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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

Table Of Contents
1. Preparing the System a. Powering on the system 2. Calibration and Configuration a. Connecting b. Setting Framerate c. Adjusting Camera Settings d. Setting Camera Thresholds e. Calibrating Camera Positions f. Setting the Origin 3. Suiting up a. Putting on the suit b. Marker Placement 4. Preparing Subject & Capturing a. Setting up the Database b. Calibration Capture Trial c. Subject Calibration d. Capturing e. Exporting the Data 5. Getting Data Into Lightwave a. Lightwave Export b. MotionBuilder c. The Maya Hack d. Lightwave Import 6. Clean up after yourself 7. System Operator's Section

1. Preparing the System


Take off the lens caps if they are still on. You can use a chair with no wheels to stand on to reach the lens caps so that you can remove them. Try not to move the tripod as that will change the viewing volume. Also, take care not to rotate the lens, as it will change the focus. Hide all reflective materials from view of the camera. Anytime you handle markers or other reflective materials, you should make certain that you did not leave any unnecessary reflective materials in sight of the cameras. a. Powering on the system Power on the cameras using the switch on the back of the box labeled VICON MXULTRANET.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

VICON MXULTRANET

The Power Switch

2. Calibration and Configuration


a. Connecting

Start Vicon IQ. There should be an Icon. Press the Setup button at the top and then open the Hardware Config tab from the left sidebar. You should wait for the squares next to each camera to turn dark green before moving on. If one of the 8 cameras does not show up in this list after some time press reboot all. Later, if a camera fails to produce an image, we can use open this panel and choose the camera that is giving us problems, then press the reboot button to get the camera working again.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

Hardware Configuration Now we are ready to connect by pressing the the connect button. If IQ crashes, restart and try to connect again, also hit ok when any dialog box appears Now all the squares in front of the cameras turn bright green.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

Connection Established b. Setting Framerate Once You are connected, go to Sync Setup on the right sidebar, also under Setup. A panel will open that allows you to adjust the framerate. You should set the framerate to 120. This will allow faster calbration and less eyestrain.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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Adjusting Frame Rate c. Adjusting Camera Settings Next you need to adjust the cameras' settings. Open the camera settings panel on the right sidebar. Also, from the top of the screen, switch the view to the camera view. You must first select all the cameras in the list that you want to adjust. For simplicity, you may just want to use these suggested values: Strobe Intensity: 100 Camera Threshold: 40 Gain: 1 Circle Quality: 30 Strobe intensity is the brightness of the red LEDs. You usually want to put this all of the way up because it poses no risk of damaging the LEDs and allows the cameras to better differentiate markers from the background. Camera Threshold is the threshold of brightness at which the cameras will recognize as object as a marker. We may need to raise this if we get closer to the cameras, or objects in the room are especially light and reflective. If we can't see the markers we may need to lower it. Gain is digital amplification of the camera input. You always want this as low as possible. Circle Quaility determines how perfect a shape must be to be recognized as a marker. Due to concerns such as lens distortion,

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

we should keep this relatively low. Raising it can help avoid recognizing reflections from an object as a marker

Camera Settings d. Setting Camera Thresholds Next we need to ensure the thresholds are set correctly. This step usually will not need to be taken if the camera have not moved since the last time thresholds were set. Thresholds are used to ignore certain regions of each camera. This allows us to block out reflections or the strobe of another camera. First make certain all reflective objects, espcially markers are hidden from view of the cameras. Open the Thresholds panel from the right sidebar. Also switch to camera view. If you see anything on any of the camera views, first make sure it is not a marker or reflective object that can be moved. If the cameras can still see something press "Start Recording Background" wait a bit,

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

then press "Stop Recording Background" and "Save Thresholds And Apply". If you didn't see anything in the cameras, the old thresholds must still be good.

About to set thresholds Now you should not see anything in the camera views.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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Thresholds now set e. Calibrating Camera Positions Now we need to open the calibration kit to start the calibration.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

The Calibration Kit Open the Calibration Kit and take out the 240mm Wand. (It is labelled.)

