Sunday, March 23, 2008

animation creation

Here is a video introduction to a free app called qavimator. Developed as a tool for Second Life, it has the abilty to *import, edit and create bvh files. As you all know, with the latest version of ANTICS3D, it's now possible to import .bvh and either have a character "play" the animation or set in the character's properties tab. It's my first vid tut so I hope you like it. I found using the application fairly straightforward. (left click and shift left click and thumbwheel for cam view). Click on a body part and then adjust the sliders on the right. Move your timeline along and set the next pose. A nice feature is the ease in and ease out options with is available for each keyframe. (I'd love for antics to adopt this!) It means your characters movements won't be robotic. If you want to go back and change a parameter then just click on the keyframe in the timeline and off you go. Very clever design, nice job.
I wanted my character to move smoothly from the antics sitting pose to the first frame of the custom animation I was creating. So to align the Antics character with the model in qavi, I set up the Camera views in both apps to match, (the window sizes) and then set the qavi tab to 'Not' protect first frame. Now it was simply a matter of posing my qavi girl to match the Antics girl. It took three gos. So have fun, oh I did discover one bug, the app doesn't like all .bvh files. Let me know how you go.

Update: thanks to JPiazzo
Carnegie Mellon University has a HUGE collection of free motion capture files 2605 in all vailable for download free with no use restrictions. They have a database that you can search and small video files of each motion. They are in tvd, c3d, and amc format not directly compatable with Antics but this tool AMC2BVH, will convert them to BVH files also get another free program bvhacker here: you'll need this also.
I downloaded the entire archive here once the CMU .amc file is converted to BVH it will import into Antics - but not perfectly. Most of the problem is in the initial arm offset ( left and right clavicle & humerus joints) also sometimes neckalignment. I have had success editing these files prior to import in the bvHacker program using XYZ offsets.(If you try rclavicle z +19, lclavicle z -19 lhumerus z -50 rhumerus z +50 as a start) Also these files are recorded at 120 frams per second which will play slow in Antics. Bvhackers Frame Time function can re-sample the speed though. You can also trim the moves into smaler parts which is a good idea as some captures are quite long but have many good smaller moves like turns, twists, and walk run stop transitions. I'd be happy to do a tut if I figure this all out.