The next article explaining why Remedy is I posted a photo of a dog in a motion capture suit to Twitter was submitted to Gamasutra by Vida Starcevic of Remedy Entertainment. “It was all done in collaboration with our amazing animation and cinematography team (and of course Uno),” he adds.
I had a dog, a motion capture studio, and leisure time. So we wondered why?
Let’s see if we can capture some useful data with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Uno owned by Junior Cinematographer Samika Starinen. At least that’s the beginning of everything.
And a photo of Uno with a motion capture marker was posted on Remedy’s. twitter, And a momentary experiment spread by word of mouth.
People wanted to know who the dog was. They speculated that we were working on a John Wick game. (We are not.) Some of them couldn’t believe we didn’t put a marker on the tail. But they all agreed on one thing: Uno was a very, very good boy.
Here at Remedy, we have our own custom-built motion capture studio and we are proud to do a lot of our own motion capture. But we have only captured humans so far. According to animation team supervisor Henri Blåfield, the team did some less serious tests with dogs a few years ago. So this time, I decided to start over.
Improve puppy motion capture
Due to his playful personality and fast learning skills, Uno was an ideal candidate. The only goal we had in mind was to see if it could be done on the equipment we have. Maybe if the data worked, I thought I could move it forward and put it in Motionbuilder to see if I could do anything with it.
First there was planning and logistics. I looked at reference photos and data from other studios to see the tactics for doing motion capture with my dog. Our baseline was human. This is a type of motion capture performed by Remedy that examines the differences in movement of specific areas of the joints and body between humans (or bipedalism if necessary) and quadrupeds. In our case, it’s Uno the Staffy.
This wasn’t very well planned, so I didn’t have the time or resources to sew a custom mocap suit for Uno and put a marker on it. I decided to improvise, so I rented a surgical recovery suit for my dog. Uno is a very patient dog that I have never worn, but the thickness of the fabric made me feel uncomfortable.
Fortunately, Uno had his own walking harness that could be used as a base for the marker. In addition, junior cinematographer Sami and one of the animators, Matthias Reminen, added markers with tape that they found to come off easily. Of course, if the dog doesn’t come off easily, don’t tape it! The amount of markers used for this was sufficient to provide baseline data. But ideally we’ll add more for future reference. For example, you can add a tail marker.
However, this time, I felt that it was more important to get a natural movement from Uno than to place the markers accurately. When I placed the first set of markers, I noticed that the squirrel was walking a little stiff, so I had to adjust the placement of the markers. In order to achieve that natural movement, the placement of the markers needed to be more comfortable.
When Uuno got used to the markers, he started recording baseline gait data. I also recorded a lot of other things, including tricks that Uno can perform. Rollovers, squirrel poses, and so on. Overall, it was a new situation for Uno, and he felt excited and very happy. He knew there was potential, but in this first test I wanted to be light and playful.
What is it? He had a lot of fun doing it. There was no harm to the dog during this experiment! He likes attention … and a delicious chicken treat. Comparing this to previous motion capture tests using quad wrap, Uno was larger in this case than the dog I used last time, but the problem I encountered was very similar to the previous one. This shows how much effort and training needs to be put into such cases.
In the future, if you need motion capture data from Uno at some point, the first thing you’ll need is a suitable motion capture suit with a lighter fabric and well-positioned markers. That’s our number one priority, but the proceedings can be big and big – what if Uuno isn’t completely used to it and his movements are unnatural? If that happens, the data may eventually become unusable in the long run. At best, it is used for reference only.
What kind of reference? By comparing the data from successful animal motion capture with keyframe animation, you can see which of the two solutions is more cost effective for us and our needs. Do you handle gimmicks? Do you need playable character animations? Partner? The amount of data required depends greatly on the type of character you use. Depending on how much you need, motion capture may be the solution, or keyframe animation may be better and faster. I don’t know until I try.
Even if you can’t record a satisfactory motion capture, you can still use the data as a basis for pauses and timing. There is also the question of how many technical loops you need to jump to do this with the Northlight engine.
If there is enough need to record Uno’s motion capture in the future, I think this is feasible and possibly a step forward. Remedy has moved to Espoo’s new big studio (see video of work in progress). This is because the company was too big for an old studio. The bigger the building, the bigger the motion capture studio.
The new mocap studio floor is about four times the size of the old floor, but the larger area alone wasn’t enough. I wanted to take the quality of the captured data one step further. This, of course, meant that a significant number of cameras were needed to reach that goal. As the number of cameras increases, the captured data becomes more reliable. Increasing the volume size may capture a longer range of movement and choreography.
And who knows, maybe even a dog.