Gypsy Motion Capture FAQ
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Why is the Gypsy Motion Capture System better than other systems?
Every motion capture technology has its strong points and weak points. The Gypsy can help you avoid a lot of the difficulties that plague the motion capture industry. Some of the Gypsy's strong points are:
- Best real-time performance of any system
- No problems with optical occlusion (unlike optical motion capture systems)
- No problems with electrical or metallic interference (unlike magnetic motion capture systems)
- World's least expensive real-time motion capture system
- Very easy to learn to use. Doesn't require highly skilled operator
- Easy solo operation
- Very large range
- Clean data without filtering (unlike magnetic data)
- Very reliable
- Easily transportable, ready for use anywhere (except swimming).
What are Gypsy's hardware requirements? Need for OpenGL? Which Cards?
Gypsy's stand-alone driver requires a Pentium 200 or better computer with an ISA slot, running Windows NT, Service Pack 3 or later. For real-time rendering of 3D Characters, the faster the computer the better. A single or dual 450 MHz or better computer with strong OpenGL performance is recommended. Recommended video cards for fast OpenGL performance range from cards based on NVidia's GeForce DDR 256 to systems running Intense 3D's Wildcat 4100 or better. Intense 3D's upcoming Wildcat 4210 offers much faster OpenGL performance than anything else, and supports real-time anti-aliasing, recommended for performance and broadcast. For more information please visit our hardware section.
Why should I use Autodesk MotionBuilder?
Autodesk MotionBuilder adds tremendous capabilities to any motion capture setup. Although Gypsy's Standalone Driver outputs BVH files which work well with any program that can use .BVH files as input, MotionBuilder's capabilities are well worth considering:
- Real-time visualization of the actors movements on the actual character is immensely helpful to the actor and director of the motion capture session.
- MotionBuilder's exceptional character mapping tools easily allow use of characters whose proportions or dimensions vary from the actor.
- MotionBuilder's supports import and export from 3D Studio MAX, Maya, Softimage and Lightwave, making it the indispensable backbone of any production environment.
- MotionBuilder's can read and write 7 different motion capture formats, which makes for easy repurposing of existing motion and combination with newly captured motion.
- MotionBuilder's has excellent tools for cleaning up and editing motion capture data. The NLE module lets you easily blend animation from different parts of different takes. MotionBuilder also has great tools for resampling and time-changing of motion capture data, and for keyframe reduction, including conversion of F-curves to Bezier curves.
- Even if your 3D animation software has strong character animation tools, MotionBuilder will go a long way towards working with your data as efficiently as possible. Considering how much data motion capture can generate in a short amount of time, MotionBuilder will greatly help you reap the full benefits of working with motion capture. The exceptional IK control provided by MotionBuilder is a particularly useful means for adjusting motion capture data on the actual performers.
- Support for multiple actors and multiple motion capture technologies. MotionBuilder provides outstanding integration and control of nearly every available technology for motion capture, including Electro-mechanical, Magnetic, Optical, Datagloves, Face Trackers, FAMOUSfaces, and midi-controllers. Soon to be released version 2.7 will support a wide variety of triggering mechanisms, like the systems used to visualize and trigger the firing sequences of the 'flow-motion' cameras used in The Matrix.
- MotionBuilder includes Voice Reality which provides automatic lip-synching from microphone input or .WAV files.
How does the Gypsy know its location in global space?
The Gypsy uses a precision gyroscope in the hip piece to determine changes in bearing (direction) from initialization position. Gypsy's driver software determines where footsteps are placed relative to the initialization position, and uses this information along with the gyroscope information to place the actor in world-space.
Comparison with Magnetic Motion Capture Systems?
Although magnetic motion capture systems have long been a workhorse of the motion capture industry, we encounter a lot of clients who have magnetic motion capture systems but don't use them based upon limitations of:
- Metallic and electrical interference
- Limited range
- Requires a highly controlled environment
- Noisy output
- Difficult to use
- Time lag based upon filtering of data and reliance upon IK to derive actor's skeleton.
- Problems when multiple actor's sensors come close to each other
- Difficult to set up and calibrate
Comparison with Optical Motion Capture Systems?
Optical Motion Capture systems require a large dedicated controlled environment. Optical systems are useful when configurability of markers is necessary, or when highly 'gymnastic movements' requiring a lot of knocking down or falling or flying through the air. Optical systems are also useful for capturing movement of actual animals.
In general, the Gypsy has the following advantages over Optical Motion Capture Systems:
- Price (the Gypsy is 1/8 to 1/12 the price of an reflective optical systems)
- Ease of use (highly trained operator not required)
- Outstanding real-time performance (complex triangulation of data points not required)
- Easily transportable
- Indoor / Outdoor use
- Doesn't require a controlled environment and lot of space
- No 'sweet spots' (areas of greater or lesser accuracy). Data is consistent throughout the capture area
We have had a lot of interest from Optical Motion Capture facilities who see an opportunity to greatly increase their motion capture capabilities by incorporating the Gypsy Motion Capture System.
- 3D Studio MAX / Character Studio
- LightWave 3D
- Animation Master
- Life Forms Studio (provides import/export capabilities for Inspire 3D™, StudioPro™, Poser™, Cinema 4DXL™, ElectricImage™ as well)
Gypsy drivers are available for Real-time rendered performance animation and capture in the following software program:
How good is Gypsy's Real-time performance?
