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Pavlov
05-03-2013, 06:22 PM
hi all,
i wonder if there's any solution on the market to get good moca charanim to use in viz movies.
I've Jimmy rig, it's nice but it has limitations. I wonder if there's any other commercial solution available to get good animations without having to deal with riggin, weight, and so on.

thanks,
Paolo

chikega
05-04-2013, 11:57 AM
You might try this: http://www.mixamo.com/

Pavlov
05-04-2013, 05:23 PM
this seems excellent ! i've to understand if it does everything automatically (rigging and weighting) but it seems quite promising :)
thanks a lot,
paolo

Megalodon2.0
05-04-2013, 06:07 PM
I've Jimmy rig, it's nice but it has limitations. I wonder if there's any other commercial solution available to get good animations without having to deal with riggin, weight, and so on.

I haven't used JimmyRig yet - what limitations/annoyances do you find using it?

Pavlov
05-04-2013, 07:49 PM
awful gui (quadview and some basic OGL options badly needed)
lack of follow path tool (it's in new beta, but it always crashes)
destructive workflow (you cant tweak rig after seeing the motion)
too little control over everything
awful mocap files sorting (no alphabetical order, no possibility to set favourites anims)
very crashy attitude
extremely slow updates (seems kinda discontinued)

beside these it's a nice tool, but it need some refining steps to be the tool i rely on for charanim in production.
Paolo

chikega
05-04-2013, 08:17 PM
You're welcome Paolo. Here's the workflow for Lightwave:http://www.mixamo.com/c/help/workflows_lightwave

Megalodon2.0
05-04-2013, 08:41 PM
awful gui (quadview and some basic OGL options badly needed)
lack of follow path tool (it's in new beta, but it always crashes)
destructive workflow (you cant tweak rig after seeing the motion)
too little control over everything
awful mocap files sorting (no alphabetical order, no possibility to set favourites anims)
very crashy attitude
extremely slow updates (seems kinda discontinued)

beside these it's a nice tool, but it need some refining steps to be the tool i rely on for charanim in production.
Paolo

Well that seems enough to keep me using Motion Builder for the time being. ;)

Mixamo looks good, but it doesn't appear to be able to use your own motions. We've got a small Optitrack setup and make our own mocap files. I was just hoping that JimmyRig would be easier and faster getting mocap files into LW.

tyrot
05-05-2013, 02:14 AM
mega - even though it has those issues - i think JimmyRig is extremely useful software. Eliminates rigging - skinning process is a huge plus and there are many really fast MOCAP adjustment tools that you may enjoy.

It saved my skin in so many project - Of course it is not a motion builder replacement but i think it does things that MB cannot.

Megalodon2.0
05-05-2013, 02:51 AM
mega - even though it has those issues - i think JimmyRig is extremely useful software. Eliminates rigging - skinning process is a huge plus and there are many really fast MOCAP adjustment tools that you may enjoy.

It saved my skin in so many project - Of course it is not a motion builder replacement but i think it does things that MB cannot.

All of my characters are already rigged - essentially used the same rigging for each character - as well as weighted. Currently I bring the BVH motion capture into Motion Builder, attach it to my LW skeleton, export and then merge it in LW. Relatively simple process but I was hoping to get something even simpler and faster. I don't do any animating inside of MB, so all it really does for me is bring the mocap into LW.

Does JimmyRig allow an already-weighted character to keep its weights? If so, how easy is it to bring your own mocap in and then apply it to the weighted character? I don't know if I have time to test it out thoroughly enough since I'm well into my second episode and it's taking every spare minute of time. But then... anything that could streamline the process is worth looking at.

Greenlaw
05-05-2013, 10:06 AM
All of my characters are already rigged - essentially used the same rigging for each character - as well as weighted...I was hoping to get something even simpler and faster. I don't do any animating inside of MB, so all it really does for me is bring the mocap into LW.
That's essentially my workflow, except now I'm pretty much doing all the CA animation work in iPi Mocap Studio + Motion Builder. I started out using MB just for retargeting and broad corrections, and then doing shot specific tweaks in LightWave, but this became a real pain during Happy Box. Now I bring my LightWave scene camera into MB and edit/animate the CA entirely there as if I were in the LightWave scene. This way, I don't have to worry about reapplying whatever tweaks I did in LightWave to any re-exported data from MB if I have to go back to MB and improve or fix something. Besides, once I got my head wrapped around MB's tools, it turned out to be a lot easier to use for CA/mocap editing than LightWave anyway. I still use LightWave for face animations though, as well non-CA animation, camera and FX animations (Bullet, etc.)


