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Motion Capture - Rigging Two Bodies

Updated: Jan 4, 2020

This week we worked with motion capturing two bodies in a scene with Motive and then imported them into Unreal. Below is the process!

Step 1 - Labs:

We used the motion capture studio to come up with three different scenes to capture. We chose the following:

1. Lion king with baby Simba.

2. Titanic Rose and Jack in the water.

3. Pulp Fiction dance scene.

The first two scenes proved really difficult to capture mostly because they required other people to help with the scene and there was a lot of obfuscation of the body trackers and therefore large gaps of data. We ended up choosing the pulp fiction dance scene as our best option and least amount of work to data clean (the other scenes had huge gaps in data).

Motion Capture Recording Process with Motive:

Pulp Fiction Dance Scene Inspiration:

Step 2 - Importing to Unreal:

I created a new avatar from last week, because I wanted something plain and simple. I didn't put any clothes or hair and tried to keep the body as gender neutral as possible (to the extent that MakeHuman would allow me). I planned on using textures instead for the avatars later in Unreal.

Once the newly created avatar was rigged through Mixamo, I used the exported fbx files from the lab to sync the rigged avatar to both the animations/body movements of Mingna and myself (one at a time). When in Unreal, I imported the skeletal mesh first and then the avatar with Mingna (no skeletal mesh, just needed the animation) and the avatar with myself (also no skeletal mesh). This was so I wouldn't overload Unreal with redundant skeletal meshes.

I dropped us both in my created world (cutting out the T-pose and going straight to the dancing) and this was the product:

Last step was to add a texture to the avatars - and below was the final outcome!

A Few Takeaways:

1. I had a lot of problems just finding a working windows computer from the ER. It took me a total of over two hours just to get set up and I almost gave up, frustrated, but glad I did not. Some computers didn't have the proper software installed, or no one knew the password to access the computer and some just didn't seem to work at all. There's probably a total of three working windows with everything good to go.

2. Notes To Self: When you do a T-pose in the beginning make sure your arms are STRAIGHT! This was my fault and ended up making my arm look broken when I was importing the avatar to MotionBuilder.

Also, if you're copying a scene, remember your head is also being tracked. Because Mingna and I were looking at the dance scene as we were recording, you can see our heads constantly turning to one side.

5. What is the best way to record your video in Unreal? I know HighResShot 4 gets you a photo. I used Xbox Game engine to screen record, but didn't find it to be the best.

4. I wanted to see how my bodies would look in all glass, but I guess the eyeballs don't translate into that as well? 😂

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