iPiSoft’s Founder/Chief Creative Architect, Michael Nikonov, shares his thoughts in PostMagazine’s annual “Outlook” issue on trends that 2021 may bring to markerless motion capture technology.
From time to time, we like to take a closer look at the artists that are using iPi Soft technology in interesting and innovative ways. This time we are shining a spotlight on Raul Miguel Ruiz Esquer, a Mexico-based, self-professed creative jack-of-all-trades working as an audiovisual producer and 3D animation artist. Currently, his one-man studio is focused on the realization of 3D cinematics.
Raul came to our attention in September with his submission to our mocap contest. His elegant 3D dancer piece, “Big Bang Portal” was the winning entry due to its originality and the incredible detail he was able to portray using iPi Mocap along with Autodesk Maya and Epic Games’ Unreal Engine: https://vimeo.com/446939597
We spoke with Raul from his studio in Tijuana, Mexico
Q. How did you first hear about iPi Mocap and how did you use the software in your winning entry?
RR: first time I started using iPi Mocap was around 2012 when I was a student learning 3D and downloading all kinds of software and experimenting. The idea of an affordable way to make 3D motion capture was compelling since the mocap technology at that time was expensive and not accessible to the broader audiences.I started using iPi Mocap again this year for my winning piece “Big Bang Portal” as I noticed iPi Soft had made several improvements to the software. This video captured in the piece was created using iPi Recorder and iPi Mocap Studio. It is a work in progress for a short film I am currently producing.
Q. What benefits does the software bring to your content creation workflow?
RR: Since I was young, I have always wanted to create my own 3D animated movies. I have been studying the spectrum of 3D software applications with the goal of being able to create as a solo artist. When I first heard about iPi Mocap I knew it was a perfect match for me. As a one-man studio I need to make ongoing technical and budgetary decisions to support the artistic vision. The main advantage of iPi Mocap is being able to capture high quality animation instead of making it by hand and trying to recreate the illusion of life for my characters. It was very daunting at first because just to make one shot used to require a team, but with iPi Mocap the animation can be achieved accurately without sensors with one person or a small team of individuals. This is huge because it improves the productivity from a cost-effective perspective, but also allows an independent artist to direct a creative vision instead of wrangling a production. I can prototype fast and spend more time working on the creative, fun side of the project.
Q. What hardware are you using with iPi Mocap?
RR: My studio setup is nothing extraordinary, but it delivers results: Intel Core i7-3820 (4 core 3.6 ghz) with P9X79 LE Motherboard and 16 gb ram; Nvidia 1080 GTX; 2 Kinect Xbox One; 2 SIIG JU-P20612-S1 – Adapter PCIe 2 port USB 3.0.
Q. Can you tell us how you have already used iPi Mocap and your plans for using the software with the Unreal Engine?
RR: My plan is to produce films and series. Right now I’m continuing to experiment creatively using the iPi Mocap pro license on a personal project that I’m hoping to release soon. My plan is to acquire two additional Kinects to make a four Kinect setup to capture additional recording of acrobatic action sequences and different dancing styles.
Looking to the future I would also like to try using the software with the Azure Kinect to raise the quality of my captures.
The use of the Unreal engine was a choice made with the solo team structure in mind. It is just so much simpler to direct, assemble and render sequences using the Unreal editor. As a director, having more control of the output using the real-time pipeline provides additional creative flexibility.
I have studied and prepared myself to be able to execute my creative vision.
I’m happy that iPi Soft granted me a license and thanks to the contest, I feel closer to achieving my artistic aspirations.