Does JimmyRig allow an already-weighted character to keep its weights? If so, how easy is it to bring your own mocap in and then apply it to the weighted character? I don't know if I have time to test it out thoroughly enough since I'm well into my second episode and it's taking every spare minute of time. But then... anything that could streamline the process is worth looking at.
Yes, it does. Specifically, it doesn't need to rescan and re-weight a character once that automated process has been applied to a Jimmy|Rig character. I'm not sure how J|R deals with a character that's already been weighted and rigged in LightWave--that's not its workflow so it might not work. Or it might, assuming you use J|R's hierarchy and naming conventions, but I don't think it's meant to be used that way.

It's been a long time since I last used J|R so my info might be inaccurate now. Hopefully, someone from Origami Digital will pop in to clarify.

G.

Greenlaw
05-05-2013, 10:31 AM
You might be wondering why we have J|R if we're not using it. Several years ago, when I stated beta testing iPi Desktop Motion Capture 1.0, I needed a way to get the data onto a rig for LightWave and J|R sounded like a good, inexpensive alternative to Motion Builder. At the time, however, J|R didn't allow you to import custom .bvh so I really got this program in anticipation of J|R Pro. It took a long time for the developers to add .bvh import though, so we eventually bit the bullet and purchased a license of Motion Builder. J|R finally got custom .bvh import but by that time, we had such a good workflow using iPi-MB-LightWave and we haven't had time or the desire to go back for another look.

That said, we'll eventually be looking for a good alternative to Motion Builder again. We currently have an educational license of MB so if we ever decide to go 'pro' with our Little Green Dog film projects, we'll need to buy MB again at full price, and I'm really not looking forward to that day. At the moment, the alternatives we're considering are: ikinema Webanimate, iClone with 3DXchange Pipeline (which we have but haven't used yet,) Maya or Blender. Things we might consider in the future for retargeting and editing depending on the state of development: LightWave and Jimmy|Rig Pro.

We'll figure out how we want to cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, we just want to finish our movie with tools we already have. :)

G.

Pavlov
05-05-2013, 02:15 PM
Greenlaw - what Tyrot says is true, JR saved me several times. i just say it has some issues by now, which prevent it from being the full answer to my needs. I dont want to give a negative pic of the product because it has its strong points too.
It would be nice to hear something from JR devs here, since volumetric rig is truly awesome. If it got some development on the things i mentioned above i would be done.
any info ?

thanks,
paolo

Megalodon2.0
05-05-2013, 03:12 PM
That's essentially my workflow, except now I'm pretty much doing all the CA animation work in iPi Mocap Studio + Motion Builder. I started out using MB just for retargeting and broad corrections, and then doing shot specific tweaks in LightWave, but this became a real pain during Happy Box. Now I bring my LightWave scene camera into MB and edit/animate the CA entirely there as if I were in the LightWave scene. This way, I don't have to worry about reapplying whatever tweaks I did in LightWave to any re-exported data from MB if I have to go back to MB and improve or fix something. Besides, once I got my head wrapped around MB's tools, it turned out to be a lot easier to use for CA/mocap editing than LightWave anyway. I still use LightWave for face animations though, as well non-CA animation, camera and FX animations (Bullet, etc.)
I'm using an Optitrack system that is VERY accurate, so there is very little tweaking necessary in LW after the animation is retargeted. Occasionally I have an arm that may be too high or legs that are too close - but it's a simple 20 second fix in the graph editor to move everything over slightly. Very rarely do I have to go back into MB to change anything. I SHOULD learn how to do it since MB was made FOR mocap, but since I've already got my workflow down (and have so little extra time) for me at the moment it's not worth it.


