When I first saw the Bunny video, I wasn’t exactly sure what these guys were doing but it became quite clear when I watched their first tutorial on using NI Mate. They’ve built a plugin for Blender which is a 3d content creation suite. The plugin allows them to map objects & cameras to their hands to create a quick animation with an object. It also allows them to map to a humanoid to create animations. While not perfect, I do believe these guys are on to something. I remember messing around with Poser years ago. I created a fight scene between two characters. Creating an animation was a pretty lengthy process. This plugin would have cut the time down considerably. I don’t know if the plugin would allow 2 people to be linked up to 2 characters but with choreography a scene with 2 character interaction probably could be produced by producing the animations for each separately.
The tutorial video demonstrates a basic animation recording which could then be edited. Following are 2 tutorials, one with the Ni Mate plugin and one without Ni Mate:
This first video is the animation of a character using blender only. It’s quite lengthy.
And now the first tutorial presented by the Delicode team showing the use of the Ni Mate plugin. It’s a bit crude but for a first tutorial definitely shows how you could speed up 3d animation when mapped to a 3d character. I do think a combination of the animation production procedures without it and with the plugin should help 3d animators speed up their work.
Of course The Kinected Bunny that the team produced to explain their plugin does a good job showing what is possible with this software.
While I don’t think that this plugin will eliminate the necessary animation editing capabilities of the software, I do think when used in combination it will speed up the animation process.
Julius Tuomisto and Janne Karhu of Delicode have produced the Ni Mate to work with Blender for motion capture. Check them out at Ni Mate.