A Renaissance in the Matrimony of Animation Editing and Hybrid Dance
Niels Bosch of Het Nieuwe Kader & Tpose.com
Hello, I’m Niels, the Creative Producer at Het Nieuwe Kader and Tpose.com. In 2016, alongside Berko Mulder, we founded our company as a green screen studio fueled by our passion for 3D animation and visual effects. Since then, we have evolved into a reputable agency with a dedicated team of over a dozen professionals, delivering top-notch content to the industry.
In addition to content creation, our company’s core passions reside in interactive games and apps, virtual production, and motion capture. Reflecting our relentless pursuit of innovation, we proudly launched Tpose.com in 2023, a dedicated venture that encompasses everything and anything related to motion capture and 3D characters. To further elevate our operations, we recently bid farewell to our old 1900s studio and embraced the dawn of a new era in our freshly built, state-of-the-art offices. This move not only enhances the studio experience for our esteemed clients but also cultivates an environment for our talented staff to thrive in.
Popularizing Hybrid Dance via 3D Digitization
Introdans is a prestigious Dutch dance company with a rich heritage of seamlessly blending classical ballet, modern dance, and contemporary choreography. With a history spanning over five decades, the dance company is now seeking to revitalize its website and recruit new dance members. To help them accomplish this, we decided to use motion capture technology on one of their accomplished dancers, infusing a contemporary vibe into their time-honored tradition.
We had the pleasure of recording Alberto, an exceptionally talented professional dancer, in our studio. To capture his movements, we utilized the cutting-edge motion-capture suit from Xsens and the Quantum Metagloves, a state-of-the-art motion-capture glove, from Manus. During the session, we documented a variety of dances, swiftly retargeting them to a 3D template character using iClone. Subsequently, we generated individual videos of each dance, allowing Introdans to select their favorites. The entire shoot, including preparation, spanned approximately half a day, while the overall production lasted around 2 weeks. This collaborative endeavor was achieved with fluid coordination and adaptability, resulting in an outcome that both parties took immense pride in.
iClone as a Crucial Element
For animation editing, I collaborated with my colleague Tim de Haan, who played a pivotal role. By referencing Reallusion’s free iClone motion editing tutorials to supplement his industry expertise, Tim was able to establish a feasible production pipeline. With the latest features in iClone added to the mix, our workflow was further optimized, resulting in substantial time savings.
We designed and developed a captivating character specifically for the Introdans webpage, utilizing the powerful tools of Character Creator 4. With a straightforward process, we seamlessly transferred the character to iClone. Thanks to the integrated motion profiles, importing the Xsens data into iClone became a breeze. However, given the variance in body proportions between the dancer and our character, some animation refinement was necessary. Fortunately, iClone proved to be an invaluable asset in this regard. Without further ado… allow us to present some remarkable case studies:
Motion layers proved to be indispensable in resolving mesh penetration. By leveraging motion layers, we were able to precisely position the arms and legs, effectively eliminating any intersection with adjacent geometry.
The utilization of distinct animation layers provided a clear project overview. Applying the same principle, we also implemented posture correction to make movement more natural.
iClone proved to be highly advantageous in seamlessly incorporating foot contact into the movements. This was effortlessly achieved by accurately positioning the hips at the appropriate height, allowing the inverse kinematics to naturally bend the knees and firmly plant the feet on the floor.
To achieve a smooth rolling motion of the feet over the ground, we utilized the Curve Editor to identify and address any erratic keys. By smoothing out these keys, we were able to achieve a much more appealing result. The implementation of footstep stabilization proved to be immensely helpful in resolving any hovering motion. This had a significant positive impact on the final outcome, and we found it effortless to make any necessary adjustments along the way.
Other Useful Tools
We finalized the animations with facial and hand animations. The Digital Soul pack proved to be an excellent resource for achieving expressive facial animations. Additionally, the Hand Gesture Puppeteering Plugin facilitated the seamless recording of various hand poses. Leveraging the Unreal Live Link plugin for iClone, we effortlessly imported the character into Unreal 5 with accurate precision.
The dance stage was created in Maya and Unreal Engine 5 by Jurre. To achieve ultra-realistic textures, Substance Painter was utilized. As the final touch to enhance the realism, the built-in Unreal 5 virtual camera, combined with an iPad Pro, was employed.
We are thrilled to present this remarkable animation editing pipeline to you. If you would like to explore more of our work or collaborate with our talented team for your projects, please don’t hesitate to connect with us by using the links below!
Follow Tpose and Het Nieuwe Kader
At Tpose, our flagship service is the Remote Motion Capture Shoot, enabling clients to direct and review their motion capture data on our custom-made platform. This gives our international clients the ability to direct their motion capture shoots without having to fly out to us, keeping cost and travel time manageable and redirecting budgets to where they are needed most: creativity.
Our clientele includes renowned fashion icons such as Karl Lagerfeld and Cara Delevingne, as well as esteemed motion capture industry players like Manus and Xsens. We invite you to explore more about our business through the links below and discover the possibilities.