Real time motion capture

Hi ppl,

I am a research student at a university with access to motion capture equipment. I am just starting a project, and I am wondering whether blender can be a suitable engine for me. I want to control a 3d model, in real time using the mocap sensors, in a virtual environment where it will be interacting with the world. I hope I am clear on my intentions… if anyone wants me to clarify please let me know!

So my questions basically are : Is there a way for blender to handle real time motion capture? Is there a way to use the date from real time import to control a 3d model while being in the blender engine?


Basically, yes. GameBlender is able to use data from motion capture system. You just need Python module that will provide access to these data. I don’t know your motion capture equipment, so I can’t tell, how hard it’ll be to create (or get) this Python module.

GameBlender has one major disadvantage - it’s not able to control armatures using realtime data.

I am using a Vicon motion capture system. There is no way that Game blender will control models with real time data?

Hi. we are starting similar project with NaturPoint OptiTracker, but we are just starting. We can change expierences.

I work with real-time animation and Blender and Ashsid is right, there is no way currently to directly control armatures using motion capture. The work-around I use is to use input devices (joysticks, mocap devices, etc.) to trigger pre-programmed movements. For example, you can have an action in the GE called “Head Turn Right” that is triggered when someone turns their head right, but all it is doing is triggering the action.

BTW, GlovePIE is a handy scripting tool for getting a variety of different input devices to talk with Blender - no Python required (I’m not sure if it supports Vicon or not).

Thanx everyone for your replies.
Buck-Beaver do you know of any other game engine that is capable of controlling armatures using real time motion capture?

btw thanx for GlovePIE, i am sure it will come useful somehow!

Panda 3D is a very good engine that allows for real-time control of bones. I know a couple people who have worked with it very successfully. It’s also free, open source and fairly well documented.

You might also be interested in looking at Movie Sandbox, which is a set of open source Machinima tools based on the Unreal Tournament 2004 engine (the engine itself is not open source; you have to buy a copy of UT 2004 to use MovieSandbox). The developer is very friendly and it would be neat to see how it could be used with mocap devices.

Beyond that I would suggest looking at Motion Builder. It’s very expensive ($4000 US for a license I think), but for educational purposes the Personal Learning Edition is free.

Well, the university does have a license for motion builder, so that is good news. I am still waiting for them to install it for me though and they seem to take their sweet time!

Does motion builder have a game engine though? Will the models be able to interact with each other and the virtual world?

Well, I have only worked with the PLE of Motion Builder a bit because the price for the full version makes it cost-prohibitive for my studio so I am not an authority on it. It is not so much a game engine as it is an animation program that allows you to work in real-time. If you are looking to build a “virtual world” and bone control via motion capture is required I think Panda 3D is your best bet.

Check out the work from the Exploring Virtual Worlds course at Carnegie Mellon University. They use Panda almost exclusively and do a lot of immersive environment/virtual reality work.