A new video produced by IKinema showcases Orion, their new full-body animation system that uses HTC Vive tracking hardware. Their expertise in inverse kinematics results in convincing, affordable motion capture using a small number of tracking points.
The Vive Tracker’s two main uses are to attach to physical objects (such as a peripheral or camera) that can be tracked separately in VR, and to attach to the body, in order to enhance body tracking beyond the head and hands. By attaching Trackers in the most effective places, combined with inverse kinematics, a form of full-body motion capture can be generated; HTC themselves recently released code to illustrate this technique.
In February, an earlier version of IKinema’s ‘Project Orion’ was shown using extra Vive motion controllers strapped to the feet and waist. With the launch of the dedicated Vive Trackers, this technology has now been polished to what is now ‘Orion’, a middleware available from this quarter, that produces convincing motion capture. The latest video (heading this article) shows very impressive results from the raw data capture with no post-processing.
A standard Orion licence costs $500 per year. Requiring a single PC, HTC Vive and three Vive Trackers, the entry price for this quality of motion capture is very low compared to more traditional methods, while being more convenient to set up; achievable in smaller, non-dedicated spaces, and without the need for cumbersome tracking suits.
IKinema, a UK-based provider of high-end middleware and technology since 2006, say that Orion’s solved skeleton output is suitable for game engines, 3D packages, custom rendering environments, and VR/AR experiences. It sees the technology as very useful for game developers prototyping animation, as well as the simulation, enterprise, retail, medical and automotive industries. In its Orion factsheet, IKinema also suggests the real-time nature should prove “particularly useful to those conducting mixed-reality live shows, staged events, promotional on-site VR experiences and VR theatre.”