Vicki Dang & Robin Mahieux is a creative duo with raw talent, a stellar curriculum, and a peculiar and elegant style. As their poetic visions recently took shape into an idyllic music video created with motion capture and their brand new Rokoko tools, we asked them to talk about their experience with mocap and Rokoko and how the Smartsuit Pro has changed their idea of creative production.
Vicki Dang is a 3D Animator, Art Director, and CGI Artist. After taking her passion for visual culture to the next level during her studies with an MA in Art Direction, she worked in advertising in Vietnam, started experimenting with 3D software and 3D creation, and fell in love with motion design. Her current primary focus is VFX and motion graphics.
Robin Mahieux is a creative director with a technical background in filmmaking. Currently based in Asia, Robin is constantly challenging himself to create new compelling narratives and his uniquely crafted works mostly make use of 3D mapping, motion capture, and live music. He has been directing worldwide with artists like Kiko Mizuhara, Louis Koo, Jessica Jung, and Henry Lau - and has shot for brands like Adidas, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Onitsuka Tiger.
As Vicki was called for the creation of a new music video for Mindchatter - one of New York’s finest electronic music artists - she approached Robin to collaborate on the piece and they decided to partner as co-directors. The inspiration for the music video came from the moment Robin & Vicki tried to envision a virtual space outside of earth as we know it: a peaceful and happy place made of endless fields to run through and to breath fresh air, dancing away from the pandemic. As the story was about a character breaking away from an oppressed world, a dance sequence immediately seemed the best way to represent it. It was crucial for the creative vision and the elegant choreography that the movements would feel as real and natural as possible:
“I would usually spend a lot of time rigging and trying to make the movements look very natural. In this case, because of the easy access to motion capture everything was so quick and simple. This tool really gave me the chance to focus on telling my story,”
said Vicki about the Smartsuit Pro.
Vicki’s preferred software for 3D animation in this process was Blender with the use of Rokoko Studio for exporting the data in FBX, while - for the editing and compositing - Robin used Adobe Premiere Pro. The two described the entire production and creation process of the video as easy and straightforward. Robin initially wrote the story while Vicki purchased her Smartsuit Pro for her work as a motion designer. Then they decided to try motion capture with Rokoko for the first time on the project.
“This project was our first try with Rokoko and it was a great learning experience. We managed to pull out and produce a great story during Covid19 and it took us only a month from start to finish to create a 3-minutes video. We’re really happy with it!”
This was also their first test with a mocap from home set-up during the pandemic. The two talked about mobility as one of the greatest strengths of the mocap suit and Vicki really appreciated the chance to be completely autonomous in the project, without having to rely on a studio.
“For an independent artist like me, Rokoko has given me a big production value and an invaluable asset for my own home: to be capable of bringing the suit everywhere and working anywhere made my life as an animator so much easier.”
Not only did their Rokoko tools enable the two artists to bring their production away from the studios but it also sped up their working process and changed their way of looking at the animation pipeline, as phrased by Robin:
“Rokoko is an incredible time-saving solution for animation. Capturing movement, retargeting, and then having directly such a human nature into the character movements changes everything. As a creative director, I totally see that this kind of technology helps shaping a new way of thinking and making animations. You can bring real emotions into motion. It’s making everything different.”
As always, we’ve been absolutely excited and proud to see two artists like Robin Mahieux and Vicki Dang achieving their creative visions with our tools. Considering that this was only Vicki & Robin’s first creation with Rokoko and motion capture, we can’t wait to see what’s more to come!