Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Motion Capture, Part 1: Learning to Rig

Early in July, the opportunity arose to try out motion capture, or mo-cap,  within the university, sort of a joint project with the drama department. Motion capture is, basically, recording the movements of real actors and using those to animate a 3D character without the need for hand animation. It was a fantastic opportunity to get a character animated without much knowledge in animating a 3D model.

Not to mention the stylish mo-cap suits.
Beyond: Two Souls by Quantic Dream and Sony Computer Entertainment.
Image source: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8086/8516491143_0eb89d82b4_o.png
Last accessed: 7th December 2013

After the first meeting, it was established that, in order for the process to begin, I would need a rigged and weighted 3D character ready to import into a program called Motion Builder by Autodesk. It quickly dawned on me that I knew very little about rigging 3D characters, almost nothing about weighting characters and less than that about using Motion Builder.

So, my first objective was to teach myself a little bit about how to properly rig a character I’d already modelled, with the help of a few internet tutorials.

I then set about creating a rig for my monkey character.

I created the rig by going to Skeleton > Joint Tool and started with the base of the spine.

I created one half of the rig from the root at the skeleton.

I mirrored the arm and leg joints.

With the rig complete, I combined it to the mesh by selecting both and going to Skin > Bind Skin > Smooth Bind.

With the model rigged, my next objective is to see how difficult it will be to import a rigged mesh into Motion Builder because this program is also completely new to me and I have no idea how long or labourious the process will be.