symbol with that of other 3D aps), all the tutorials on how the process works are for the other 3D aps. Since I am somewhat invested in iC5 and the kinect mo cap, I will get 3DX5 Pipeline and write a tut for them. I'll post my findings in the 3rd party thread.

RIP RH

Greenlaw
05-09-2013, 04:25 PM
That's fantastic! As mentioned above, I've been meaning to do that myself for ages but 'B2' is pretty much consuming all our free time these days. Looking forward to hearing about your discoveries.

G.

akaracquel
06-02-2013, 09:25 AM
Set myself the goal, that I'd be enabling *some* kind of mocap setup in my home, possibly with a kinect device, where I could still be able to use LW with it in some way, THIS year.

I really enjoyed how easy it was to use Reallusion's Crazy Talk a few years ago, so I've had my eyes on their mocap-enabled products for quite some time. My son was far too :cursin: with LW when he was 8, screaming "Why isn't my cloth falling smoothly on collision and looks like it's got all these bloody jiggling things running around underneath it?! :bangwall: That's not realistic! LW :cursin: SUCKS!" at 11. (BAD mummy! :ohmy:) Yeah, so on that level - I know finding a way to integrate IClone-style with LW, will probably be a more suitable way to share the *FUN* with him :)

Have always found myself abandoning it in vain, due to "Which product(s) do I actually need to get?!" - this bundled with that and HUH?! It was overwhelming, but I've managed to run into that $600 bundle deal now.

I can see the LW logo is on their website as a supported product now, but had trouble finding information with regards to what exactly can be imported/exported into or out of LW ...and "how?".
e.g
Do LW models import ok ...as *.lwo?
Do textures import ok if it has to be *.obj?
Can it export rigs into LW? Can it import LW rigs?
Do you need multiple cameras to import the mocap data before you can use it in LW, or it is still possible to work with data captured by just one cam?

Feels like it will be much easier for me to start playing with mocap via IClone first, bridge it with the pipeline add-on later on, but I DO want the ability to inter-connect with LW remaining as my primary tool. Makes it hard to decide on whether or not I should just jump the gun with getting everything needed in one hit atm.


However, unless you plan on utilizing iClone as an integrated part of your work flow, the total sum spent might be better invested in established products that are known to work well with LW. Especially if you already own a Sony Eye.

Would love to learn more / what you would recommend as an alternative, esp. if they could be <coughs> a bit more child-friendly :devil: :hey:

Greenlaw
06-02-2013, 11:06 AM
Here's what I know based on my experience with 'homebrew mocap' (mostly with other software) and somewhat limited experience with iClone.



Do LW models import ok ...as *.lwo?
You'll need to do this using FBX and to do that you need 3DXchange Pipeline. Actually, if you're only interested in import to iClone, you could use the less capable Pro version but you won't be able to export FBX back to LightWave. Only Pipeline can import and export rigged characters via FBX.


Do textures import ok if it has to be *.obj?
I can't speak for iClone but in my experience with other software, color textures will probably transfer correctly but shading values may be screwy. This is not specifically an iClone issue, just in general when transferring objects from one program to another. What I usually do is set up my shaders in one program and then save a settings or preset (in LW, that's typically a Surface Library file) for that shader so I can immediately apply it after importing.

With Mocap data, however, as far as it goes in lightWave, I only import the motion data to my already rigged and shaded LightWave character using MOME so I don't have to deal with re-applying shaders and fixing rig issues.


Can it export rigs into LW? Can it import LW rigs?
Via FBX, you should be able to. Sorry, I can't confirm this yet.


Do you need multiple cameras to import the mocap data before you can use it in LW, or it is still possible to work with data captured by just one cam?
iClone uses the standard Kinect SDK, so it only supports a single Kinect.

If you want to use multiple Kinects, you need iPi Mocap Studio 2.0. We used the beta of this system for 'Happy Box' and we're using a much more advanced version for 'Brudders 2' (See the Production Log for info. (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133274-The-Brudders-2-Production-Log-%28Well-sort-of-%29/page11))

This has nothing to do with iClone though, it's an entirely different motion capture system. If you need to do additional editing, I think iClone with 3DXchange Pipeline may work as an inexpensive alternative to Motion Builder--we purchased iClone just for this purpose but haven't had time to test it yet. Another Motion builder alternative is ikinema Webanimate or Mixamo, two web browser-based mocap editing system--the way these work is you upload you data, do your work, and when you're satisfied with the results you pay a download fee for an FBX. I haven't used any of the web-based systems but I heard from other users that they work pretty well. (We use Motion Builder, btw. We're taking a closer look at these other systems as soon as we're finished with 'B2'.)


Feels like it will be much easier for me to start playing with mocap via IClone first, bridge it with the pipeline add-on later on, but I DO want the ability to inter-connect with LW remaining as my primary tool. Makes it hard to decide on whether or not I should just jump the gun with getting everything needed in one hit atm.
I wish I could say this with certainty but, if you're looking for easy entry into 'homebrew' mocap, iClone might be the way to go. I don't know anybody who has actually done this between LightWave and iClone though. iClone is meant to be more 'consumer friendly' so that could translate as more 'child friendly'--that just a theory though.

I've been able to successfully motion capture my child using iPi Mocap Studio 2.0 but this was largely experimental--the software isn't meant to capture children and IMO this kind of falls into an 'advanced use' category of the program. I think if you're more interested in quality over ease of use, this is the way to go, but if you're looking for a 'fun' way to play with mocap with your child, a standard single Kinect system may be more suitable.

BTW, if you just want to 'play around' with your child, the cheaper version of iClone lets you do just that without involving LightWave. I think it allows you to import rigid props and sets built with Modeler. You just won't be able to bring in animateable characters created with LightWave without 3DXchange Pro or Pipeline, but they have a huge library of rigged characters which can be modified in limited ways within iClone. As for rendering, iClone is a realtime OGL type animation program so the result won't look as pretty as a fully rendered LightWave project but the immediate feedback and interactivity might be more appealing to a young child.

G.

Greenlaw
06-02-2013, 11:12 AM
If I have time tonight, I'll try a few basic I/O tests between LightWave and iClone, just to see what happens.

G.

akaracquel
06-02-2013, 10:32 PM
Thank you so much for your time & feedback on this Greenlaw. It was exactly the kind of info I was trying to get a feel for, but couldn't find. You've helped confirm quite a number of my qualms and I've appreciated the links to the other resources you mentioned as well, thanks. :thumbsup:


I don't know anybody who has actually done this between LightWave and iClone though.

I often get this very strange feeling that a vast majority of the LW Community must've signed a non-disclosure agreement from time to time. This is one of those moments again.

Can see IClone working well for my needs as a very basic starting point, feeling more inclined to jump the gun with the lot atm, including the pipeline.

I'd be very interested in hearing more about how your tests pan out - but in the meanwhile, the concept of being able to find a way to use Kinect together with LW, before I see it as an option available in 11.5, is very ticklish. Will poke my head in here again if I spot anything noteworthy at this end or get some luck in finding fun ways to get the kid involved.

All the best with your home-brews! I dig use your of colour, rocking Greendog logo too - it works, very memorable icon :thumbsup: