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Motion Capture for the Masses

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Archive for April, 2014

“Stalingrad” – Russia’s Highest-Grossing Film Of All Time

Posted on: April 22nd, 2014

iPi Motion Capture Plays A Starring Role In “Stalingrad” – Russia’s Highest-Grossing Film Of All Time

iPi Soft Markerless Motion Capture System Aids Moscow-Based Visual Effects House Main Road|Post With Crowd Simulation And Previsualization


MOSCOW, RUSSIA – The Battle of Stalingrad, among the bloodiest and arguably one of the most strategically decisive battles in all of World War II, is vividly brought to life in “Stalingrad.” The recently released Russian-produced epic film effectively used iPi Soft’s iPi Motion Capture markerless motion capture solution on numerous crowd simulation sequences created by the Moscow-based visual effects studio  Main Road|Post.


Russia’s highest-grossing film ever, “Stalingrad” has brought in nearly $68 million at the box office worldwide (it was released in March in the U.S. exclusively on IMAX screens). An epic look at the battle that turned the tide of World War II, “Stalingrad” tells the story of a band of Russian soldiers determined to hold a strategic building in their devastated city against a ruthless German army, and in the process become deeply connected to a Russian woman who’s been living there.

“iPi Soft is committed to developing the most reliable and powerful markerless motion capture solutions to help filmmakers, animators and video game developers address their production challenges efficiently and affordably,“ Michael Nikonov, iPi Soft Founder and Chief Technology Architect, says. “We’re thrilled our iPi Motion Capture technology is being used by the Main Road|Post creative team here in our “own back yard” to achieve the motion capture challenges and accelerate workflow proficiency on this epic film.”


30 Minutes of VFX:

Bringing the action to visual life fell to Moscow-based visual effects studio Main Road|Post. Visual effects supervisor Arman Yahin and his crew worked closely with director Fedor Bondarchuk on the 230 visual effects shots in “Stalingrad”, many of which were quite lengthy, filling approximately 30 minutes of overall screen time.

Among the many software tools used during the post process, including Maya, Houdini, MARI and Nuke, iPI Motion Capture proved essential for creation of the CG crowd simulation sequences.

“Most of the CG crowd simulation work was done using a combination of motion capture and keyframe animation,” Alexander Lipilin, MainRoad|Post animation supervisor, says, “We used iPi Motion Capture with two Kinect cameras – I put them near my workstation, and played out all the movements I needed and immediately transferred them to the soldiers. The setup was fast and the program simple to use. It helped us to quickly react to changes, as well as create good mocap data on the fly.”

Two Key Scenes:

Lipilin noted that there are two specific crowd sequences – one in the beginning in which an oil tank explodes as Soviet soldiers storm the rugged steep bank of the Volga River. The second, a bombing sequence of the house as it’s assaulted by German troops, near the end of the film.

“In both cases using live action stunts was impossible due to safety risks, so we had to create CG crowds,” Lipilin says. “The crowds themselves weren’t that big — between 40 and 100 people — but the complex lie of the ground and various behavior of the characters required close attention to the quality of animation. We used all our knowledge and technology available to pull this off and iPi Motion Capture helped us to finish the job on time with excellent quality.”

Lipilin adds, “Attempting to capture motion in a more “traditional” mocap session with green screens and sensor suits in many cases would have been too expensive, slow and inefficient. There really is no equivalent to iPi Soft’s technology.”

About iPi Soft:

Launched in 2008, iPi Soft, LLC is the Moscow-based developer of iPi Motion Capture™, a markerless motion capture software tool that uses sophisticated image processing and computer vision algorithms to recognize and track the human body. The company’s breakthrough technology digitizes the movement of a human skeleton, rendering it in expressive 3D characters for video games or computer. Recent projects that relied on iPi Motion Capture include the hit feature film “Now You See Me” and the upcoming horror classic reboot “Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3D” and the acclaimed videogame “Halo 4.”

