Mocap equipment

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Artanim has just moved its offices in Meyrin located only minutes away from the city center and with easy access to the highway, the train station and the International Airport of Geneva. Artanim is now housed within a facility of 273 m2 with a capture stage twice bigger than before. The facility includes offices and a conference room, a sound/post-production studio and a wardrobe/make-up room with shower.

On December 15th, we inaugurated our new offices with our friends, colleagues and partners. For the occasion, we organized a real time dance performance using our Xsens suit in collaboration with the Cie Gilles Jobin (dancer: Susana Panadés Diaz).

Opening 2015   Opening 2015

The Optitrack Insight VCS shoulder mounted

Artanim just added a new tool to its motion capture equipment: the Optitrack Insight VCS, a professional virtual camera system. From now on, everyone doing motion capture at Artanim will be able to step into the virtual set, preview or record real camera movement and find the best angles to view the current scene.

Virtual cinematography with Optitrack Insight VCS and our Vicon System

The motion capture data captured by our Vicon system is processed in real time in MotionBuilder and displayed on the camera monitor. The position of MotionBuilder’s virtual camera is updated by the position of the reflective markers on the camera rig. In addition, the camera operator can control several parameters such as the camera zoom, horizontal panning, etc. The rig itself is very flexible and can be modified to accommodate different shooting styles (shoulder-mounted, hand-held, etc.).

We can’t wait to use it in future motion capture sessions and show you some results. Meanwhile, you can have a look at our first tests in the following video.

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Montreux Jazz Festival demo3D In Motion (3DIM) – our experimental setup of capture, visualization and sonification of movements in real time – was presented at the Montreux Jazz Festival on the 12th of July 2014 during an one hour workshop. For this occasion, a special sound design was developed by Alain Renaud from MINTLab. A mapping of different artists’ audio tracks recorded during their visit to the festival was performed. The tracks were generously provided by the Montreux Jazz Lab of EPFL.

Moreover, several improvements in the 3DIM application were achieved. For instance, an iPad App was implemented to easily switch between the sound design scenarios, a prompter was added to provide instructions to the user and an OSC connection between the sonification and graphical applications was programmed to control visual feedback from sound events.

Again, the feedback from the public was positive. We look forward to developing a first live performance using this system.

More information about the 3DIM project here.

A demo video of the setup including the sonification part will arrive soon. Stay in touch!

Montreux Jazz Festival demo      Montreux Jazz Festival demo

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Electron demoIn collaboration with Alain Renaud from MINTLab, we gave on the 20th of April a workshop at Electron Festival in Geneva. At this occasion, we presented the 3D In Motion (3DIM) experimental setup of capture, visualization and sonification of movements in real time. About twenty people participated to the workshop, where they had the opportunity to test the system and to learn more about the underlying techniques.

It was the first time 3DIM was officially presented to the public and the feedback was positive. This gave us a good basis for further developing the system both in terms of visualization and musicality. The next demonstration will take place in June at the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) Conference in London.

More information about the 3DIM project here.

 

 

Electron demo      Electron demo

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Last week, we were invited at the Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) 2014, a three weeks of compelling educational, cultural and recreational events organized by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia). There, we did a 3 half day workshop on Motion Capture and 3D animation for the students of KAUST. Participants had the chance to test our Xsens MVN system and to follow a course on the challenges related to Mocap and 3D character modeling/animation through case studies and practical examples. According to students feedback, they really enjoyed the workshop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, we participated to the Science Fun Fair, an opportunity for the community and schools from Saudi Arabia to come and learn about the science at KAUST. At this occasion, we did motion capture demos and showed several videos about our latest projects.

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Yesterday, we tested with Tobias Baumann, game designer and freelancer, the Oculus Rift with our Xsens MVN in Unity 3D. The goal was to virtually hit columns of cubes and balloons. Some simple applications to start with, but resulting in a nice full-body immersive VR experience. The first tests were convincing. We will definitely continue working on this topic with Tobias. Stay tuned!

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Sochi 2014 – the next Winter Olympic Games – is coming soon… For us, it was the opportunity to motion capture several winter sports! Indeed, we were contacted by Kenzan Technologies for the making of a 3D animation requiring different short captures of professional athletes. We spent a weekend in Zermatt to acquire the necessary data. The weather conditions were not on our side, -15° at the top, snow falls, zero visibility, not really the best conditions to go skiing with our Xsens system and a computer on the slopes! After experiencing a lot of issues, especially because of the cold, we were finally able to obtain good animation data during the weekend. We captured four athletes in the following disciplines: Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboard.

Hockey motion capture with Xsens MVNSnowboard motion capture with Xsens MVNFreestyle skiing motion capture with Xsens MVN
 

Back in Geneva, we captured three additional people to complete our sample of winter sports: ice hockey, speed skating and bobsleigh. Now you are wondering… Is there a bobsleigh slope in Geneva? Well of course, there isn’t! But with some tricks, a good carpenter and a little practice, it is possible to produce the illusion… Note that for this last capture, it was not necessary to have a professional athlete!

Bobsleight motion capture with Xsens MVN

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Bread roll dance motion capture

The famous bread roll dance from The Gold Rush

We were recently contacted to perform the motion capture for an upcoming short movie entitled “The Great Imitator” created by Boris Beer. This short animated movie will be a tribute to Charlie Chaplin. Without giving too much details, the goal of the shooting was to capture some iconic scenes of Chaplin’s most famous movies.

For example, the first scene we captured was the one from The Great Dictator where Chaplin plays with an inflatable globe. We also had to capture the famous nut screwing scene from Modern Times as well as some scenes from The Kid. Fabrice Bessire (the actor) did a great job reinterpreting Chaplin in those scenes.

Finally, among the selected scenes was the famous “Bread roll dance” from The Gold Rush. In this scene, Charlie Chaplin creates a small ballet by giving life to two forks and two bread roll in order to entertain his friends. As you can see on the pictures, this capture required a very specific and unique bread motion capture setup (patent pending!).

We will talk again about this short film when it will be finished. Stay in touch!

Fabrice Bessire - The actor      Bread Roll Dance - The Gold Rush      Bread motion capture setup

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Last week we tested the motion capture protocol for the research project “Motion and unconsciousness”. The setup is uncommon: subjects are asked to execute movements in the dark while still being able to see the other participant’s hands thanks to phosphorescent tape. They are also equipped with a respiration sensor and headphones with white noise to be isolated from external stimuli.

100 volunteers will participate to the study and be distributed in different groups according to specific criteria. One group will also be captured with simultaneous EEG recording. The goal of the project is to compare the subjective sensation of synchrony with objective data of motor coordination and synchronization acquired from motion capture when two people are engaged in joint action tasks.

 

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In the context of our project Shoulder3D, we spent a day in radiology to acquire specific data required for the validation of our research methodology. The objective of the project is to develop a new kinematic model to reliably evaluate the three-dimensional motion of the shoulder based on motion capture data. In order to compare the kinematics estimated by our methodology with the real motion of the shoulder bones, we performed a double acquisition. We simultaneously recorded motion capture data using our Vicon system and fluoroscopic images.

As you can see on the pictures below, setting up properly the system in such a confine area and dealing with the occlusions of the fluoroscopic device were the tricky parts of our work!

Mocap in fluoroscopy room    Mocap in fluoroscopy room

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