Tutorial: Kinect MoCap Animation in After Effects — Parts 1-4


By Alicia VanHeulen on Apr 22, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Update: Kinect + AE: A better way to control the puppet’s head. Post by Victoria Nece. Four Part Tutorial on how to use an Xbox Kinect to capture motion and animate in Adobe After Effects.

Kinect MoCap Animation in After Effects — Part 1: Getting Started

Post by Victoria Nece (www.victorianece.com). "Today I’m going to show you how to use your Kinect to animate a digital puppet like this one in After Effects. Once you’re up and running, you’re going to be using a Processing app called KinectToPin, written by the very talented animator Nick Fox-Gieg. That’s where you actually capture the tracking data, as well as where you convert it to keyframe information After Effects can understand."

 

View the Tutorial at victorianece.com

More Tutorials at Toolfarm

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"If you have a Kinect that came with your Xbox, the first thing you’re going to need to do is buy an adapter so you can plug it into your computer’s USB port. You don’t need to get the official Microsoft one — I got a knockoff version from Amazon for six bucks and it’s working just fine...."

View Part 1 of the Motion Capture Tutorial

Kinect MoCap Animation in After Effects — Part 2: Motion Capture with KinectToPin

"You have your USB adapter and you’ve installed all the software I linked in Part I, right? Now it’s time to get KinectToPin up and running..."

View Part 2 of the Motion Capture Tutorial

Kinect MoCap Animation in After Effects — Part 3: Building the Puppet Rigging Template

"So now that you have your tracking data recorded, it’s time to build a character to apply it to. This is where things get a bit complicated..."

 

View Part 3 of the Motion Capture Tutorial

Kinect MoCap Animation in After Effects — Part 4: Rigging a Digital Puppet

Yes, it’s the part you’ve all been waiting for: it’s finally time to set up your character layers! Designing Your Character for Kinect Control.

View Part 4 of the Motion Capture Tutorial

Kinect + AE: A better way to control the puppet’s head

So in my Kinect + After Effects tutorials I offer a couple ways to rig the puppet’s head, but neither one is an ideal solution: the first one leads to occasional face-stretching and the second to increasing the manual animation workload substantially.

But there’s a better way! Put the anchor point in the center of the face, and attach the position keyframe to the Head control point. Then apply the following expression (based on one originally found here) to the rotation parameter:

this_point=thisComp.layer("Spine").effect("Head")("Point");
that_point=thisComp.layer("Spine").effect("Neck")("Point");
delta=sub(this_point, that_point);
angle=Math.atan2(delta[1], delta[0]);
ang = radians_to_degrees(angle);
(ang+90)%360+transform.rotation

Now the head will rotate to match to the angle formed by the head and neck points, but without the weird distortion the Puppet Tool can cause. You can tweak the head’s attach point by shifting the anchor point.

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