BML vs Haptek

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wgb14

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BML vs Haptek
« on: September 24, 2008, 04:47:06 am »
Hi all

I recently come across this language Behaviour Markup language http://wiki.mindmakers.org/projects:BML:draft1.0 for specifying the multimodal behavior of 3d characters. It is used in real-time 3d engines to drive the animations of virtual humans. This language is currently consider the cutting edge of technology in VH development. Several research groups are using it all around the world. What the language does is to provide the means to control exported motions from popular animation programs (e.g., like maya) and allow creators to generate full behaviours from these simple motions. Some groups have gone even further by automating the BML creation process from simple text. 

Based on this rather brief research, I started thinking that after my last sucess with the Automatic Haptek script creator,  I could do something similar for Haptek and open-source it. Currently my tool assigns Haptek switches to texts automatically, bu the animation part has to be done manually, and it is extremely intesive. But, soon I come to realise that such a project is very large. Although, Haptek uses parameter techniques as well, a simple gesture requires the coordination of so many body parts that it is virtually impossible to create a tool that will write this gesture automatically. BML uses simple whole body motions (e.g., extend the hand far from the body) to create gestures. Haptek requires the use of every body part to create a gestures. The difference is massive and that's why Haptek characters are so very difficult to control but look so alive.

Conclusion: It is amazing how a technology so old remains at the top of the domain of VH. If Haptek was wise enough to provide easy-to-use interfaces to developers things would have been far easier now for them and for us.     

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Freddy

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2008, 07:15:16 pm »
Ages ago I was really amazed by Haptek, but after finding so many obstacles I kind of grew tired of it all.  The tools were not very good, they had sparse documentation and you are right that you really have to do a lot of work just to do something like make them wave.  Maybe I am getting lazy though, but I see newer applications that have taken a lot of the hassle out of doing things like animation and yet Haptek stick with the same old same.

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wgb14

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2008, 09:28:29 pm »
I agree but as you can see from the above their approach in real-time animation still remains the best. Have a look at the videos here http://www.dfki.de/~kipp/iva07/ and you will see that becuase their tools animate only a few parts of the body the characters appear "wooden". In my opinion Haptek tried to simplify with their tools something that was extremely complex by its nature. As I am saying above i investigated the possibility of automating the gesture creation so that you will not need their very expesive tools, but they parametrize a character so much (in an anatomical level) that it is impossible to do anything with it. BML uses gesture lexicons to create gesture animations in real-time, but gesture lexicons do not contain enough anatomical information about a gesture to be used in Haptek. Haptek needs far more detailed information to construct animations automatically.Their tools may be old, but their approach in real-time animation is still cutting-edge. If I could convinse them to update their tools and market them  at a resonable price they would be back in the market in no time.

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wgb14

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2008, 05:52:20 pm »
I recently come across two additional solutions for creating realistic animations not only for Haptek, but for any animation platform. The first it the ANVIL tool which allows annotated gestures from video sequences to be mapped directly to gesture scripts. Their approach works quite well. See the videos "Animation re-created from Manuall anootations" here http://www.dfki.de/~kipp/iva07/. However I am not sure, if their platform allows exporting data into stadard motion formats like .bvh

A second far more expesive solution is the one of motion capture based on computer vision. I recently come across this web site http://www.organicmotion.com/, a company that markets products that enable completely markeless motion tracking. Their approach appear extremely accurate, but also very expensive. However, it won't be very long before similar systems will be avaiable to all of us with a single camera. Take a look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnDN76GNlA8&feature=related. Its a video of someone using OpenCV to capture full torso motion. It is not that accurate as the orgnaic's motion systems but Ei! its free.

Similar solutions but mostly used for computer navigation and control are the following: a) WII gesture recognition, see here http://wiigee.sourceforge.net/demovideo/demovideo.html and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pkAxFrhVBk b) Without WII and with a simple camera http://www.softkinetic.net/Public/eng/Media/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSGkumwisJM

The future of computer animation looks bright. Soon everyone will be able to create professional animations at a minimal cost.



