The Blender Loop Station (Bloop) is a rapid performance animation tool. It is implemented as an add-on for the 3D modeling and animation suite Blender.
Bloop lets the user quickly animate a 3D character in a short amount of time without needing much experience or technological knowledge. It combines motion-capturing, digital puppetry and natural language control. The result is a form of interaction which does not interrupt the users work flow: spoken commands control the system's settings and actions while the user can keep acting out the animation without having to run up to his keyboard after every recorded move. We use a loop station metaphor as known from live music performances, where a musician controls the loop station by physical interaction while he records sounds. We switch the modal channels of the musical loop station to create a loop station for animations.
In one workflow you can
- Create new mappings (user feature to character feature) via gestures
- Calibrate these mappings
- Quickly record animations
- Layer recordings for different mappings
- Record animations with more than one user acting on one character
Blender version 2.59 (not yet tested with newer versions)
Microsoft Kinect SDK
Extract bloop.zip and nui.zip into your Blender /scripts/addons folder. In Blender, enable both add-ons under User Preferences > Add-Ons (check out the Development and Animation sections). The Bloop GUI will appear in the Tools panel on the left of your view port. Klick Start Bloop to start the main loop. Unzip and execute KinectToOSC.exe and run it with your Kinect plugged in (Note: You will need the official Microsoft Kinect SDK installed). Click Initialize Speech followed by a click on Initialize Kinect Runtime.
By clicking Start NUI-User Drawing in the Blender toolbar, you will see a white stick figure representing you. Now you can switch between mapping mode, calibration mode and recording mode by saying out their names loud.
Recognized speech commands: "mapping", "calibration", "recording", "start", "next", "previous"
- Bloop starts in mapping mode
- Cycle through mappings by saying "previous" and "next"
- Switch to calibration mode by saying "calibration"
- Say "start" to initiate calibration
- Bloop will switch to recording mode automatically
- The character will now move according to your movements and your selected mapping
- Say "start" to start recording
- After the time marker hits the stop frame, Bloop will switch back to mapping mode and play back the recorded animation
As interactive mapping might currently not produce adequate results, you are well advised to take a look at startup.py in the Bloop folder, it contains some hard-coded example mappings.