UPDATED 09:00 EDT / DECEMBER 23 2010

Chinese Hacker Connects OpenNI Kinect Drivers With 3ds Max

kinect-openni-connected-with-3ds-maxIn the realm of 3D rendering and animation software 3ds Max is one that’s been around for what seems like forever and I know 3D artists who swear by it. So, when I came across a video showing how a Chinese hacker hooked the OpenNI drivers for Kinect up with the 3D software.

The skeleton visible in the video demonstrates the expected underlying structure of the to-be-animated character like a tailor’s dummy acts as a reference for stitching clothing. The motions translate from the Kinect’s video software that can detect the positions of body and hands, allowing it to display depth and gesture as the animator moves his body. With these drivers on the market, people who own 3ds Max and a Kinect could quickly and easily animate an extremely lifelike character using themselves as the actor.

We’ve already seen this done with MikuMukuDance choreography—giving animé characters the benefit of human grace and lack of rhythm.

I imagine the next step is going to be a highly compressed protocol for translating simple gestures and movements into emotes for avatars in socially interactive media. What we’ll want to see is not just animation, but the ability to take a Kinect, an Xbox 360 or a PC, log into an MMO or social space and then speak and gesture with other people. Exploring a game world might be even more interesting if we can interact with it personally, and even mime out  our own body language to one another.

That’s exactly the best-next-step of this sort of motion capture translated to 3D characters.

However, first I am quite happy to see the emergence of the first few idoru on YouTUBE as animators (and casual people alike) get into the swing of using the Kinect to animate themselves in video form.

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