IKinema aims to banish droopy shoulders and wonky spines in animated CG characters

A UK startup has launched a solver tool for animators looking for a more natural movement for their characters.

IKinema, based in Guildford, has released IKinema Action for MotionBuilder, the first third-party solver for Autodesk’s veteran 3D character animation software package.

Based on the same core technology as Action for Maya, the company claimed Action for MotionBuilder provides superior retargeting, marker solving and rigging capabilities, enabling animators to achieve realism with motion capture data directly within MotionBuilder.

IKinema also claimed Action for MotionBuilder improves the quality of animation and simplifies pipelines by offering consistent results from the motion capture shoot through to post processing and animation. This ensures the shoot is not reinterpreted as it passes through the pipeline, preserving the actor's performance and the director’s creative intent.

Post-capture data editing is minimised and raw motion capture data can be passed directly from the shoot to animation and visual effects, with direct interchange between Maya, MotionBuilder and LiveAction for Unreal Engine 4.

“When customers approached us with mocap pipeline challenges, we saw an immediate opportunity for our solver," explained IKinema chief executive Alexandre Pechev. "Thanks to IKinema Action for MotionBuilder, users can now create perfect shoulder, spine and neck movement directly within MotionBuilder in real time, eliminating the need to pass data from one software package to another.”

A 14-day free trial of the software is available from the IKinema site.

Framestore is currently using the technology on a major project with significant crowd scenes in which realism is key.

"We did an entire day of motion capture then looked at the data – instantly the feedback was great," said Framestore technical supervisor Gary Marshall. “For the supervisors, it made a world of difference – the shoulders, the spines, the motion in general was looking more natural – validating the reason to use mocap in the first place. As a result, we now plan to use IKinema Action for MotionBuilder for all our post production work.”

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