Gypsy can easily output data at true rates of 30, 60, or 120 frames per second. Gypsy's real-time performance is better than any other system for the following reasons:
- Absolutely minimal reliance on inverse kinematics (IK) requirements due to Gypsy's Inner Skeletal calibration
- Noise reduction filtering not required (unlike magnetic motion capture systems
- Triangulation of data sources not required (unlike optical and magnetic systems)
- Never any occlusion problems (unlike optical systems)
- Never any metallic or magnetic interference (unlike magnetic systems)
- Very easy to transport and use on location.
Does Gypsy provide hand and face capture?
The Gypsy system integrates very well with the wide range of data gloves and facial capture technologies available via Autodesk MotionBuilder. The AVSoft FT2000 Face Tracker is highly recommended for facial integration with Autodesk MotionBuilder. Meta Motion sells a wide variety of systems for hand and facial capture, including lip-synching.
How can the Gypsy speed up my production pipeline?
One of our clients recently rented a Gypsy Motion Capture System for 15 hours and managed to capture 197 animations. He estimates that it would have taken one of his animators 4 months to accomplish as much work.
Our goal in promoting the Gypsy is not to replace animators, rather, we wish to help companies accomplish character animation nearly 50 times as fast as they would if all of their animation were done 'by hand'. Existing staff will be able to work much faster, and work 'higher level' spending more time on direction, and less time on 'grunt-work'. The result will be a quantum leap in the quality and rate of production for film, television and games.
- Game creation
- Film creation (especially for small studios)
- Animatronic control
- Television (live and post-production)
- Corporate training films
- Industrial video
- Internet cyber-hosting
Does Gypsy support the Macintosh?
We do not currently have plans to produce a Macintosh driver, but one could use our run Gypsy software on a Windows NT server and send the data to a Macintosh for real-time performance.
What comes with the Gypsy?
The basic Gypsy system includes the Gypsy exoskeleton, real-time driver, analog to digital converter card (requires ISA slot in computer), cable and manual. We have a specially priced bundle of the above Gypsy Motion Capture System with Autodesk MotionBuilder. Training and extended service contract are additional.
Where can Gypsy be used?
Any non-wet environment with temperatures between 50° - 100°F (10° - 38°C). For more specifications, please download the Gypsy Brochure.
How accurate is the Gypsy?
The Gypsy's rotational sensors are read at a rate of .08 degrees. It captures nuance exceedingly well. In one instance we captured a female actor's walk and used it on a very aggressive looking character. The resulting walk was hilarious, the aggressive male character had a very feminine walk. We constantly hear comments about how smooth our motion is from people who are very experienced in motion capture.
- no occlusion issues (unlike optical)
- no system confusion based on crossed paths of different actor's markers (unlike optical)
- no interference from different actor's sensors (unlike magnetic)
- San Francisco, California
- Los Angeles, California
- Paris, France
Under certain circumstances our San Francisco staff will travel throughout the USA for demos, and our Paris, France location can travel throughout Europe under certain circumstances.
Why is the Gypsy so easy to learn and use?
A better way to ask this question might be: 'Why are most motion capture systems so difficult to use? Magnetic and Optical systems require highly skilled operators and extensive calibration of the capture space. The triangulation involved in optical capture is a fairly complex process, and magnetic calibration can be a frustrating experience.
We generally recommend a two day training session for the Gypsy (or three days if you are purchasing Autodesk MotionBuilder). Training can be done at our site or yours. Training covers proper wearing of the suit, starting the system, initialization, calibration, and adjustment of the calculated inner skeleton. In a three day session we discuss MotionBuilder motioncapture as it relates to the Gypsy.
We constantly hear people who are very experienced with motion capture remark about how easy the Gypsy is to use.
What is the weight of the Gypsy?
The Gypsy weighs 14.5 pounds (6.5 kilo). This weight is evenly distributed and the Gypsy can easily be worn for 4 hours or more at one time. For more information about Gypsy's technical specifications, please download the Gypsy Brochure.
Does the Gypsy restrict an actor's movements? - Martial Arts?
The first comment we usually hear from a new Gypsy actor is: ' Hey, this barely restricts my motions at all.' For some reason the next thing that happens is they usually start practicing their karate kicks and punches.
What is involved in the calibration procedure?
Gypsy inner skeletal calibration involves measuring the distances between an actors joints, and the offset between the joint centers and the centers of the rotational sensors. Once this information has been saved as an actor's calibration file, the actor's skeletal representation is adjusted to resemble the actor's skeleton as closely as possible and provide full accurate range of motion
Can I cartoon render my Gypsy output?
MotionBuilder has a strong real-time cartoon rendering ability. For production work, one can use any of the cartoon renderers available for their specific 3D animation software.
I'm thinking of starting a motion capture service bureau. Is the Gypsy a good choice?
he Gypsy is a great choice for new or existing service bureaus. A service bureau that is just starting out will benefit from Gypsy's incredibly low cost of entry, and its ease of transportation.
An existing service bureau can easily double their capabilities by including the Gypsy Motion Capture system amongst their offerings. This will help them maximize their earning potential even when their studio is fully booked, and will also be very useful for on-location work.
What payment methods can we use to purchase a Gypsy system?
We accept company checks, bank drafts, wire transfers, and Irrevocable Letters of Credit. There is an additional charge for processing Letters of Credit.
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