NI mate enters open beta / “The Kinected Bunny”

NI Mate imports Kinect motion capture data in real-time into 3D apps. Blender is the first application that it supports!

Julius Tuomisto writes:

Mine and Janne “jahka” Karhu’s two-man startup Delicode (a part of Studio Lumikuu co-op) just released NI mate in to an open beta. NI (Natural Interaction) mate is a small but powerful software that takes real-time motion capture data from a Kinect or other supported device and turns it into two industry standard protocols: OSC (Open Sound Control) and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). Keeping to standard protocols for output makes the software very flexible.

As we both come from a Blender background (myself running Renderfarm.fi and Janne having coded most of Blender’s current particle code), we had no doubts which software should receive an add-on first. We created the official NI mate add-on for Blender that is now available for free. The add-on enables super simple use of the Microsoft Kinect for real-time motion capture in both the viewport and the Blender Game Engine. In order to demonstrate this new functionality in Blender we decided to create a small short that we call “The Kinected Bunny”. We hope you’ll enjoy it! The whole scene and bunny rig will also be released under CC-BY-SA later this week.

NI mate is now available in open beta for both Windows and Mac OS X (with Linux support coming) from www.ni-mate.com. You need to register in order to participate in the beta. The Windows 7 version will require installation for some drivers (included), while the Mac version will run straight out of the box. Participants will be eligible for prizes (announced later in our blog on the website)!

(I just wish they’d loose the sullen voice – I really can’t listen to that for long).


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  • http://www.facebook.com/deadlandchronicles T.E. Mencer

    I love Blender’s community. It’s so vast and largely giving. Kudos for a code well done, gents.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting…very interesting…

  • L3clara

    Wow, this is really cool!

  • Michael120

    Big Buck looks a bit scary… :P

  • Fabcali


    a Kinect or other supported device”
    Cool. What other supported devices are there?

    • Alex Carby

      Xtion Pro devices seem to have higher spec than the Xbox kinect

      • J T

        do you have a link to these?

        thanks

  • Giancarlo Mora

    great work guys ! now I just need a kinect ! o.O

  • Anonymous

    very cool, but i think my animation abilities exceed this. I think if i used this i’d spend as much time cleaning up as i would just animating from scratch

  • Reaction

    Nice demo – but sorry, I was distracted by that babe on the sofa  ;-)

    • Gary

      +1 

  • Ananda

    Horrible demonstration, why “actor” not move normally? he appear to be “in plaster”.

    • chromemonkey

      It’s just in-character miming is all!  If he were performing the motions of the smaller rodents, he would move around more quickly.

  • Roeland Janssens

    Dear Santa,

  • TomsT

    ehh…. how does this compare to similar solutions, like Bloop?

  • riftmaster

    As someone who has tried this, I think this is the best solution available on the mac!

  • vfxdan

    Clap clap clap clap *whistle* clap clap clap clap Woooooo!!!

  • TheElwolf

     I haven’t tried it yet but the Add-on seems interesting, but Amanda is right BBB does move like if made out of clay. Maybe it was the intended animation but it doesn’t show us how”human-like” the animation can be. I’m aware that this is a beta version and BBB is probably hard to animate as if he was human. But I would of like to see Sintel get up an make 2-3 combat move just to show us the animation’s fluidity through NI Mate.
    Also…
    On the NImate web page it is mention that Logic pro (sound) and After Effect(video) were used for editing. Why not use Blender from A to Z??
    I’m asking this because if Blender Gurus arent using it themselves, is it because it cant be done yet or is there an other reason like time was an issue!!?

    That said, I now have to go buy a Kinect and try this.

    Thanks for the Beta.

  • http://www.renderfarm.fi/ Julius Tuomisto

    Thanks you for the comments guys! A couple of quick remarks on some of the questions raised by people here. First, the bunny rig is probably not optimal at all, it’s just what we could come up with in a relatively short timeline. We hope that when somebody makes a better rig we hope that they’d be willing to share it with other enthusiastic Bunny-wannabes. We’ll be setting up a forum to do exactly this. We do have a Sintel rig also, which we’ll probably release a bit later. Second, it’s true that not everything was done in Blender here, mostly due again to time constraints. To keep things moving you have to sometimes rely on the tools that you’re most familiar with.
    In our efforts to keep things simple, we’ve just released the first tutorial for the software regarding Blender. You can find this tutorial through our blog roll on the website (http://www.ni-mate.com/blog/) or direct on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nN0neRp444). The release includes sample files that you’re completely free to use for your own purposes. Like Janne says in the video: Happy motion capturing!

  • Janne Karhu

    Thank you for the comments too!

    I might add to what Julius just said that the clay like behavior of the bunny rig is mostly due to my poor rigging skills (I’m a developer, not a character rigger) :) and the limitations that the Blender game engine places on real time character animation. Not being able to render proper fur with GLSL materials of course makes the bunny look even more clay like.

    Also compared to Bloop (which is based on the Microsoft SDK and can only run on Windows) NI mate runs on both Windows and OS X (we’re working on Linux too, but this is not yet ready).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000502740455 Ethan Ewing

    Love that derp face at the end!

  • Myname

    I’m curious, I remember an article a while back about a 3d scanning booth was using multiple kinects to do a 3d scan of people. Would using extra kinects to capture from the sides and back actually help get more precise results on something like this ? I love the idea of home motion capture,

    • Michael120

      Same thought here!

    • http://www.renderfarm.fi/ Julius Tuomisto

      We’re looking into ways for achieving this. No promises yet though as it might prove a tough nut to crack.

  • Adfsgfr

    I had to watch this without audio, my brain filled in the lip syncing with ‘daaaaa daaaa da da daaaaaa’

    many lulz followed

  • Blendiac

    So, hang on… am I correct in reading this as meaning that when the Linux version comes out, I’ll be able to capture motions and use them in Blender, on Linux, without the use of Windows or Mac *anywhere*? If so, then sign me up!

    • http://www.renderfarm.fi/ Julius Tuomisto

      We will try to deliver this ASAP for you and others out there Blendiac. Davis (our website’s designer) was adamant we have to have a build for the Linux also. :)

      • Blendiac

         Thanks for replying. I know you guys are working as fast as you can. What I’m just trying to understand is this:

        When a Linux version comes out… will that, plus Blender, be *all* the software needed to capture animations from the Kinekt, or would we still need any Windows / Mac software as well?

        Thanks for all your great work on this. Looking forward to it!

        • http://www.renderfarm.fi/ Julius Tuomisto

          Hi Blendiac. Yes. Pure Linux fun after that. :)

  • Daniel Waddell

    YES! My Kinect came in the postage 2 days ago, and I got it for mocap reasons. This is perfect!

  • Horace3d

    how did you do the “hand on the table” scene? is this integrated with bullet for collision detection? that would be awesome. if yes, does bullet also help to get the feet stick to the ground?

  • Pyrosever

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for, thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lehn-Hariher-Aquaritus/100002247251672 Lehn Hariher Aquaritus

    Bad demo, but it send the message.

    Demonstração ruim, mas dá a sua mensagem.

  • J T

    after the beta,  is their a cost for this?

    thanks

    • http://www.renderfarm.fi/ Julius Tuomisto

      Hi J T. You don’t need to worry. There will always be a good free version out there for home motion capture enthusiasts because we think that there should be one. We will not cripple the software, but hope that we can build additional features that are so good and unique that people will want to invest in the software in order to support it’s further development.

  • Keen Foong

    adding sintel was a nice touch hah