Yes, it does. Specifically, it doesn't need to rescan and re-weight a character once that automated process has been applied to a Jimmy|Rig character. I'm not sure how J|R deals with a character that's already been weighted and rigged in LightWave--that's not its workflow so it might not work. Or it might, assuming you use J|R's hierarchy and naming conventions, but I don't think it's meant to be used that way.

It's been a long time since I last used J|R so my info might be inaccurate now. Hopefully, someone from Origami Digital will pop in to clarify.
This is helpful. I still may be able to use it. I have a feeling though that Motion Builder will end up being the app we'll be using. I want to capture three actors at a time in order to seriously reduce production time, so MB will probably HAVE to be the choice. Fortunately, once you've got it you probably won't have to upgrade it for a LONG time - especially for us since the primary feature we use is simply retargeting.


You might be wondering why we have J|R if we're not using it. Several years ago, when I stated beta testing iPi Desktop Motion Capture 1.0, I needed a way to get the data onto a rig for LightWave and J|R sounded like a good, inexpensive alternative to Motion Builder. At the time, however, J|R didn't allow you to import custom .bvh so I really got this program in anticipation of J|R Pro. It took a long time for the developers to add .bvh import though, so we eventually bit the bullet and purchased a license of Motion Builder. J|R finally got custom .bvh import but by that time, we had such a good workflow using iPi-MB-LightWave and we haven't had time or the desire to go back for another look.
Same here as well. I bought JimmyRig second hand and was looking forward to the pro version. Since it took forever (and is still in beta) I dropped even hoping for it and moved on to MB. Perhaps one day it will be ready to work for things we need, but considering the speed of development I sincerely doubt it. Still... I wouldn't count it out yet. For us MB has worked flawlessly, but I am NOT looking forward to having to buy more licenses from AD. But until there is a viable competitor, we pay the devil. :)

Greenlaw
05-05-2013, 06:49 PM
I'm using an Optitrack system that is VERY accurate, so there is very little tweaking necessary in LW after the animation is retargeted. Occasionally I have an arm that may be too high or legs that are too close - but it's a simple 20 second fix in the graph editor to move everything over slightly. Very rarely do I have to go back into MB to change anything.
I see what you mean. In my case, my capture data is actually very accurate too, but the reason I need to tweak is because the proportions of my characters are very 'non-human'. For example, my own mostly normal human head is not 1 m round or bigger like the Brudders characters, so sometimes adjustments need to be made to keep raised arms from penetrating the skull. Also, my legs are not exactly shaped like a cartoon cat's nor do I have a tail. This gets even more complicated because the characters have to play 'oversized' musical instruments using both hands, and in the case of Sergeant, his 'lips' also have to glide across a harmonica and sometimes he moves a hand off the harmonica and back on again. Additionally this all has be be in sync with a musical track and choreographed with the motions of the other characters. Before I started this project, I must have been pretty naive about how complicated this was going to be. Luckily much of what I needed to do has been somewhat 'easy-ish' to edit using Motion Builder and I was even able to automate some features using its nodal system (like the cats' tails). In fact, having worked in Motion Builder for a while now, I'm not even sure how I would attempt some of the things I'm doing in LightWave using its current mocap editing tools. Motion Builder really has become a necessity on this project and I'm probably going have a harder time finding a replacement program than I think.


For us MB has worked flawlessly, but I am NOT looking forward to having to buy more licenses from AD. But until there is a viable competitor, we pay the devil. :)
I hear ya. Whenever we decide to go commercial, we're probably going to have to bite the bigger bullet and just get the full license. Still hopeful that something almost as good, if not better comes along before then.

G.

Megalodon2.0
05-05-2013, 09:05 PM
I see what you mean. In my case, my capture data is actually very accurate too, but the reason I need to tweak is because the proportions of my characters are very 'non-human'. For example, my own mostly normal human head is not 1m round or bigger like the Brudders characters, so sometimes adjustments need to be made to keep raised arms from penetrating the skull. Also, my legs are not exactly shaped like a cartoon cat's nor do I have a tail.
This is good to know - that you're pretty much human. :D Though then it won't be as easy to spot you when we meet. :)

Fortunately our characters are human and human-proportioned robots, so it makes it easier. But we have the same problems on occasion with penetration of arms and legs and heads - fortunately a little graph tweaking is all that is needed.