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IKinema trials free online mocap-editing system

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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IKinema has launched a free online service for editing and retargeting motion data.

Based on the same underlying technology as the developer’s award-winning mocap-editing plugin for Maya, WebAnimate enables users to load character models in their browser, apply motion clips, retarget or edit the data, then re-export for use offline.

Data can currently be exported in FBX or BVH format, with C3D to come.

Users of Mixamo will find the concept behind WebAnimate familiar, but whereas Mixamo is strong in the hobbyist and indie game development communities, WebAnimate’s rather more Maya-like interface and workflow may appeal more to studio professionals looking to work remotely.

The system is currently in free beta. IKinema expects to charge on a pay-per-motion-exported basis when the service launches commercially, but as yet, there’s no word on when or how much.

PRESS RELEASE (Excerpts)
Animation on the go. High-grade retargeting for the little guy. With the influx of smaller studios entering into the independent film and game development industries, ideas like these are becoming more important. Today, they will be achieved with the release of IKinema™ LTD’s WebAnimate – an all-in-one platform that can professionally retarget and customize animation through your browser.

Based off the same IKinema technology that major studios like Framestore and 20th Century Fox trust, WebAnimate’s built-in toolset allows users to fashion rigs, manipulate bones, retarget/customize motion capture data and animation all in the span of a few minutes. With this program, independent studios and individuals working on games, films, and mobile projects can now realize realistic and believable animation at a price they can afford. Free.

Over the course of the next year, users can expect to see new features added to WebAnimate. The introductory version of the platform will allow for the retargeting of motion capture data to models from standard formats such as BVH, FBX, and in the near future, C3D. Both experienced and beginner users alike can use this platform to quickly port motion capture data from cloud or local sources directly to their models. They can also tap into the vast number of free mocap files that reside online. Traditionally, this functionality has been only available to high-end markets. WebAnimate democratizes this toolset by making this high-end software accessible to anyone who wants to use it; in part, by tapping into the well-traveled ground of their browser.

Because IKinema’s solver works off of a browser, users are able to animate or retarget from anywhere. This is especially helpful for development teams with members that telecommute from across the globe. With WebAnimate, they only have to sign on to the Internet to start collaborating on projects from afar. For a small studio, this flexibility will save a lot of money and will give their artists some room to focus on the things that make them happy; like the speed at which WebAnimate allows them to dynamically animate human and fantasy characters.

Pricing and Availability
WebAnimate is available now for Windows with a Mac and Linux version to follow next year. It will remain free of charge while in its beta period. After that, users will only be charged when their animations or poses are exported for commercial use. However, it will always be free to try out and experiment within WebAnimate, as well as store or use the scenes you create in a proprietary format.

Visit the WebAnimate website

Visit the IKinema website

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