So what exactly am I doing with all the mocap stuff I’ve been working on with KinectToPin + After Effects? Well… add in expression-controlled facial animation and using Dynamic Link to live-switch unrendered AE comps via Premiere’s multicam setup (I am kind of freaked out that this seems to Just Work), and it looks like we’re about to have an animated Actually Happening. Shhh!
I’ve been figuring this out as I go, but once I have all the elements rigged it should be almost trivial to make new episodes. Also I built the set in PHOTOSHOP which is ridiculous. I don’t have any proper 3D software on my laptop, so the table is all Repousse shapes extruded from rounded rectangles.
So in my Kinect + After Effects tutorials I offer a couple ways to rig the puppet’s head, but neither one is an ideal solution: the first one leads to occasional face-stretching and the second to increasing the manual animation workload substantially.
But there’s a better way! Put the anchor point in the center of the face, and attach the position keyframe to the Head control point. Then apply the following expression (based on one originally found here) to the rotation parameter:
ang = radians_to_degrees(angle);
Now the head will rotate to match to the angle formed by the head and neck points, but without the weird distortion the Puppet Tool can cause. You can tweak the head’s attach point by shifting the anchor point.
This tutorial is now obsolete. Check out the new KinectToPin website for the latest version of the software and how to use it — it’s dramatically easier now.
I’ve been doing a lot of work with rigging Kinect-controlled digital puppets for After Effects animation. I’m using a combination of Nick Fox-Gieg’s KinectToPin for Processing and a bunch of expressions to smooth things out and make connecting pins to their source tracks a little less painful. I’m hoping to put together a tutorial soon, but in the meantime here’s a test render of a puppet created from a very old engraving:
Hooray! The fine folks over at AEScripts are now hosting a beta release of AEFlame for CS4/CS5. Best of all: it’s still free, so there’s nothing stopping you from spending the afternoon making big swirly fractal designs.
If you need a refresher on how exactly this (admittedly rather baffling at first glance) plugin works, take a look at my tutorial.