Chapter 5. Motion Capture and Animation

Traditionally, if you wanted to reconstruct and capture the realistic motions of a 3D model, you would need to set up an elaborate rig involving sensors connected to every joint of the person being tracked. This technique, known as electromechanical motion capture, is not exactly the best way to capture realistic human movement for the average hobbyist with an interest in mocap. With the introduction of the Kinect’s full skeletal tracking capabilities, we can now extract skeletal joint tracking data and import it into widely used motion capture software solutions such as MotionBuilder, Animata, Blender, Maya, Daz3D, and more!

In this chapter, we’ll be using NI mate from Finnish startup Delicode. NI mate is a small but powerful software platform that takes real-time motion capture data from a Kinect and turns it into two industry-standard protocols: Open Sound Control (OSC) and Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI). NI mate is available for both Windows and Mac OS X (with a Linux version pending). NI mate offers users easy installation and a powerful yet user-friendly configuration interface. Keeping to standard protocols for output makes NI mate a flexible piece of software that can be applied in a vast number of scenarios.

By downloading free add-ons and templates made available for a number of 3D and audio software packages, you can instantly transform your Kinect into a powerful performance interface (see an example in Figure 5-1). ...

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