Using iPi Motion Capture To Teach 3D Animation In A Public School
A Q&A With Josep Maria Duque, Technical Coordinator at EMAV
(School of Audiovisual Media), Barcelona
Since 1970, EMAV («Escola de Mitjans Audiovisuals», https://www.emav.com/), a public school dependent on the Barcelona Education Consortium, has been actively involved in the training of professionals in the field of Audiovisual Communication. The exciting evolution of the sector over these decades has given the school some convictions regarding the contents and the learning methodology of students.
Being a keystone in audiovisual productions, 3D animation takes its important place in the school’s higher education cycle curriculum; 2-year course consists of 2,000 hours. Motion capture is an important technique in modern production pipelines, so the school needs effective tools for teaching motion capture. EMAV’s choice was iPi Motion Capture, and it’s been successfully used in the school for over 5 years.
We spoke with Josep Maria Duque, EMAV’s technical coordinator, to find out how the school is using iPi Soft (https://www.ipisoft.com/) technology.
Q. Please describe the areas at the EMAV that are using iPi Motion Capture.
iPi Motion Capture is used at the «Escola de Mitjans Audiovisuals» (EMAV) to make the motion captures that are used in the subjects of “3D Animation” and “Videogame Design” of the “3D Animation and Videogames” cycle, where the movements made by the students are captured and applied to the bipedal characters that are imported into 3D Studio and Unreal.
Q. How long has the iPi Motion Capture been in use at EMAV?
We have been using iPi for 5 years, first evaluating its possibilities with the trial version and later acquiring the commercial version.
Q. How did the EMAV team first hear about the software?
We found out about the existence of iPi on the Internet, reading in various forums (like https://www.cgchannel.com ) about its possibilities.
Q. Please describe in detail how iPi Motion Capture is being used at EMAV.
We use the “Basic” version to capture an actor with iPi Recorder with two Kinect v2 cameras (sometimes also with up to 6 Sony PS3 Eye cameras) to later process them with iPi Mocap Studio and export the “bip” file to 3D Max, where we import it into a Character Studio model to later render it, or export it to Unreal, in order to make a video game character. We have also made sometimes a connection with LiveLink, connecting iPi via Real-Time Tracking feature to Unreal to capture in real time and make a live performance.
Q. How many people (students, teachers) have the opportunity to work with iPi Mocap?
Normally we have 30 students per course, but the captures are made in small groups of 3 or 4 students so as not to overwhelm the capture set, and later they are processed individually on a PC that has the program installed.
Q. Does using iPi Motion Capture improve upon a previous workflow, or is this something completely new?
Before iPi we used manual video rotoscoping techniques, which is a lot of work.
Q. What are the major advantages of iPi Motion Capture vs competing products that made you choose it for your work?
The main advantage is that it can be used with affordable hardware, such as Kinect cameras or webcams, and that the process is quite automatic. When we need an ultra-precise capture we use the capture system with VIVE trackers and the Valve index controls for finger capture.
Q. Where do you see the future of markerless motion capture use in your area?
It is increasingly common to use simple webcams that, supported by “AI” techniques, simplify the process and greatly reduce costs and capture time, so systems with “markers” or complex hardware will be relegated to high-budget productions or technical-scientific applications.
Q. Please describe a particular project iPi Motion Capture is being used for.
iPi has been used in several of the subject of MP (“Project module” ) at the end of the course for several years, to animate the 3D characters of the video games made by the students of the cycle.