Calibration Kit Contents: 240mm Wand , 14mm L-Frame At this point you should stand in the center of the capture volume (marked with tape) with the wand and look at the camera views to make sure they can see the markers. You can switch to a view that allows you to see all the cameras at once to help you do this faster. If one of the cameras cannot see the wand, you will need to go back to the Hardware Config panel under Setup to reboot that camera. Now, at the top of the screen press the Calibrate button. Open the calibrate sidebar on the right if it is not already open. Under Calibrate cameras, make sure "240_mm_Wand" is selected from the drop down menu. Choose full calibration and click start wand wave.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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Starting the Calibration During the wand wave a person needs to walk around the capture volume and wave the 240mm wand. You should see all of the cameras being painted with a rainbow-like pattern that indicates where the camera has seen the wand. You will want to make sure all of the camera views become densely coated with this pattern. Also, you will see a status report that tells how many wand points each camera has seen. You should not stop until all of the numbers turn green. (about 10,000 points per camera)

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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Wand Wave in Progress A good calibration should result in mostly goods and some excellents in the Status Report. Note that the error is measured in pixels, so the error is relative to the distance from the cameras.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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Typical Calibration Results f. Setting the Origin Next we need to set the origin. This will be the <0,0,0> position and direction of X, Y, and Z axes to be used when recording mocap data. The first step in setting the origin is to remove the 14mm L-frame from the calibration kit and set it in the middle of the capture volume or wherever you want the origin to be. Two metal plates pivot open to reveal two bubble levels. You can use the knobs on the L-frame to level these, then close the metal plates.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

L-Frame: Adjustment Knobs in Red If you have not done so already, at the top of the screen press the Calibrate button and open the calibrate sidebar on the right. You should also switch to the Live 3D Workspace view from the bar across the top. You should notice that Camera 1 is the origin, we need to change this.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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Cameras with Arbitraty Origin Make sure "Ergo_14mm_LFrame" is selected under "2. Set Volume Origin And Axes". Then press Track L-Frame. You should see some dots in Live 3D Workspace showing where the L-Frame is located. Now press Set Origin. The cameras in Live 3D Workspace should now be centered in a ring about the origin.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

Cameras with Origin Set You should do some quick testing before you move on. Take the wand into the center of the capture volume and look at the Live 3D Workspace to see if you can see 3 small points. You should also get familiar with the view controls. View Controls ALT + Left Mouse ALT + Right Mouse Rotate Zoom

ALT + Left Mouse + Right Mouse Pan

3. Suiting up
a. Putting on the suit There are 4 sizes to choose from for the suit: Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large. You Should pick the smallest suit you can wear that does not constrict your movement. Remember that the purpose of the suit is not just to allow you to put markers all over your body, but also to keep the markers from moving. Next you should use velcro straps to attach the top and bottom of the suit and also to tighten any loose areas such as the back of the knee.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

If you have long hair you should tie it up in a polytail, otherwise it may obscure markers on your back. b. Marker Placement Before placing any markers, we must decide which skeleton template we will use. The skeleton template describes the bone structures, how many markers to use, and how those markers relate to the bone structure. For this example we will use the skeleton template located at "C:\Program Files\Vicon\Models\ViconiQ 2.5\iQ_ACTORExample_V5.vst". Press the Modeling button at the top, then from the File menu use Open to open the skeleton template you want to use. You should now be able to view your skeleton using the rotation panning and zoom commands you learned earlier. Each of the sphere with a yellow line that extends back to a bone represents a marker. Now use this guide to place markers on your body where needed.

Viewing Skeleton Template It is very important to note that marker placement is relative, not absolute. You do not need to match the diagram exactly, as long as each marker is somewhere on the same bone as in the diagram. For example, in this diagram we have a marker on the top of the head, but since we only have a headband to put markers on, we can just place it on the back of the headband as it is still on the head. Avoid placing markers on muscles as they will cause the markers to move independently from the bones. Whenever placing at a

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

rotation point you should rotate your joint and try to find a point that rotates the least, preferably on a bone, and place it there. Markers are usually placed on the outside of joints so that they will be more visible to the cameras. It is also suggested to make your marker setup asymmetrical to help Vicon IQ tell your left from right. iQ_ACTORExample_V5.vst contains the following 47 markers: LFHD: left front head RFHD: right front head LBHD: left back head RBHD: right back head ARIEL: top of the head LFTShould: left front shoulder (clavicle) RFTShould: right front shoulder (clavicle) LSHO: top of left shoulder (place on bone) RSHO: top of right shoulder (place on bone) LUPA: middle of left upper arm (not on muscle) LELB: left elbow (find the part of the bone that does not rotate) RUPA: middle of right upper arm (not on muscle) RELB: right elbow (find the part of the bone that does not rotate) LFRM: left forearm (place directly on ulna) LWRIST: top of left wrist just before rotation point RFRM: right forearm (place directly on ulna) RWRIST: top of right wrist just before rotation point LTHUMB: base of left thumb LPINKY: base of left pinky RTHUMB: base of right thumb RPINKY: base of right pinky TopSpine: top of the spine MidBack: on spine where the ribcage ends STRN: centered on sternum LRRShould: left shoulder blade RRRShould: right shoulder blade

