Question about Mocap and C4D

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Old 10 October 2012   #1
Question about Mocap and C4D

Hi there.

I want to start working with some BVH files which come into Cinema with their own rigs.

Is it possible to apply the animation data on the BVH rig to Cinema's built in character rig?

If so, how does one do that?

Thanks!

Joe.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #2
You have a mocap template in the character builder with various options (Daz/poser, Mixamo...).

Choose the most appropriate one then use a retarget tag to transfer the motion from the imported BVH to your character rig.

Note that the Daz/Poser compatible is only in R14 I think.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #3
Thank you Eric.

By the way, does anyone know of any good sources of free bvh files that I can use to experiment with in Cinema 4D?

Incidentally, BVH is the best format to use for Mocap data in C4D. Correct?

Last edited by JoeHerman : 10 October 2012 at 03:45 AM.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #4
https://sites.google.com/a/cgspeed..../motion-capture

Carnegie mellon university mocap data
 
Old 10 October 2012   #5
Thanks again.

I guess you would need to make sure the two rig hierchies match (the BVH and the Character Object) to make the Retarget tag work.

Last edited by JoeHerman : 10 October 2012 at 05:22 AM.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #6
If you uncheck 'use hierarchy instead of names' then you can just make sure that the names of the controlers match, even if the hierarchies differ.
You will need to make sure the starting rotations are similar though.
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Old 10 October 2012   #7
why BVH over fbx if I may ask?
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Old 10 October 2012   #8
I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that question. Perhaps someone else can elucidate.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #9
Bvh is a bad format. There is no standard really. The mocaptemplates bvh is for poser specifically(r14 ony). The one in r13, i dont even know what that was based off of.

FBX is often better but it all really depends on how you are getting the mocap files like what app are you getting them from? Because a bvh from poser is different from a bvh from daz. Same with fbx and such.
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Old 10 October 2012   #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by xfon5168
Bvh is a bad format. There is no standard really.


I'm not sure it's a question of Bvh being a 'bad' format, just that in general people tend to not use the exact same skeleton hierarchy in different studios. All it is is a hierarchy of joints really like FBX but people set them up differently depending on what capture technology they are using.
I've seen the same thing with FBX files, lots of variety in how they are set up, particularly in the spine joints (a lot of variation in how many joints for example), sometimes they have roll joints in the arms and legs, some times not etc etc

With Mocap it's tricky to find consistent files IMO if you are sourcing them from different places, what I do is encourage clients to always source their motion from one studio only if possible, then I take the skeleton that comes from that studio, make a T-Pose version with no animation and then use that as the bind skeleton to skin the characters to and retarget the different motion files to.
Unless you get really lucky and the skeleton hierarchy happens to match one of the preset skeletons that ships with the C4D character builder it's a simpler way IMO. Sure you can use constraints etc to patch things up but often that's more hassle, you don't get a 1:1 transfer and it doesn't really save any time in my experience.

For my money I'd recommend the Rocketbox characters, they are good quality, come in various LOD for the meshes and their mocap is generally pretty good quality. The advantage of sourcing the characters and the mocap from the same place of course is that the skeletons match exactly, so they are ready to go for retargeting. I made extensive use of them on a job a couple of years back and had very little issues with them.
I've played around with some of the free mocap files out there and to be honest a lot of it is pretty crappy.. you get what you pay for I guess.

Cheers,
Brian

Last edited by Horganovski : 10 October 2012 at 09:45 AM.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #11
Howdy,

With all the issues of getting mocap imports to fit existing characters, I've found that sometimes it's easier to just use the imported mocap skeleton as a guide and then hand animate the character by matching it up in key poses.

Adios,
Cactus Dan
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Old 10 October 2012   #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cactus Dan
sometimes it's easier to just use the imported mocap skeleton as a guide and then hand animate the character


A great point. On the one job where I did a lot of mocap cleanup, the 'Disco Biscuits' videos, I found the shots that turned out best were the ones where I pretty much dumped the mocap apart from a few poses and just redid it by hand. Often it's just faster rather than fighting with what the capture gives you.

Cheers,
Brian
 
Old 10 October 2012   #13
Their models look fantastic. How do you get them into c4d? Their website only lists maya/max compatibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horganovski
For my money I'd recommend the Rocketbox characters, they are good quality, come in various LOD for the meshes and their mocap is generally pretty good quality. The advantage of sourcing the characters and the mocap from the same place of course is that the skeletons match exactly, so they are ready to go for retargeting. I made extensive use of them on a job a couple of years back and had very little issues with them.
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Old 10 October 2012   #14
Heh, touchy subject.. at the time we were using R11.5 and the FBX bugs in that meant we had to switch the project from Cinema to Maya. That was a fun Christmas, talk about a steep learning curve, anyhoo it's all good now I enjoy using both apps these days.

Rocketbox supply native Maya/Max files and FBX too though so these days in theory they should be perfectly usable in Cinema R13/14. I guess it might be good to ask for a sample to test out though. I know the project manager at the time on the job we were working on asked for that and they were very accommodating.

[Edit - now that I think about it - it may have been the case that they supplied the textured models as Maya/Max formats and just the mocap as FBX. Worth asking them I guess, they really were great characters for quickly populating a virtual world. Our 'hero' characters were created by a dedicated modeler and I rigged them, all of the NPCs were Rocketbox and driven by mocap.

Cheers,
Brian

Last edited by Horganovski : 10 October 2012 at 04:28 PM.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #15
Hello,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Quote:
I'm not sure it's a question of Bvh being a 'bad' format...

Agreed. I've brought in some BVH files before, and thought they looked pretty good to me.

Quote:
I take the skeleton that comes from that studio, make a T-Pose version with no animation and then use that as the bind skeleton to skin the characters to and retarget the different motion files to. Unless you get really lucky and the skeleton hierarchy happens to match one of the preset skeletons that ships with the C4D character builder it's a simpler way IMO.

Sounds like a smart way to work to me.

Quote:
For my money I'd recommend the Rocketbox characters, they are good quality, come in various LOD for the meshes and their mocap is generally pretty good quality.

Nice resource to know about. By the way, what does LOD mean (polygonal density?)

Quote:
I've played around with some of the free mocap files out there and to be honest a lot of it is pretty crappy.. you get what you pay for I guess.

Yes, I was looking for some free ones to learn with. I wouldn't mind paying for better ones for real work. Is there a good resource for high quality mocap data?

Quote:
... they supplied the textured models as Maya/Max formats and just the mocap as FBX.

I'm wondering what the difference is between BVH and FBX for mocap data.

Thanks!
 
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