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How much jitter does the PN really create? And what do you do to solve it?

Posted By Kelleytoons Last Year
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How much jitter does the PN really create? And what do you do to...

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Kelleytoons
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Folks,

I'm currently testing the HIVE/Orion hardware/software mocap solution, and with no clean up whatsoever of the capture it looks pretty terrific in iClone (not "live" but I don't need live).  However, it doesn't do hands, and I'm becoming aware that hands are kind of important.  So I look at the PN and think, well, that has both hands and fingers, and is priced *similar* (it's a bit more expensive initially and then becomes cost effective after a year or two).  But I hear lots of folks talk about "jitter" in their captures, and I do NOT want to deal with that.  Or much, at least.  So I'm wondering -- what is your experience with it and if you do not get the smoothness you want how do you deal with it?  (Running the curve editor in iClone is a non-starter -- that's a ridiculously long and laborious solution).

I come from the iPisoft mocap which was buttery smooth but a PITA to setup and use (but, as I said, the captures were as natural and smooth as real motion could be).  I don't want to be stepping backwards, and worse comes to worst I'll live with using the Leap controller for my hands/fingers, but if the PN is viable perhaps I can go that route.  But I need to make up my mind relatively soon, so any help would be appreciated.



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Mike, are you aware of this: https://hi5vrglove.com/.



Another $999 unfortunately, but it looks ideal otherwise to complement a Vive setup. 




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Kelleytoons
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Yeah, I don't know how that would work -- it looks like it works with VR setups, but you'd need some sort of software to capture the finger and hand movements and they don't seem to sell or even support anything other than Unity or Unreal (and I'm not about to complicate my life trying to run multiple capture solutions at the same time).

Given there apparently *is* jitter when using the PN and there is also magnetic problems I do not want to deal with, I do think the VIVE/Orion is the solution I'll stick with.  I think I'll follow my own advice about assuming that a year or so from now there will be better/cheaper solutions (perhaps even  by then this Hi5 Glove will have some capture software or even be integrated somewhere like an Orion like setup).  And worse comes to worst I can always use another system anyway -- running two systems together would allow multiple character captures at the same time (you might have to line them up and coordinate their starts, but I don't see that as a huge deal).

I'll use the Leap for now -- perhaps RL will improve it (sorry, let me stop laughing and put on a serious face again -- Rampa will get on me again for disparaging his employers :>Wink.  Truly, it would take SO LITTLE to make it usable (just a countdown) that it's ridiculous they didn't beta test it (I mean with actual beta folks who could have given them feedback.  I feel sorry for anyone who considered themselves a beta for anything RL does, because I would never admit to such a poor job).



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Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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What saddens me about RL is that there are great ideas but then the implementation is lacking. I think I'm entitled to say this as I have been a customer since 2006...Unsure 


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Kelleytoons
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You have nailed it exactly -- great ideas, but implementation problems.

And I continue to insist those problems would be easily solved with better beta testing.  I am NOT speaking out of ignorance -- about half a century in the industry with beta testing some of the giants (Photoshop and Max to name just two).  I have directly improved those products, to the point where some of my actual code is in there.  I well know the value of a good beta but apparently RL does not.  There are just too many issues that slip through that should have been caught not to understand this.  Instead they follow the classic "Code in haste, debug in leisure" approach that so many young programmers take (so often have I chastised my own staff for this).

Oh well, I'll shut up for a bit because it doesn't really do any good.  At least I have some workable solutions for now.



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It's pretty clear you're sold on Orion... and frankly it does make sense.  As for PN - the nature of the technology and variability of the people using it will, of course, generate a range of user experiences.

 I found I had more jitter when I used iClone's plugin - possibly because it's capturing at 60fps (not sure, but I think that's true).  Axis, which is Noitom's capture software captures at 120fps and you can set the level of 'averaging' (lo fi smoothing) for your export to FBX or BVH.  So, the jitter I've experienced is not unruly - and is no worse than the fully "pro" captures I've experienced - ALL systems... regardless of price need an effective 'solver' (not just filters) to preserve the primary motion whilst reducing the 'high frequency' noise that we call jitter.  So, iKinema's solver, whether it be in Orion or as 'external process' like WebAnimate, is a fantastic solver that can turn basic info into something usable (I had hugely improved results with iC's Kinect and Brekel's plugin when I resolved them in WebAnimate). 

As for magnetic interference... if you're in an office/apartment building or in the vicinity of any other strong EMF source, then PN will have issues.  I've had my rig for more than two years and have only 're-calibrated' all the sensors once so far.  Again, this is a bit tedious and I guarantee most people who've complained about the sensors being 'magnetized' have never re-calibrated all the sensors.  According to Noitom, the sensors don't get 'magnetized' as much as they need to be 're-aligned' to World space in order to be most effective... when you have 30+ in a suit, small variances throughout are going to have a an impact on overall accuracy.  I have the first generation suit, and yes it's more of a kerfuffle to get going and also there are times when fingers look strange or a shin bone is twitching.  If, for instance, a finger is pointing 'up' when it shouldn't I've found that using iClone (or iKinema) to 'offset' that finger with a rotation will usually be enough - that is, the captured motion is still there but the finger looks 'stuck' because it's reached the IK constraints.  As I'm familiar with the look of iKinema's solver, the demos you've posted of Orion do look as if the 'smoothing' is set a bit too high - but I'm sure it's tweakable and you'll find the 'sweet spot' for natural movement without jitter.
Kelleytoons
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No, don't assume things -- I'm not "sold" necessarily on the Orion.  I am exploring all avenues, and I go back and forth.

