Animation Prep Studio - VR motion capture story builder (optimized for Blender).
A few years ago I was trying to create some VR experience with humanoid animations for training simulators. But I found it was difficult using a Kinect and other software, So I tried a few StreamVR based mocap applications and still found even a single take required many multiple post processing steps such as re-targeting, tracking smoothing, finger animations, animating facial blendshapes and visimes and many other steps.
I felt I could design a single tool (and workflow) to eliminate many steps while using a game engine to automatically and simultaneously (and in an enjoyable way) record avatars and props together in real scenes for true immersion. For a couple of years now I have been developing a tool which provides users the ability to combine their consumer VR body trackers (or Kinect + Driver4VR) and their HMDs to a verity of sensor fusion integrations to creat fluid and natural recordings using simultaneous head and body tracking, finger tracking from Knuckles or mocap gloves, facecap, visimes and gaze tracking all in one environment to provide the most natural results. Includes other abilities such as ragdoll physics and joints to add effects or allow editing or interacting with multi-avatar scenes. Combines much of the necessary automation and features into a single workflow to help negate many of the mundane tasks of animating and allow artists to focus on creating instead of repeating.
The term “getting into character” may apply here as literally connecting one’s self to an avatar as completely as possible and then looking into a (VR) mirror while acting out a script. And I totally added some Unity projects on Github that let users include their own custom avatars, props and scenes just for this purpose!
What problem does this solve that many people have?
I originally developed this tool to solve a need I had to create some VR training videos, but since has matured into a functional story telling system with the ability to export entire compilations as standard filetypes allowing applications such as Blender to import the recorded media. This is useful for anyone who would like to create VR storyboards or experiences, or for character modelers who would like to “become” their creations (and fully supports FuseCC, Mixamo, Daz3D, ReallusionCC3 and Makehuman).
It is also tailored to users who would like a means to quickly add character animations into a Blender movie or short film (using the included SceneLoader.blend automation script). And can easily be used to generate .fbx files for use in Unity games as well.
What does it feel like to use it?
The user experience ranges, depending on if wearing feet and hip trackers (optional elbows, knees, chest) you may achieve an enhanced tracking experience as the avatar may be connected to the player’s 11 points of body tracking, Even the VivePro Eye is fully supported for gaze and blink tracking. Extra trackers or not It’s still lots of fun, and being able to record then immediately playback in VR has many interesting uses, while being able to create stories and add multiple characters (and props) can be extremely entertaining!
- Uses Unity3D™ engine based gaming environment in conjunction with SteamVR™ full-body
tracking to record, playback and edit captured animation data with tools for rapid compilation.
- Using HTC™ Vive Trackers (Up to 10 points) for optional full body tracking.
- SteamVR Knuckles compatible for individual finger control (default controllers also work).
- Vive Pro Eye support for eye and blink tracking.
- Actor, Director, Cameraman and many other virtual roles may be fulfilled by a single user.
- Audio recording and character lip-syncing.
- Facial expression recording tools/editing tools (no additional hardware required).
- Includes default avatars, props and worlds to get your project rolling immediately.
- Create avatars from Reallusion CC3 or Makehuman™ .mhx2 plugin and Blender - See: Creating Custom Avatars.
- Create custom props and worlds for environment immersion during recordings.
- Create “story pages” and replay entire compilations on a page-by-page basis.
- Includes ability to export entire scenes to Blender™ and automatically generate a
scenebuilder.blendfile to load the compilation as a Blender Cycles (or EEVEE) project instantly!