Framestore Integrates IKinema into its Motion Capture Pipeline
New Plug-in Enables Users to Create or Retarget Data Inside Maya in Real-time
, September 19, 2011, Bringing a new age of motion capture processing to the industry, IKinema™ LTD announced today that the leading VFX house in London, Framestore, has incorporated IKinema technology into its motion capture production pipeline. Chosen for its powerful, fast and remarkably controllable design, IKinema’s inverse kinematics (IK) solver is now the key motion capture solving and retargeting tool that Framestore uses to create special effects and animation for both its broadcast and VFX projects.
“The IKinema solver is a fantastic solution for a wide range of skeleton control issues,” said Nicolas Scapel, head of rigging at Framestore. “By using IKinema’s advanced solver settings and its extremely flexible constraint system, we have been able to iteratively improve our solving solution and accuracy. With the ability to easily reproduce this same setup script on many shots, we will be shaving days and weeks off our production time.”
Once Framestore integrated IKinema into its core motion capture pipeline, the results they had been hoping for began to appear. It is now possible to take tracked and filtered point cloud data from mocap software and easily animate a high-resolution skeleton by assigning their data to a linked set of joints. This process can be scripted via IKinema SDK and reused on every future take, which saves time by producing high-quality results.
For a recent VFX project, it was extremely important for Framestore to obtain the most accurate and truthful reproduction of a particular actor’s motion. By overlaying IKinema’s solver with calibrated witness camera footage, Framestore was able to determine how well the solver matched the actor’s movement. Not only did the solver prove incredibly accurate, but it also gave the studio a newfound flexibility that streamlined the entire mocap solving and retargeting pipeline.
“IKinema’s strength lies in that it is very generic, not hardcoded for a simple biped or quadruped,” continues Nicolas. “On top of supporting any skeleton topology, the solver speed is really amazing. The advanced skeleton controls, such as joint limits and the flexible constraint system, make it very easy to adapt to a wide range of IK production circumstances. IKinema is really unique in what it does, and how it does it – it’s like something we have always been missing without knowing it…”
IKinema technology enables users to create and retarget data directly inside Maya, in real-time and for a fraction of the cost of alternative solutions. IKinema converts virtually any skeleton model to a full feature rig while generating fluid and life-like full-body animation for a wide range of characters. Retargeting can also be executed from other models, for rapid customizations of existing assets, or directly from motion capture data such as position markers and joint data. Additional features include real-time links to Vicon and Xsens motion capture systems for real-time streaming, retargeting and recording of data, as well as automatic balance and center of mass control for rapid animation. For more information and a technology video, please visit:
Framestore is one of the largest visual effects and computer animation studios in Europe, with more than 20 years of experience in digital film and video technology. It has won and received nominations for dozens of international accolades for work on major feature film productions. In 2008, Framestore won a BAFTA and an Academy Award for best visual effects in recognition for the polar bears and environments they created for “The Golden Compass.” In 2009, it was nominated for the same awards for their work on “The Dark Knight.” Framestore was also the only UK facility awarded shots on James Cameron’s “Avatar,” a film that went on to win the 2010 Academy Award for best visual effects. In 2011, Framestore was nominated for a best visual effects Oscar again, for work completed on “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.”
Current Film projects include: “War Horse,” “Gravity,” “Johnny English Reborn,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Clash of the Titans 2,” “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”
Based in the UK, IKinema™ uses patent-pending technology for fast full-body solving and animation. With customers ranging from Framestore’s London Studio to Twentieth Century Fox’s pre-visualization department, IKinema’s technology enables animators to rig characters and stream, record and retarget motion capture data in a fraction of the time and cost of alternative solutions. Available as game middleware, standalone software or an online solution, IKinema’s technology is poised to radically simplify the motion capture workflows for professional production studios and bring real-time motion editing within the reach of home users.