Framestore adds Ikinema Technology to Motion Capture Pipeline

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Thu, 09/29/2011 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

London VFX house Framestore has incorporated Ikinema technology into its motion capture production pipeline. The company says Ikinema’s inverse kinematics system is now the key motion capture solving and retargeting tool that Framestore uses to create special effects and animation for both its broadcast and VFX projects.
 “The Ikinema solver is a fantastic solution for a wide range of skeleton control issues ” says Nicolas Scapel head of rigging at Framestore. “By using Ikinema’s advanced solver settings and its extremely flexible constraint system we have been able to iteratively improve our solving solution and accuracy. With the ability to easily reproduce this same setup script on many shots we will be shaving days and weeks off our production time.” 
 Once Framestore integrated Ikinema into its core motion capture pipeline the results they had been hoping for began to appear. It is now possible to take tracked and filtered point cloud data from motion capture software and easily animate a high-resolution skeleton by assigning their data to a linked set of joints. This process can be scripted via Ikinema SDK and reused on every future take which saves time by producing high-quality results.
 For a recent VFX project it was extremely important for Framestore to obtain the most accurate and truthful reproduction of a particular actor’s motion. By overlaying Ikinema’s solver with calibrated witness camera footage Framestore was able to determine how well the solver matched the actor’s movement. Not only did the solver prove incredibly accurate but it also gave the studio a newfound flexibility that streamlined the entire motion capture solving and retargeting pipeline.
 “Ikinema’s strength lies in that it is very generic not hardcoded for a simple biped or quadruped ” says Scapel. “On top of supporting any skeleton topology the solver speed is really amazing. The advanced skeleton controls such as joint limits and the flexible constraint system make it very easy to adapt to a wide range of IK production circumstances. Ikinema is really unique in what it does and how it does it – it’s like something we have always been missing without knowing it.”