View Full Version : Facial motion capture solutions?

07-11-2008, 04:38 PM
Hello all.

I'm just discovering the amazing world of mocap and am thrilled to find out that my beloved Lightwave is a player.

Can anyone recommend a good/affordable hardware package for capturing facial motions?

Thanks for the help.

jin choung
07-12-2008, 12:05 AM
syntheyes can do it with multiple cameras. cheap too.


07-12-2008, 07:00 AM
Its the applying it to a rig that's the more challenging part.

07-12-2008, 07:45 AM
Might want to check out the inexpensive ZignTrack as well:


It uses webcam footage and facial stickers.


jin choung
07-12-2008, 03:03 PM
Its the applying it to a rig that's the more challenging part.

yup. absolutely... but that would go for any kinda face mocap.


07-12-2008, 05:40 PM
No need a hardware package for face motion capture. Softwares such as Movimento, PFTrack, Synteyes can do it. But LW has very poor abilities in this field. Without the tool called clusters in Maya, it seems that it is almost impossible to do a realistic facial animation inside Layout. I tried to do it with Sock Monkey but no success. I wish LW could add cluster feature and more precise weightmapping soon.

07-13-2008, 05:53 AM
You can use 2d video to make your own 3D facial capture as I did here in XSI.

I think it would be possible in LW, but might involve a lot of baking out .mov files and then referencing them back into other scenes.

07-13-2008, 06:33 AM
VT5... comes with Aura
very good motion capture system
need min 2 cameras tho.

Will really work with Any VT model...1 thru 5 .
does the Toaster/Flyer give motion files in Toasterpaint...? forgot.

07-13-2008, 05:07 PM

Facial Mocap is not a great deal with the latest softwares. The important question is How can Lightwave handle this data.

Yes, we can import it into LW, but then?
Without clusters and precise weight painting which Maya and XSI has, How can we use Facial Mocap data in order to animate face mesh realistically ?

This is the question that should be answered here.

What ? Who said bone rigs on the face ? Sorry but I don't think so....
Do you know why ?
Because I like to do it NICE, EASY and FREE

Here is the way I do ; http://aistud.filmakademie.de/actor/44.0.html
It is free for everyone who can use Maya

If Lightwave can do better or at least the same, please let me know
Because I always prefer Lightwave. It is my first and only love

07-13-2008, 05:21 PM
hmmm, you might have missed this Bluesilver, but the OT was asking for Facial motion capture solutions, not which software can handle it better. So why all the caps, bolds and colors?

07-13-2008, 06:47 PM
hmmm, you might have missed this Bluesilver, but the OT was asking for Facial motion capture solutions, not which software can handle it better. So why all the caps, bolds and colors?

Thanks for reminding.
I just wanted to point to the bottle neck in the pipeline.
Let's see what OT said;

Hello all.

I'm just discovering the amazing world of mocap and am thrilled to find out that my beloved Lightwave is a player.

Can anyone recommend a good/affordable hardware package for capturing facial motions?

Thanks for the help.

1- He said that he was just discovering mocap and he needed advises for Facial Mocap solutions.
Other forum members answered this question properly.
2-He is going to use Facial mocap data in Lightwave
This is the case that I pointed.

Why I did it ?
Ask your problem then read others experience about Lightwave.
I am sure this is the aim of this forum. Please correct me if I am wrong.

And, your question ;

So why all the caps, bolds and colors?
Answer is simple. I am a graphics artist. :)
Btw, what do you do ?

07-13-2008, 08:21 PM
Hi Megalodon,

It is so easy to capture Face Motion from a human's face and import that Mocap data into lightwave. All Mocap softwares supports lws format.
But,the problem is it is really hard to use it in Lightwave.

Let me make it more clear for everybody.
Please watch the second(right) movie in the below link and then tell me if it is possible to make same in Lightwave now. If not, when?

Facial Mocap test link : http://www.visserot.com/Gollum.html

LW Gurus replies are much appreciated.
Please don't understand me wrong. I will be the happiest man when I do Facial Mocap applied animation in Lightwave.
What I need are just clusters and better weight painting.Newtek, please do it.

Thanks for reading.

07-14-2008, 12:30 PM
Once again, the Lightwave community does not disappoint. I'll check out all of the tips. Much appreciated.

07-14-2008, 02:02 PM
Really? Which mocap software does? And how can you easily import it into LW? I know you can with MotionBuilder, but directly into LW? I'd REALLY like to know!

