Full Performance Capture bundle review & Blender character animation workflow with VFX Artist Polygon Runway

October 25, 2023
15 min read

In his "Blender Motion Capture Tutorial with Rokoko" video, Polygon Runway (aka Roman Klčo) explores the world of character animation with motion capture using Rokoko's Full Performance Capture kit for high-fidelity body, finger and facial animations. To showcase his process, Roman uses a practical use case by walking us through an easy workflow to animate a rigged character using Blender addons, including the free Rokoko Blender plugin (which includes a retargeting feature).

Disclaimer: this video was sponsored by Rokoko, however it aims to showcase Roman’s honest review and approach to animation using mocap, for which he had total independence and freedom as a 3D creator and VFX expert.

Setting up Rokoko motion capture gear

Roman’s tutorial begins with an overview of the Rokoko mocap gear, including the full body suit, gloves, and facial capture app. He shares his initial thoughts on the gear itself, including the feeling of wearing the suit and how little time it took to put it on and get started, one of the big advantages of inertial mocap over optical.

Rokoko Studio mocap & animation software

Roman then introduces the Rokoko Studio software, explaining its various features and capabilities, including recording, cleaning and exporting of the mocap data. He shows how the software allows users to create the motion capture itself, but also how to live stream it in real-time to different applications like Unreal Engine, Unity, Blender, and more (see all supported plugin integrations here). The software also includes a Motion Library for pre-produced motion capture data, which is very useful for creators looking for a quick motion asset to use in a project, rather than making custom recordings themselves.

Recording and Calibration 

This part of the video covers the calibration process and recording of motion capture data. A calibration is needed when connecting the mocap gear at the start of each new session, and takes literally 3 seconds (standing in an “i-pose”). Roman adds an actor profile to the virtual scene (i.e. he applies his body measurements to his virtual avatar, so everything is scales properly), and shows how to capture motion data. He discusses a potential issue with Wi-Fi connections and firewall settings, which can sometimes occur and are easy to solve.


Using Motion Capture Data in Blender

Roman now imports the captured motion data into Blender and demonstrates how to apply it to a custom 3D character. He also discusses the importance of having a character prepared with the necessary blend shapes for facial animation, as the Rokoko Face Capture app for iOS is based on ARKit which uses a 52 blendshape system.

Retargeting and Fine-Tuning

The video covers retargeting the motion capture data to fit different characters using the Rokoko Blender add-on, which is completely free to use. Roman explains the process and recommends using “auto-scale” to mitigate height differences between characters. He also discusses the use of the Cats Blender plugin to facilitate retargeting.

Final Animation and Conclusion

Roman, the VFX Artist behind the massively popular Polygon Runway channel, successfully demonstrated how to create a complete animation using motion capture data, including facial expressions, with Rokoko mocap tools. He showcased the versatility of motion capture technology in the creative process of 3D animation, whether for gaming, animation, or illustration, and its integration within a Blender pipeline.

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