Dipping into Kinect

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/39481631 w=640&h=179]

We’ve had a Kinect hanging around at SuperHeroes for a while now, which we’ve used in collaboration with Magic Bullet on some projects. One one of those projects, Istvan Pataki (one of the developers at MB) and I were talking about making a plugin that would put the mocap Kinect skeleton into C4D. This was before Microsoft released the source code to the public, and when Magic Bullet was one of the few companies to have hacked the Kinect for non-Xbox use. However, clients and paying projects got in the way, and we never got around to it.

Then yesterday I discovered NI-Mate, a free (at least at this Beta stage) mocap control for the Kinect, as well as their free C4D plugin. It was a breeze to install, no tricks or anything, it worked cleanly. The instructional video is 4 minutes long and covers how to do the capture – kudos guys for making it simple and concise, as well as user friendly.

I took a quick stab at it, put on my dancing shoes, and danced for the camera. Then grabbed the mocap data, assigned a rig to the nulls NI-Mate generates, and applied that to an extremely basic mesh. The reason: I wanted to make a particle system based on the mocap data.

This is still very rough, but I know how I’ll be spending my weekend and any extra time I have.


  1. Hi, I stumbled upon your blog by accident, nice work!!! I was also playing around with NI-Mate a few days ago and I was thinking of doing some cool project with it. I followed the tutorials, created an armature based on the nulls, everything seems fine. But as soon as I try to rig a rough character and apply that to the mocap data, the character gets messy. Apparently, the joints for the character doesn’t seem to be rotating. In your video, I can see that the joints works fine. So, am I missing some rotation data or is it because of my rig?

    • Hey Kenny, so the way that I rigged mine was via some quick (albeit tedious) Xpresso as well as using a Target Tag on each of the nulls, corresponding to Hierarchy (bicep targets forearm, forearm targets hand, etc…).
      I’ve yet to have a successful bind to my rig, but I think it might be a weighting issue – I’m not really a character animator, and I’d use the mocap data to set up basic geometry to act as emitters!

      Here’a a screenshot of the xpresso and the target tag: http://i.imgur.com/ryWmX.png

      Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: