Vicon

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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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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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The Institute of Movement Science and Sport Medicine of the University of Geneva and the Willy Taillard Laboratory of Kinesiology of the University Hospital of Geneva contacted us for an unusual motion capture session. Daniel Jaquet, a PhD student in Humanities, focuses his research on the description of fights in full armor in historical documents from the 16th century. Part of his thesis work aims at analyzing the range of possible movements while wearing such a 30 kg medieval armor. By using motion capture, he will be able to get a comprehensive amount of data.

Daniel - The Knight      Markers attached to the armor

For this mocap session, the main issue was related to the reflective surface of the armor. Indeed, reflections can be perceived as markers by the camera, introducing a lot of unwanted artefacts. By tuning our MXT40S cameras’ parameters and the reconstruction settings, we were able to solve this issue and collect good data for his study.

Mocap with a medieval armorHere are some clips of the recording session:

 Thanks to Stéphane Armand, Alice Bonnefoy and Daniel’s equerry for their help during the mocap session!

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Are you interested in learning more about motion capture or simply curious to discover the magic of mocap? On May 7th and 8th 2012, we will organize a workshop at artanim in collaboration with Focal.

The goal of this two-day workshop will be to put hands on our two motion capture systems: our 24 cameras MXT40s Vicon system and our Xsens MVN motion capture suit. From system calibration to final rendering, the whole pipeline will be covered.

Mocap with Vicon System   Mocap with Xsens   Motion capture studio

 

Program:

  • The first day will be dedicated to capture data. After a brief theoretical presentation on motion capture, participants will be able to try each system and assess their advantages and drawbacks.
  • The second day will focus on data post-processing and their integration in a 3D authoring software. This will allow the participants to get a clearer view of what is involved when using motion capture for 3D animation.

Registration to this workshop is open until April 4th on Focal’s website.

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artanim participated in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2011 which rewards the finest watch creations of the year. The ceremony was held at the Grand Théâtre de Genève on Saturday 19th of November 2011. Simply the best Swiss watchmakers were present, as well as the President of the Confederation – Micheline Calmy-Rey – the Director of the United Nations in Geneva and Ambassadors.

Under the theme “Time in the cinema”, artanim created in collaboration with Move for Art a show combining dance and 3D animation, a leap into the future marked by the inevitable epic sci-fi film “Star Wars” created by George Lucas. Darth Vader, the head of the imperial army, was embodied on stage by a dancer (Manuel Vignoulle). Its 3D clone, as well as the imperial troops were projected on big screens behind him and animated by the rhythm of his motion.

The video of the show is available in our portfolio. Check it out!

 

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marker setup for motion capture
Last Thursday, the students from the Digital Film Animation Program of SAE Institute Geneva came to our studio for a great workshop on motion capture.
After 5 hours of theoretical lectures, the students were able to discover our motion capture studio and get their hands on our Vicon system.

The first step was to learn how to calibrate properly the system: camera parameters adjustment, reflections, wand wave and finally setting up the origin of the system. Once this was done, they quickly dressed up and started to position the reflective markers on the actors. Care was taken not to forget one!
The next step was to calibrate the actors. A range of motion was first captured and then processed to fit a virtual skeleton to the performers. Last check: no marker is missing, reconstruction is fine, the labeling and the solve is ok… Good! Now let’s capture something!

During the afternoon, a few movements were captured and then post-processed. The students were also able to preview in real-time their animation in Motionbuilder. A lot of fun but also a nice way to check how the actor performance will be transposed to a 3D character.
Motion capture courses with SAE institute Motion capture courses

 

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Here is artanim’s new motion capture demo reel. Discover our facilities and motion capture systems!

Taekwondo and tango movements were captured using our 24 cameras Vicon system. Rock climbing and mountain bike were tracked with our Xsens MVN suit.

Special thanks to Valerie, Sina, Etienne and Houmi for their participation.

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Body motion captureThe artanim foundation is pleased to invite you to their open day:

Saturday 24th of September 2011 from 10am to 5pm

The artanim foundation is dedicated to the development and promotion of motion capture. We conduct research projects in computer animation and biomedicine, educational activities and cultural activities such as the creation of audiovisual projects and events. The foundation is supported by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.

We will present our different motion capture systems:

  • Vicon: 24 MXT40S cameras, 110m2 studio
  • Xsens: MVN suit allowing outdoor capture session

To help us cater for the correct number of visitors, we would be grateful if you could contact us to let us know your company name and number of people in your party.

Our team looks forward to meeting you and will be pleased to answer any of your questions!

Caecilia Charbonnier
Clementine Lo
Sylvain Chagué

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