5 Head

4 Shoulders

4 Upper Arms

4 Lower Arms

4 Hands

5 Upper Back

Root: the base of the spine LFWT: left front waist RFWT: right front waist 7 Lower Back / Pelvis LBWT: left back waist RBWT: right back waist Pelvis: just above the waist, skewed to one side LowerBack: just below the middle of the back, skewed to one side LTHI: outside middle of left thigh LKNE: outside of left knee RTHI: outside middle of right thigh RKNE: outside of right knee LSHIN: left shin LANK: left ankle RSHIN: right shin RANK: right ankle LHEE: left heel LTOE: left foot just before big toe starts LMT5: outside of left foot where toes start RHEE: right heel RTOE: right foot just before big toe starts RMT5: outside of right foot where toes start

4 Upper Legs

4 Lower Legs

6 Feet

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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Suit Front

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Suit Back

Suit Arm

Suit Leg

4. Preparing Subject & Capturing


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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

a. Setting up the Database Press the Data Management button. You will need to create a Database folder to put your capture sessions in. Use the green button to create a top level, the yellow button to create a subject, and the grey button to create a session.

Setting Up Database b. Calibration Capture Trial Now we need to calibrate the motion capture subject. To do this we need to capture a session where the subject moves each joint in their body so that vicon can predict the subject's range of motion and calculate the length of the subject's bones. You should start with the motion capture subject in the middle of the room with their back straight, arms straight out with palms facing down, and feet forwards. This is called a T-pose. You should begin and end every capture session in a T-Pose. Now press the Capture button at the top, choose capture from the right sidebar, and when you are ready, press the start button. When you are done, press stop.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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Capturing c. Subject Calibration In order to do the subject calibration, we need to load the data. Load the data by double clicking the blue X next to the capture trial you just created.

Loading Data IQ should automatically go to Post Processing. From the right Sidebar, Choose pipeline and select Subject Calibration from the

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

drop down menu. Right-click on CircleFit, Reconstruct, Trajectory and choose run selected Op. You should now see points in 3D Workspace.

Reconstructing Points Open the Subjects panel from the right sidebar. Press the Create Vicon Skeleton Template (VST) button. A box will come up that asks which template you are using and what to name the subject. Find the place on the timeline where the subject is in the T-Pose and press the G button (outlined in blue) followed by the T button.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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Adding Subject Next you need to label the markers. Open labeling from the right sidebar. Select Sequence Mode, click on a marker, then click on a marker in 3D Workspace to label it. You can disable the skeleton using the View Options pane on the left if it is in the way.

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Labeling Now go back to the Pipeline pane on the right sidebar and run the rest of the pipeline. Now the skeleton's' motion should match up with the markers. This even works in real time!

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Subject Calibration Complete Before you go on to capture data, be sure to go back to the subjects pane and save the subject calibration by pressing the Export Vicon Skeleton (VSK) button. d. Capturing You can capture using the same techniques you learned in the Calibration Capture Trial. Most notably, always begin and end in a T-Pose. The post processing however will be different. All you need to do for post processing is choose the GeneralReconstruct pipeline (instead of subject calibration) and run all operations.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

http://www.cacs.louisiana.edu/labs/ecrg/vicon/

Post Processing with an Already Calibrated Subject 5. Exporting the Data You will need two types of files to load the motion-capture data into MotionBuilder. You need a VSK for each subject calibration and V file for each capture session. To export your VSK, choose Subjects from the main menu and select "Export Vicon Skeleton Options..." To export the V file, choose file from the main menu and select export. Choose *.v from the drop down menu of file types. When the options panel comes up, be sure Include Markers is set to No, Local Bodies is set to Yes, and Global Bodies is set to No.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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V-file Export Options

5. Getting Data Into Lightwave


a. Lightwave Export The first step in exporting your data is to create and save a scene file that contains the character you want animated. Be sure to have your skelegons converted to bones. With your scene file loaded in layout, open the utilities tab, and under plugins, open the "Additional" menu and choose "Export to FBX". From the menu that appears check only Models and Materials. This file can be loaded directly into MotionBuilder. To get the menus you need,

Lightwave Export to FBX b. MotionBuilder First load the FBX export of your lws into MotionBuilder. This can be done simply by double clicking the file or opening MotionBuilder and selecting Open from the File menu. Your model should appear, but the textures may not so don't worry. To get all the windows you need, from the Layout menu (at the top) choose editing. You should have 4 windows, Viewer, Character Controls, Transport Controls, Navigatior, and Asset Browser.