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Freddy

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2008, 07:24:12 pm »
Wow, you are quite the roving reporter.  Thanks for the news, it was all new to me.  I am particularly impressed by the 'organic motion' site. 

Also, remember those old virtual reality arcade games you used to get quite a few years ago ?  Well I guess they have finally made it into the home, with the likes of the WII system already firmly placed too.  Looks like there is a lot more to come from this kind of thing.  Nice that it is all without headsets and massive gloves too.

I like the idea of markerless movement capture, that would mean a lot less hassle than animating by hand and would be a lot more entertaining too.  I agree the future looks bright.  We should see something like haptek that can be animated with ease, it would just mean jumping around the living room for half an hour in front of a camera...

« Last Edit: September 25, 2008, 07:32:28 pm by Freddy »

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wgb14

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2008, 10:02:46 pm »
<<it would just mean jumping around the living room for half an hour in front of a camera>>


Thats even closer than you think.

Z-Cam is the first very cheap (around $100) 3D camera that enables a range of applications. From 3D character animation (e.g., http://www.3dvsystems.com/gallery/gallery.html) to Second life control of avatars (e.g., http://www.handsfree3d.com/videos/). Just imagine connecting this with 3D studio max, Haptek or any other animation engine. A motion capture studio on our desk at the cost of taking your girlsfriend out. It is really amazing!!!!!!!!!

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wgb14

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2008, 01:15:18 am »
Ok I think I am starting to loose my mind here. Take a look at that:

http://www.shoot3d.biz/gallery.html

It is not a real-time application but it captures motion from sequences of videos extremely well with a SINGLE CAMERA. No depth sensing cameras, but rather a simple camera Oh! My god what else are we going to see!!!!!!! With this beauty complex animations will be a laxury for everyone.

The product will be released at the end of 2008. 

 

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Maviarab

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2008, 07:56:50 am »
Looks wg....good find :)

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Freddy

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2008, 01:33:05 pm »
Looks great, can't wait untill we have this on our desktops  ;D

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Dante

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2008, 03:00:42 pm »
Incorrect, i'm afraid, two cameras are needed (for much the same reason we have two eyes)

At a guess, i'd say the black clothing itself was the 'marker'


So, the good news;

You dont need to feel silly wearing ping-pong balls anymore. (except maybe on the feet)

You dont need a huge bugdet to do it.


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Freddy

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2008, 03:08:55 pm »
Damn and there was me looking forward to the ping pong balls  :D

Yes, to be technically correct; two cameras - I had noticed that, but it's still an improvement, you can pick up cameras so cheaply these days.

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wgb14

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2008, 06:53:06 pm »
Yes a good find I guess. I am looking forward to purchse the tool. I don't expect it to be hughly accurate, but with some manual editing we can have quaility animations in no time. But just imagine this tool as part of an animation platoform like Haptek or whatever, along with some cleaning utility. Animation capturing and viewing in real time.  Of course it will all depend on the price. If the company will be wise enough and publish the product in the range of hundrends of dollars it will become a massive hit, if not it will die like the rest.

I emailed one of the companies in my list out of curiosity. They asked me 10,000 Euros (academic price) for a simple SDK. Yes you heard well 10,000 Euros. I don't understand why someone would pay 10,000 for a software while at the same range he could have a full mocap studio. It is crazy!!! Such high-priced products will die sooner or later. 

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Freddy

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Re: BML vs Haptek
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2010, 02:18:51 pm »
Quote
Ok I think I am starting to loose my mind here. Take a look at that:

http://www.shoot3d.biz/gallery.html

Just found this is on sale now in a Beta version for $495 (limited time).  Trial available for 30 days too.

I checked out the forum a little too, one of the guys got the motion capture into Poser.

http://www.ipisoft.com/

 


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