All major sequence trackers such as, PFtrack, Matchmover, Syntheyes and Movimento support lws and fbx formats which can be used to import direct into Lightwave.
Another great feature of tracking softwares; PFtrack and Syntheyes can extract polymesh from any area on the movie. This feature is great for face replacement.

Check it here; http://www.thepixelfarm.co.uk/products/products.aspx?PID=3

07-14-2008, 04:19 PM
Natural Point tells me that the facial mocap solution they will debut at SIGGRAPH will sell for about $5,000. If it's like their Optitrack system, there will be some additional costs, but still comparatively affordable. I hope t get out there to see it.

07-15-2008, 10:26 AM
Will do. I've put in the request at work to attend SIGGRAPH. We'll see what happens. You're correct re the $5,000. I investigated the $5,000 base package for full-body. It doesn't include the suit, markers, camera mounts, etc. So it will get a bit more expensive. I've also concluded that I may have to toss in another $4,000 for MotionBuilder, depending how some of the cheaper options pan out. My understanding is that MotionBuilder will pass fbx files back and forth with Lightwave.

Thanks again for the help everyone.

08-07-2008, 01:00 AM
Zign Track looks looks like it might be the poor man's solution. I'd love to hear from any one who has actually used it, especially with LightWave.

11-04-2013, 06:08 AM
Did you see that one?
Does anyone here know It?

11-04-2013, 11:33 AM
Wow, this is an old thread. Thanks for bumping it though...mycap looks pretty interesting and it apparently supports LightWave too. Will have to check it out when I have time.

Just to bring this thread up-to-date, LW3DG's own Nevron Motion supports face capture if you have a Kinect and can run under Windows. I have yet to try this myself though. (Too many projects on my plate already.)


11-04-2013, 12:22 PM
Looking at the video examples, I guess I have seen this before. Still looks really good--don't know how I forgot about it.

11-05-2013, 04:29 AM
Plus the price is attractive. I'd like to see how the lw export works...

11-05-2013, 04:35 AM
The export works the same way all these things work... you get a bunch of nulls who's animation matches the captured marker positions.

So unless you can build a bones based face rig in LW (which is so problematic you may as well say, no you cant), its useless... And even if you could build such rig... there's no way to be able to retarget the marker data to fit an alternative face shape/proportions.

11-05-2013, 05:12 AM
Ah, thanks RH. I wondered if that would be the case because that's exactly what I ran into with Brekel Pro Face, which I felt was too much trouble to deal with in the insanely tight schedules I have.

Face capture is not a top priority for me but I would a practical solution that works well enough to use on digital stunt doubles for fx work. Last week I shot mocap for digital doubles for a couple of film productions--the body motion will be fine but there's no face animation of course. Maybe next time around, I'll try Nevron Motion for the faces because for these type of shots even the most basic facial movements would be the 'icing on the cake'. :)


11-05-2013, 06:48 AM
You can use Expressions to measure the relationships (such as distances and angles) between the nulls etc and use that to drive morphs, which is how these facial retargetters often work. I build them regularly, although not in LW.

As a very simple example. you can use the chin null position to drive a mouth open/shut morph, or even a bone rotation. By having a layer of abstraction like this, it really doesn't matter if the face doesnt fit your character.

11-05-2013, 02:07 PM
thats pretty much what Nevron (kinectSDK) and Dynamicxyz http://www.dynamixyz.com/main_WordPress/ do.
They measure the difference between the nulls current position and its start position and use this as the amount of the morph (grouping the nulls together to form logical facial expressions.)
Only problem with this is these are broad approximations of the exact pose (with kinect we are trying to cover every possible expression using 6 morph targets) and you often find yourself painting corrective or more expressive morphs.
Notice on the much more expensive Dynamicxyz you don't get told how many morphs were used. I think with a whole lot of patience (and the ability to record the audio /video from Nevron which currently you cant do) you could get good results half mocapping half hand animating

For background characters or a quick first pass though they are fast and (in Nevron's case) inexpensive.

11-05-2013, 04:01 PM
Thanks for info! Yes, in this case all I'm expecting from Nevron is just a little extra life in the faces of the digital stunt doubles, not grand performances. But given my typical schedules, I'll have to be able to record and apply quickly. Such a pipeline could make a big quality difference for certain types of shots we do at work. Well, in the future anyway--my current schedule keeps me far away from too much experimenting. :)