My theory is: Why can’t we take a wire armature, hot glue or gorilla glue motion capture dots on said armature, set up a miniature motion capture stage, and go to town?
I want to do comic books, but my drawing skills… they’re not the greatest. Specifically, perspective and having things look the same in all the panels. I figured I learn to use Blender and make my art that way. However, I wondered if there was an easier way to move CG models other than through a mouse.
I’m also interested in digital puppetry and found out about the MoCap for Artists by Brian Windsor and Midori Kitagawa. Specifically, chapter 11, which described on how a little imagination with where the motion capture dots are attached, like attaching dots to a stick and moving a creatures eye with that, can motion capture any creature. Definitely inspiring, both on turning almost any Pixar film into a Pixar/Jim Henson hybrid, and with coming up with idea.
I figured I do a web search and see if anyone else had that idea or something similar to how Jurassic Park’s animators used armature with sensors to move their CG dinos. Nothing for optical motion capture and very little on mechanical. I found the Qumarion and the Monkey 2 armatures and… that was it. Both are either unavailable or has a website I can’t find, but the biggest punch is their price… four zeros after the number (and the Monkey’s number was 15) but none after the decimal point. Obviously outside most people’s price range (at least outside mine.)
I don’t see any reason why attaching the dots to a wire armature couldn’t work. Even if the face and hands are too small to be included on the armature, you motion capture parts at different times. Just have a separate hand armature and face armature and you’re covered.
As for prices, that’s kind of a stumble but not a huge hindrance. I found HD webcams for $30 a pop and I figured the stage would need 4-8. Also, 30 facial motion capture dots are $30 as well. I’m not sure how many I’d need (never capture motion in my life unless you count videotaping) but my best guess is that would good for at least 1 ½ to 2 armatures which you might be able to get away with if all your characters are mostly the same body shape (ie. quadruped, bipedal, octopuses, etc…) Worst case scenario, it could be easy to go over $1000, but it’d be just as easy to stay under that or even $500. Going over the $15000 of the Monkey 2… maybe, if you’re buying all the equipment James Cameron used for Avatar. Just webcams and wire, I doubt it.
Furthermore, I think the fact these are wire armatures means there would be little to no collusion to worry about, meaning a higher limit of characters you could capture at once. Also, it’s almost ridiculously easy to make wire armatures and make them the shape you need, like human, bunny, or dragon.
I don’t see a lot of problems with this method but like I said, I haven’t done a lot of computer animation. That’s why I’m letting you guys know. Does anyone see huge problems with this kind of set up for someone knowing what they’re doing with Blender or their chosen software? Is it insane and, if so, the good kind of insanity that means it could work?