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Vicon Motion Capture Quick Guide

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MotionBuilder The next step is to Characterize the model. You will have to do this for both the character model and mo-cap skeleton. First you need your character model facing down the positive Z-Axis. You can rotate your model by clicking on it, or it's node in the Navigator, then clicking the rotate button on the right and using the manipulator that appears to rotate the model. You will also need to rotate the character's joints into the T-pose. You can do so by selecting and rotating the joints similarly to how you rotated the character. Selecting the joints is easier if you enable X-Ray mode from the Display menu in the Viewer.

Ready to Start Characterization

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From the asset browser, in the directory tree click on Characters Then click and drag the character icon onto your character in the viewer. You may need to drag the icon into your character's node in the scene if your skeleton is seperate from its model.

Character in the Asset Browser A button labelled Characterize should pop up. Press it. If an error occured you may need to tell MotionBuilder what parts of your model's skeleton are. If your skeleton has bone names that MotionBuilder recognizes, you should not get any errors and can skip this next step. In the navigator, double click the character you just created and open the Character Definition tab. Expand the section call "Base (required)". You will need assign bones to each of these entries that are unassigned. To do this you need to switch to schematic view.

Character Definition From the View menu in the Viewer, click Schematic. This allows you to see all the bones in a graph structure. For each unassigned model in the character, click that model in the schematic view, then hold Alt and click and drag to the empty box in the navigator. If your have problems finding the bones you need, right-click the Viewer and choose Arrange All.

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Schematic View Now you can check the characterize checkbox, and hopefully the characterization is accepted.

Characterize Complete As an additional step you can enable floor contacts. You can enable it in the character settings tab in the Navigator. Simply check the Feet Floor Contact checkbox to enable it, but you will need to adjust the position of the floor contacts in the Viewer

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Enabling Floor Contacts Next, you should switch to an orthographic left or right view from the View menu in the Viewer to adjust the green dots that represent the floor contacts.

Adjusting Floor Contact Positions Now you will need to import the motion capture data and characterize it. You can get to the importer by opening Open Reality -> Tools -> ViconGP Importer from the top menu. To import the skeleton (vsk), check only "Always create models" and Import Skeleton(s) The skeleton should show up in the viewer.

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Importing VSK To import the motion (v), uncheck all options. This may take some time for longer animations. MotionBuilder may appear to freeze.

Importing V Now you should characterize your mo-cap skeleton in the same way you did your model. Face the character down the positive Z-axis. The character should already be in the T-pose, otherwise use the trasport controls to find the T-pose. Then be sure to characterize and reassign bones if needed. Name your characters if you did not already. Now you can set your model to use the animation from the mo-cap skeleton. From the Navigator, double-click your character and open the Character Settings. For Input Type, choose Character Input. Check the active checkbox, and set the Input Source to the the name of your mocap character. Now your mo-cap skeleton and character should match up perfectly.

Assigning Motion Capture Animation You should, at this point, adjust the height of the mo-cap skeleton to plant the model's feet on the ground.

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Motion Capture on a Character When you are satisfied with your animation, from the Character Settings tab of your character model in the Navigator, press the "Plot Character..." button and save the animation to the character's skeleton. You will get a dialog containing various options. This is the point at which you may downsample your animation from 120fps to a more reasonable rate such as 30fps.

Plotting Options The final step is to select your character, choose Export from the file menu, from the Save as type drop down, select "Kaydara (animation only) (.fbx)" and save. Be sure to save only the takes that have animation.

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Export Options c. The Maya Hack As of this writing, Lightwave does not have a plugin that can load files from the latest version of MotionBuilder, so we have to use Maya to load the FBX file and resave it as an earlier version to get it to load into Lightwave. To import, simply use Import from the File menu. Most of the options you are presented with here won't matter.

Maya Import To export, use Export from the file menu. The most important dialog choice is to set the Export version to "FBX53_MB55".

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Maya Export d. Lightwave Import To get the animation back into Lightwave, first load up the lws you exported your model from in the Lightwave Export step. If you don't have it, it should still work if you make a new scene and load the same character you had. Also make sure your skelegons are converted to bones. Then from Utilities tab choose open the Additional menu under Plugins and choose "Merge with FBX". Select your file, choose your take, and it should all be loaded in.

6. Clean up after yourself


Put back lenscaps if needed Replace all markers and suit

7. System Operator's Section


The most important step that has not been covered in this tutorial, but may need to be performed is backfocusing the lenses. If the camera's focal distance changes significantly, you will need to do this. Simply place markers around the perimeter of the viewing volume, open the camera view, split the view and pan so that you can see both the closest and farthest marker from the camera at the same time. Gently screw the camera lens in and out to adjust the focus. What you are looking for when focusing is that the markers in both the back and from of the viewing volume are as perfectly round as possible from that camera's point of view. Repeat this process individually for each camera.

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