Animating with Kinect: The poor man’s guide to motion capture
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Animating with Kinect: The poor man’s guide to motion capture


Rotoscoping has long been replaced by motion capture in big productions. But it’s expensive and fairly inaccessible to indie productions and animators.  Well, the Kinect revolution has come to change just that.

Kinects’ skeletal tracking technology makes it perfect for motion capture. That’s why there are  an increasing number of startups and hacker projects developing motion capture solutions for animators.  Be it a fully-fledged 3d mocap software, an “animation for dummies” app or a hackers open project there is a solution that will suit your needs and pockets.

Oh and did I mention that these solutions are suit less and marker less? Yea, I know you wanted to look like a Christmas tree, but you can’t have it all…


FaceShift   is a face tracking software that uses the Microsoft Kinect instead of markers. It capture facial expressions quite amazingly. Just bring your FACS model, act it up and you are ready to go.
It’s still on open beta, but they’ll send you a 30 day trial version if you are nice, so go ahead TRY IT OUT!

* It works with Maya, but they are planning to support other platforms as well.


NI-Mate  is a very powerful real-time 3d motion capture tool, I got a free beta release a few months ago and really enjoyed it. Its motion tracking capacities are fairly accurate. I’ve use it for character animation and it has been a blessing cutting work by at least half. I still have to smooth thing out but that is true of all 3D motion capture solutions. All in all it’s a really amazing tool, sadly is not free anymore, but it is quite cheap running at 198.80 for a single license.

* The presenters motions are a bit stiff, it is not the program. Check this out.

Ipi soft

Ipi soft  is a 3d motion capture software that works with depth cameras as well as webcams or regular cameras making it a really remarkable tool. I haven’t tried it but it looks quite accurate and it’s easy to use. Running from $295 to $995 depending on the amount of cameras you want to support.

* This ad was done by a user, not the company

Freaking Genius

This  cool app will help you to animate almost everything 2d using the Kinect camera as your tracking device. It has gesture recognition,  lip-sync and a graphic library integrated making this a neat little app for everyone really. So next time someone asks you to do JibJab animations just tell them to get freakngenius. (They will have to wait a bit though since it is still under development.)

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