Web Resources:

Press release in PDF>>

Click here for more info about iPi Soft:


Click here for more info about Main Road|Post:


Click here to watch Main Road|Post’s “making of” montage:


Click here for “Stalingrad” on IMDB:


Click here to visit the official Sony Picture/”Stalingrad” website:



Media Contacts:

Vicky Gray-Clark, Ambient PR vicky@ambientpr.com 408-318-1980

Ray Ecke, Right Word Media ray@rightwordmedia.com 973-726-3797

Trends in Markerless Motion Capture DMA/LA Event

Posted on: April 12th, 2014

iPi Soft The Focus Of “Trends in Markerless Motion Capture” Event at DMA/LA’s March Event

By Ko Maruyama

LOS ANGELES, CA April 4, 2014 – In late March, Digital Media Artists of Los Angeles (DMALA) hosted their monthly user group meeting, which focused solely on the iPi Soft and its markerless motion capture software solution iPi Motion Capture and its use in film, television and personal projects. Moderated by myself, the panel featured professional animators David (D-Lew) Lewandowski, Don L. McCoy, Anthony Hoit, and LA Siggraph’s Mike Amron.  Each spoke to the audience about how the adoption of iPi Motion Capture has changed the way they approached animation and production.

If there was one overarching theme to event it was how the landscape of motion graphics and motion design has changed quickly in the past few years thanks to a combination of accessible software and hardware that has allowed digital media artists to create new and innovative animations.

That combination includes the availability of affordable markerless motion capture that has changed the way smaller studios, individuals and students consider their approach to character animation. Specifically, iPi Soft software — in concert with over-the-counter video cameras — is letting digital artists from many disciplines incorporate motion capture into their creative pipeline.

Hoit, Lewandowski and McCoy each noted that they were encouraged by the ease and ready supply of support hardware. Motion capture requires cameras, and although iPi Motion Capture can work with several types of cameras, the panel found success using a simple Microsoft Kinect camera setup.

Case in point was Hoit’s work on the new Night of the Living Dead: 3D Origins – a completely 3D animated reboot of the horror classic set for release later this year — that used iPi Motion Capture with just 1 Kinect camera (it supports up to 3) on all of the film’s middle and background action. Hoit also offered attendees a preview of some select scenes in the film.

Following the Q&A, attendees were able to sample iPi Motion Capture’s ease of use first-hand thanks to three separate demo mocap workstations. The casual setting with professional users was the perfect way for attendees to see how easy it was to setup and capture data. The user group setting was a perfect place to showcase the ease of use and the calculation workflow.

For Ron Magrid, noted technology writer who attended the event, said that the event was different than he expected, which was more of a manufacturer driven show and tell.

Instead, it was an insightful presentation from people who worked with motion capture for a living and used it to create some impressive effects, Magrid said. I loved the stories and the know-how they offered, and how freely they shared it. My guest and I, up and coming filmmaker Richard Gale, were stunned at how relatively easy to use and inexpensive iPi Motion Capture is.

Given the interest in markerless motion capture I’ve seen among creative professionals and students in my classroom at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, coupled with the advancements iPi Soft has made to iPi Motion Capture, it’s clear that markerless motion capture will grow as a creative force to be reckoned with among filmmakers, videogame developers and animators for years to come.

DMALA_Panelists_1403 DMALA_Attendees_1403 DMALA_BenjaminBudzak_1403

March Contest Winner

Posted on: April 1st, 2014

We had a lot of discussions in our team regarding which is the best of submitted videos. Finally, we decided that the winner is Mikołaj Jagodziński with “Virtuo” piece!
Mikołaj has increased his chances by sending the “Behind the Scenes” accompanying video.

Description from the author:
All character animations were created in iPi Motion Capture (except for the running sequence, animation of the head, wrist and fingers). I used four PS Eye cameras.

Motion Capture Technology: