Markerless Motion Capture with help from the Kinect
Today's article by Joe Herman on the NYC Production & Post News site provides a great in-depth review of the iPi Soft’s markerless motion capture product,iPi Desktop Motion Capture, and the Kinect. If you're interested in markerless mocap (Motion Capture)...
A Review of iPi Soft’s Markerless Motion Capture System
Motion capture or mocap has made its place as part of a modern animator’s toolkit. For many styles of animation, going with mocap instead of traditional animation saves time and cuts budgets. However, until recently, only productions capable of investing in many thousands of dollars worth of cameras and software from companies such as Polhemus and Vicon Systems could even consider using this approach.
However, in the decades since mocap began as a tool for photogrammetric analysis in biomechanics research, advances in technology have continued to drop the price point of entry.
Harnessing Game Gear
Now, iPi Desktop Motion Capture software from Moscow-based iPiSoft combined with Microsoft’s Kinect interface has pushed mocap down to a price point well under $1000. But is this a usable combo for small producers considering a mocap-based project?
When I first heard about iPiSoft’s markerless motion capture technology, I was intrigued. When used with two standard Microsoft Kinect motion sensors, here was a product that promised to deliver accurate motion capture for a fraction of the cost of traditional mocap systems. The setup also promised to do mocap without the use of markers. While these reflective objects affixed to an actor’s suit have traditionally been used to track motion, the use of them raises the price of a setup. iPiSoft’s app and two Kinects, meanwhile, constitute a minimal package that also doesn’t require alternate gear such as inertial sensors, nor teams of technicians or even dedicated studio space.
Quite a claim. But how justified was it? After putting it through its paces, I came up with an interesting conclusion.