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Thread: What are peoples impressions of Nevron Motion so far?

  1. #16
    Member snsmoore's Avatar
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    I decided to do another pass of research for motion capture in Lightwave using Nevron, so I spent yesterday afternoon working on fine tuning my workflow and seeing if there were any obvious omissions to the process. I spent this afternoon doing some comparisons with Brekel as well.

    Observations:

    1) The Kinect does generate a somewhat noisy capture, so using the smoothing presets are necessary, otherwise you'll have lots to clean up. There is some noise (occasional "twitch" of a bone) even when I wasn't moving.
    2) The video is, as expected, noisier in lower light. I wasn't sure how much this would affect the motion capture, so I took one of my 500W lights and directed it on the capture area. It didn't make a dramatic difference(IR check box was off), but the room was already lit and had some light from the window (shutters were somewhat closed).
    3) I did a number of movement tests, but even with the smoothing options, I felt I needed a comparison (was thinking maybe I got a bad Kinect for Windows)

    I decided to try the free evaluation of Brekel Kinect Pro for comparison. I did 5 different motions and noted my observations from them.

    Motions:

    1) Bend knees (by 30 degrees or so), arms in T-pose. (repeat a few times and )
    Nevron: The feet would very noticeably drift downward, as if they were going through the floor. The knees showed some bending, but the downward drift was a distraction. (enabling IK on the Nevron targeting window helped a little, but there was still considerable drift. The drift was worse the faster I did the movement.)
    Brekel: The feet had only a very minute amount of drift. The knees showed noticeable bending.

    2) Sidestep motion
    (both capture tools seemed to handle this well)

    3) Flapping arms (similar to performing a "jumping jack" exercise without moving the legs)
    Nevron: The skeleton drifted upward the faster I did the motion. Almost felt like I could get the skeleton to fly. (enabling IK on the Nevron targeting window helped just a little, but there was still a lot of drifing)
    Brekel: No drifting of the skeleton.

    4) Walking
    (Both seemed to do ok, considering the limited space. What was interesting was that Brekel could almost handle walking perpendicular to the kinect. Seems to have a better occlusion handling algorithm)

    5) "Hand shake" test (slight bending over of the back and moving right arm out to introduce yourself)
    Nevron: Motion was ok, except Nevron favored tilting the wrist and elbow downward.
    Brekel: The motion was closer to what I did, with the elbow and wrist in an arc downward (elbow "pointing" downward)

    I figured out the problems I had(noted earlier) with the demo fbx imports from Brekel. (You basically have to set IK mode to ON in the Nevron retargeting window on the feet and hands, and not target any "Roll" bones. The fbx's also require a little more adjustment to get the motion capture skeleton to align with my character. )

    Side note: the Brekel ui is very good. It is intuitive and the defaults tend to get you a decent capture. It appears that Brekel does use some of his own algorithms for noise reduction and occlusion issues in his product. Also, I don't see the fact that it is a separate application as too much of a disadvantage, as motion capture tends to be a separate activity - it may not even occur on the same day as the retargeting/editing.

    So for $99 more, adding Brekel for capture and using Nevron for retargeting is looking like a good solution. (and you can capture 2 characters at once) Note: I really like using Nevron for retargeting.

    -shawn

  2. #17
    After having a meaningful amount of time to play with the Kinect functions of Nevron, I'll leave my commentary:

    The kinect has some limitations; it can't detect whether a person's wrists are rotating (on bank, it can sense pitch), and if the arms or legs overlap it can have trouble "guessing" how the skeleton should be positioned. Obviously, only 1 camera means you can't turn around too much... I'd say the maximum is around 40 degrees to the left or right.

    For upper body the Kinect w/ nevron is excellent and highly usable; you can do clips and have them require next to no cleanup. It greatly increases productivity and it has opened some doors in terms of what I can do given my busy schedule.

    The legs are another story and DO require substantial knowledge of editing and refining motion capture to remove errors (limitation of only using 1 camera). I didn't put a lot of work into stabilizing the legs in my full body example as it was only a quick and dirty test, those results were what I got with about 15 minutes worth of editing. You can get good results out of nevron/kinect mocap in terms of leg/body positioning, you just have to know how to process the motion data with Lightwave's motion tools to fix errors.

    Facial tracking in real-time is not very usable because the Kinect wasn't designed to process a human face that quickly while preserving quality motion data. *However*, by playing back the audio clip at 1/2 or 1/4th of its original speed and then performing the facial tracking, this gives the kinect a lot more time to scan your face and therefor can yield very high quality results which can then be processed with Lightwave's toolset. Not as efficient doing it this way, but it is still way faster than hand-keying.

