Motion Capture!

I got my hands on a Kinect, with the sole purpose of using it for motion capture, this is an early experiment of capturing data and importing it into Unreal.
I will revisit this with better lighting, attire (not a dressing gown!) and some words.

The (free) tools used

iPi Recorder and iPi Motion Capture Studio (https://ipisoft.com/download)
These two tools are used in conjunction with each other to capture and record the motion capture data from your Kinect, and export it to a format that your 3D software or game engine can interpret.

When you first install these, it will also install some additional components, such as the Kinect SDK.

The Process

Once your software is fully installed, and your Kinect camera is connected – you’ll need to load up iPi Recorder, and assuming your Kinect has been detected, you’ll be able to select it and press Record.

Before you start recording, you’ll need to select the Background tab, and press Evaluate Background without being in the shot – this is so that the software can differentiate between what’s in the foreground (you, or your subject) and the background.
You’ll need to ensure that the ground is visible, by adjusting the elevation of the camera with the slider at the top of the output display.

Once you’ve done this, head over to the Record tab, and start recording your footage.


I will say that the interpretation isn’t perfect, but if you move slowly at first – you’ll be able to figure out the nuances of what works, and what doesn’t.

Building – Arundel Gate

A rough breakdown of how I’m developing my Sheffield game in Blender and Unreal.

Photos

Arundel Gate, Sheffield – © Stanley Walker
Above Arundel Gate is a forecourt for the O2 Academy, Odeon Cinema and the Tank nighclub
Old photo of Arundel Gate – this shows Berlins Bar and the Gossips nightclub; as with the bridge,these are no longer here.
Modern day photo of the three buildings how they look today.

Transcript

Today we’re going over to Arundel Gate; more specifically, the NCP car park.
So let’s fly over there now.

The car park is an important building, because the streets parallel to it are at very different heights.
Here we’re looking at Arundel Gate from the opposite direction of where we usually start the game – the car park would be around where the bus is on the left.

If we look at it from above, we’ll see that a lot of the rooftop area is a pedestrian walkway – there’s even the Tank nightclub that sits between the two buildings.

As a pedestrian, there are a series of stairs and walkways which take you to the lower level of Pond Street.

I’ll have a picture of that next, but I want to point out to you beyond the stairs in this old photo. [todo]
This looks very different to how it does now; this used to be two nightclubs underneath the car park: Berlins Bar and Gossips, and the bridge at the forefront is no longer there.

Modern day, we clearly see the O2 Academy and how it is placed on top of the NCP car park.

Now, let’s have a look at the Sheffield map in Blender at the same area – the selected object is the Odeon cinema, which I now realise is out of proportion to the O2 Academy. In reality – the cinema is much smaller.

This video will be about modelling the NCP car park, and the roof area so that the buildings aren’t hovering – and aligning Arundel Gate and Pond Street to their respective ground levels. We can see it better in Unreal.

[interlude]


After some very rudimentary blockout, I want to load this in Unreal to see how this very basic shape looks.

In Blender, I select the NCP Car Park building, and FileExport – and I’m going to choose .fbx → Save it.
Oh, yeah it crashed. I think it’s because the scene is too big; so what I’ll do this time is reload the project, select the building, and set the geometry to the object.
Ctrl C to copy, and Ctrl N for New.
And then paste it in with Ctrl V.
Press NumPad dot(.) to jump to it to make sure it’s there.
And then export to .fbx again.

Find the file you’ve just exported in its’ folder, and drag it into your Unreal scene.
I have a folder specifically for buildings, so I’ll put it in there.
From Unreal, drag from your Content Browser into your scene, and set the Location on the X,Y,Z to 0,0,0 so it snaps to the right place.

Have a look around, and change what you like; either by modelling in Unreal, or changing the file and re-exporting your model and reloading it into Unreal like we’ve done here.

Hope this helps someone, thanks for watching!

Animating a portrait of myself with EbSynth

A quick video where I take a portrait of myself that my girlfriend drew and painted, and animate it with EbSynth.

Hello, this is the first video for a while, and I wanted to share a portrait of me that my girlfriend had painted, which I really like – it’s very Van Gogh.
I also wanted to show you how to quickly animate some video footage in the same style using a package called ebsynth.

The first thing you’ll need is some video footage.
I’ve tried to replicate the angle and basic shapes of the picture for the best effect when I come to animate it.
I import the footage into Blender, crop out any jumpy movement at the beginning and move my head around a little.

Once I have a short little clip, I’ll render them out as PNG.
For the sake of consistency, I’m going to render it at the same resolution as the original image, 1600×1474.
That might sound like a weird resolution, and it is – but I’ll scale it accordingly to fit in the video you’re watching now.

Once I have my frames all rendered in PNG, I’ll import them all into eBsynth in the Video section, and the single image into the Keyframes section.
Choose a directory, and Synth.
It might take a while, so I’ll pause the video here.

And voila.