Testing Motion Capture with Kinect

Story and pictures: Heidi Mäenpää
Last Thursday a TAMK student Jussi Salonen held a lecture on the Finlayson campus about using Microsoft Kinect for motion capture. Everything was made possible with Blender, a free open source 3D computer graphics software, which the 10IMPs also have tried out during their Animation course last spring.

Jussi preparing his presentation

The program Jussi used for the motion capture is called Brekel Kinect. At the moment the program only runs on Windows (the creator doesn't seem to be a huge fan of fruits!) and its purpose is to make more people in the 3D community acquainted with entry level motion capture, as well as 3D object/environment scanning. At the moment it can only record data from one Kinect, but perhaps in the future multiple cameras can be used.
Tuomo Joronen trying out the software

Our teacher Tuomo Joronen was the bravest when experimenting on how his movements could be tracked by the program, but later Emma Kiiski also showed us her great ninja moves. After exporting the tracked movement to Blender a skeleton (with epic moves) brought a ready-modeled character alive smoothly with only a few adjustments.
Skeleton and character slowly starting to cooperate

Arriving straight from the Game Design workshop the IMPs were very eager to hear if the program could also be used when creating characters for games. Jussi didn't say it was impossible, so perhaps we will see some characters being brought to life by using this program! Of course for most people it is more convenient to use it when creating normal animations.
Some Tiko people from the main campus also joined us

I can honestly say I enjoyed Jussi's presentation, and will definitely want to try this out on my own! After all Score has their own Kinect which members can test this program out with! I was glad when Jussi agreed to send us some instructions on what to do and how to make things work. Here you can find detailed instructions and things you should download! And also, don't forget to install Blender or some other 3D program similar to it.
When everything has been installed, remember to tick the Motion Capture Addon!
Blender -> File -> User Preferences -> Addons

Here is also a short video of how everything went, make sure you check it out as well!

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