    I still have some things to figure out in regards to integrating Nevron's mocap functionality to my animation workflow, but so far I'm very satisfied with the results I'm getting in relation to the cost of the software and equipment.
    Last edited by Ryan Roye; 12-31-2013 at 12:06 PM.
    Professional-level 3d training: Ryan's Lightwave Learning
    Plugin Developer: RR Tools for Lightwave

  3. #18
    Axes grinder- Dongle #99
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    Clever idea on the slow-playback, chaz.
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  4. #19
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    The learning experience has been... interesting. The documentation seems a little summarized. Nevron is a very powerful tool, and only has a 24 page manual (the motion retargeting is only 2 pages long!). The folder indicated in the installation instructions didn't exist, and I had to create it, even though I had performed a default LW installation.

    That aside, I've been experimenting with Nevron for a few weeks, and managed to retarget a BVH to the Nevron rig. Operation was pretty straightforward: I added the rig to my model, imported an FBX I downloaded with the mocap, and used retargeting to slave the Nevron rig to the mocap rig. Took a bit of work to figure out which joints I should retarget, and the T pose of the mocap was different to the T pose of the model, but it wasn't too hard to sort it all out.

    I also managed to get the Kinect to drive the alien head, and I think I figured out how the Kinect data is transformed in the Virtual Studio.
    To make me a very happy person, the documentation could demonstrate how to add facial mocap to the model. I've managed to convert a C3D file to an FBX (whole load of nulls moving around), and I'm now trying to figure out how I can use this to drive morphs , how to add a jaw and eye bones to the nevron rig, and how to get the jaw to follow the facial mocap data.

  5. #20
    Super Member CaptainMarlowe's Avatar
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    I bought Nevron for painless retargeting. I am quite happy with it. No problem so far. Of course, I wish the kinect/whatever would be extended for mac users, but that was not my main goal when I purchased it at reduced price during siggraph.

  6. #21
    Caged but Happy lwaddict's Avatar
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    I bought Nevron thinking it would be useful... Turned out to be yet another learning curve I didn't need. Other tools out there work fine. My feeling, given the support so far... It'll go the way of Core, Aura, and SpeedEdit... Just my opinion though.
    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
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  7. #22
    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwaddict View Post
    My feeling, given the support so far... It'll go the way of Core, Aura, and SpeedEdit... Just my opinion though.
    My opinion is similar to lwaddict's.

    The Kinect functionality is just too noisy and limited compared to other (similar priced or less expensive) capture products available, no word whether K2 will be supported, etc. The retargeting functionality is useful for basic tasks, but documentation is quite poor, and the capture rig requirements are too limited.

    I had high hopes early on that LW3DG would continually improve Nevron's capabilities and provide real, detailed, useful documentation, but alas, none of that happened. Now it seems like LW3DG has lost interest in supporting / improving / maintaining this product altogether.

    This is a plugin with a pricetag greater than the vast majority of commercial LW plugins available. Fit and polish should be perfect. _Everything_ should be documented, including detailed internal explanations, to enable and ease troubleshooting. New hardware support should either be timely, and really there should also be an SDK provided so we can implement our own hardware support as needed. Customers should absolutely not have to beg for scraps of info on how to set things up, or how it works.

    LW3DG demands a premium price for Nevron, but has not delivered a premium product, nor even close (IMO).
    Last edited by jwiede; 08-08-2014 at 12:50 PM.
    John W.
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  8. #23
    Often Banned Megalodon2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwiede View Post
    My opinion is similar to lwaddict's.

    The Kinect functionality is just too noisy and limited compared to other (similar priced or less expensive) capture products available, no word whether K2 will be supported, etc. The retargeting functionality is useful for basic tasks, but documentation is quite poor, and the capture rig requirements are too limited.

    I had high hopes early on that LW3DG would continually improve Nevron's capabilities and provide real, detailed, useful documentation, but alas, none of that happened. Now it seems like LW3DG has lost interest in supporting / improving / maintaining this product altogether.

    This is a plugin with a pricetag greater than the vast majority of commercial LW plugins available. Fit and polish should be perfect. _Everything_ should be documented, including detailed internal explanations, to enable and ease troubleshooting. New hardware support should either be timely, and really there should also be an SDK provided so we can implement our own hardware support as needed. Customers should absolutely not have to beg for scraps of info on how to set things up, or how it works.

    LW3DG demands a premium price for Nevron, but has not delivered a premium product, nor even close (IMO).
    Unfortunately I have to agree. I feel that Nevron Motion will end up like SpeedEdit, Vidget and Rendition. The "lost interest" comment seems perfectly suited. I was hoping to see support for the Asus XTion Live Pro, but no word at all. I feel that I've purchased yet another piece of software that will languish and die. Oh well...

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