Today, after doing some tests with my wife (ahem -- mocap tests, that is) I've actually gone kind of sour on the Orion.  We had all kinds of tracking issues that I hadn't experienced before and I couldn't solve them.  So now, more than ever, I'm thinking of going the PN route.  And your experiences are very helpful in that regard.  I'm not fantastically thrilled about the cost (I just found out it's an additional $500 for the iClone plugin, and I don't really even need the "live" or iClone aspect of it) but since you say you get less jitter when using the native PN software that encourages me a lot.  I got a bit discouraged again when JFrog PMed me and said he can't get finger animation working at all, really, but you seem to be able to do it so that's also encouraging.

I tried WebAnimate and while I got it to work I could never get it to export at anything other than twice the frame rate (so all my animations were doubled and slowed down accordingly).  Even changing the FPS inside of WA didn't do it for me -- probably user error but there isn't much support for it anywhere (and my demo runs out tomorrow).  If capturing direct from the PN using their own software and then processing it through WA (and then XChange into iClone) is the workflow I'd love to have just a raw BVH file to try this out before I lose my ability to do so.  Being able to evaluate that would be extremely helpful before I plunk down the money for the PN.

So if you do happen to have even a short raw BVH file I'd love to see it, just to see if I can run it through WA and into iClone successfully.  That might be the tipping point to making me order one (I have plenty of time to send back the VIVE hardware, I haven't bought the Orion software yet, but my demo on it runs out tomorrow).



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I have experienced the BVH half speed too, and can't be bothered to figure it out as FBX works fine.  Axis saves the capture file as RAW, so you can always export FBX or BVH.  I can't recommend the iClone plugin, as they just sent me an e-mail last week saying they're 'discontinuing it' but I can "upgrade" to their Live plugin - not impressed with RL - add it to the pile with Kinect plugin and Indigo!  PM me your e-mail address and I'll send you an Axis export of BVH and FBX files.
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I would like to thank you again Mike, for going through all this. I happen to have bought the iClone PN plugin when it was on sale, and it would be nice to use it.

Thank you also, illusionLAB, for your comments. These are big investments, so user experiences are valuable.


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IL is correct in stating that eveyone’s experiences vary. There’s another guy on the forum (Ibis Fernandez) who does mostly CT2d work and has a PN in his proper studio. Seemed that he was able to use it rather well. My results weren’t totally consistent. I use it quite a bit but mostly use it inside the iclone plug. And very quickly. Meaning I don’t spend days perfecting mocap, I do a lot of 48 hour film festivals so I don’t have time to clean anything up. I never really have issues with jitter. But I’ll have issues with a leg twisting around or a foot rotating weirdly. That means I’ve gotta re-calibrate. It used to be awful to put in all the neurons whenever I wanted to mocap, then out on the suit etc. But I sprung for Noitom’s anitmag case and now store the suit prices with all the neurons installed. It takes a while to get used to, but after putting the suit on a few times you get the hang of it and can put it on quickly. First few times... not so much.

I have a first gen suit and when I used it on some earlier work, the thing would drift like crazy, fingers would pop out and comtort in all sorts of crazy ways. I got with their support team and they were very helpful. I tried recalibrating the neurons, which btw is no simple fast task; but in the end it seemed like I had a few defective neurons. The suit drifted if I just laid it on the floor. They asked me to test each neuron individually. I told them I’d rather just send them all 32 of them and have them send me a brand new set of 32 that had been properly qa/qc’d. They agreed no problem. I have to say I’m much more happy with the quality of mocap now especially in the fingers. But it still has issues. Sometimes a fingers will get stuck here and there. Footsliding due to drift is my biggest issue. And also the movements not looking all that fluid. Pretty much all the animation in the short film on my signature file was done with PN in a single session in less than 2 hrs. You get a good feel of the uncleaned mocap from the iclone plug. Not jittery at all, but stiff. And pay attention to the hands. There is animation there but the fingers stayed locked in a few positions for a lot of the scenes. I just finished up another film festival but I’m not allowed to post the footage yet. The mocap in the hands was better this time around but I had significant drifting of the characters. They kinda floated around a little. That’s what I was really impressed by the Orion with. It appears to be natural, fluid motion without a bunch of drifting.PN does have a pro version now. It ain’t cheap but it’s supposed to give close to Xsens results and it’s magnetic resistant. There aren’t any reviews or videos on the system. I sle with Noitom and they said it would be compatible with the gloves later this year. We’ll see. Who knows???

Notion has a decent forum and their support guys usually answer your questions pretty quickly. You can always post questions there asking for advice as a possible customer? I’ve been happy with their tech support response. My experience with PN has been positive, but I was really looking forward to the possibilities with Orion due to the quality of KT’s tests. It looked better than what I’ve seen with my PN. Not so much less jittery, but more fluid andntrue to life. Not mush cleanup looked like was needed for the Orion to make a “believable” motion. With the PN that seems a bit more hit or miss for me. I’m currently offshore. But can always post samples of typical mocap out of the box with no cleanup. Just ask what sorts of movements etc. you’d like to see. I’ll be back on dry land next week. So feel free to PM me or post on this thread with the sorts of things you’d like to see. It’s a quick setup for me so I’ve got no probs helping out where I can.

My "NEWEST" LatestSmile  Movie Made With Amaaaazing iClonehttps://youtu.be/WkSApmyyvQI




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