It’s been nearly a year since we last put out an official update to NI mate. This doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped working on the software – on the contrary. We’re happy to now announce on the blog that for the past 1,5 years we’ve been hard at work preparing NI mate v2.0 for an eventual release in July 2015.
While we’re launching a complete redesign on NI-mate.com as well as a thorough blog post about the updated features and business model in June, some of the things to look forward to include: extended sensor support (adding support for the new Kinect for Windows/XBOX One and Leap Motion), simultaneous sensor support (run multiple sensors in a single instance of NI mate, even mixing different sensor types), BVH/FBX export and an official Autodesk Motion Builder plugin.
Existing purchases of NI mate v1.0 will continue to work forever. Similarly v1 license owners will be offered a generous upgrade path in case they would like to enjoy the new features offered in v2.0. While we’re preparing the new software for official release, we’re also looking for a few good participants in a closed beta. In case you think you would be a good fit, please feel free to send us an application by filling in this form (requires a Google account).
Unfortunately some of our users have had problems with NI mate v1.20, but downgrading to v1.19 was impossible with a trial licence as v1.19 expired for trial usage when v1.20 was released. In order to address problems faced by our users, we’re releasing a patch to extend the trial of v1.19 while we keep working on the issues that arose with v1.20.
To use this patch on Windows:
- Install NI mate v1.19 from the bottom of the download page.
- Copy the patch file from the patch zip archive next to the NI mate executable in [NI mate installation folder]/Bin and run it.
To use this patch on OS X:
- Install NI mate v1.19 from the bottom of the download page.
- Copy the patch file from the patch zip archive next to the NI mate application in the Application folder by default and run it from the terminal with:
Download v1.19 patch for Windows.
Download v1.19 patch for OS X.
We’re pleased to bring you a new NI mate v1.20, which brings you a more evolved skeleton smoothing algorithm as well as a load of bug fixes. We’ve also finally gone ahead and rewritten the Maya plugin. The new plugin extends the functionality already available for Blender and Cinema 4D to Autodesk Maya and should make the plugin a lot more usable for everyone. Download the new plugin from the official Maya plugin page and check out the tutorial video below:
New features and bug fixes
Improved skeleton smoothing.
Smoother activity area edge detection.
Processing sketches with multiple sketch files weren’t loaded correctly from profiles
OSC commands for recording and playing back oni files:
- “enable|start|disable|stop recording”
- “enable|start|disable|stop playback path_to_oni_file”
Important for Mac OS X users: What to do if NI mate freezes or starts very slowly?
If your sensor is connected to a USB 3 port, then you should enable the low bandwidth mode from the NI mate preferences. However if the software doesn’t start at all or is very slow this can be very difficult or impossible. You can enable the low bandwidth mode manually by editing the necessary files next to the NI mate executable:
- Open the sensor settings file in a text editor:
On OS X: Delicode_NI_mate.app/Contents/Frameworks/GlobalDefaults.ini (or PS1080.ini)
On Windows: Delicode_NI_mate_install_directory/Data/GlobalDefaults.ini (or PS1080.ini)
- Find the line that reads “;UsbInterface=2″ and remove the semicolon at the beginning of the line. If there is no such line add the line “UsbInterface=2″ below the “[Device]” line.
- Save the file and restart NI mate.
Note: on Windows you have to start the text editor with “Run as admin” if NI mate is installed under the “Program files (x86)” folder.
It’s been a hectic two months here at Delicode – especially with the release of Z Vector at SXSW 2014. All this rush has meant that we didn’t have the time to promote the NI mate birthday competition in the way that we would have liked. For this reason we’ve made the decision to extend the deadline for participation until April 30th 2014. If you’d like to receive a temporary full license to take part, please do get in touch with us.
While this certainly buys many of you extra time to enter, the guys at Volt Vision and Piero Lovato have been busy with their entries. Congrats guys. For the rest of you, time to get busy. With the new Oculus DK2 just around the corner, here’s your chance to claim one!
Volt Vision for Buffalo Botanical Gardens / NI mate + Animata workflow
This cheerful installation piece created by Gary Peters and Steve French at Volt Vision for the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens’ interactive Night Light event makes good use of NI mate’s support for Animata. Loaning from the Volt Vision blog post, the above simple diagram explains how everything works.
The illustrations and rigging are top notch – and hey – the guys made it to the local TV!
Controlling sound with body motion / NI mate + SuperCollider tutorial
Piero Lovato entered the competition with this excellent tutorial on how to hook up NI mate to SuperCollider and effectively make your whole body in to a Theremin. Piero was nice enough to include the full source code to his work in the about section of the Youtube video. We also liked the fact that the tutorial showcases NI mate running on Linux – something that puts it apart from a lot of the software out there.
Who doesn’t love the idea of becoming a Theremin?
After over two years of intense development and an eight month beta period, last week’s South by Southwest culminated in the release of our company’s second software to date – Z Vector. Not only did we do visuals for an official music showcase (which was streamed at SXSW Live) with it, but we also helped out on a music video shoot that’s going be public later. Apart from that we used our booth time to showcase a recent interactive advertisement that we run for Finland’s largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat.
Helsingin Sanomat interactive advertisement (NI mate + Unity)
This week we’re at the Game Developers Conference 2014, where we’ll be sharing a place at the Nordic booth. We’ll be showing off NI mate to any interested people, but also also helping to organise one of this year’s GDC parties (the best one obviously), together with our Australian friends Current Circus. If you’re in the San Francisco area, please do make your way to Public Works SF on tuesday the 18th of March!
PS. With the results for february’s competition released in the next few days, I’d like to invite you to take part in the march part of competition. You still have time to commit tutorials and workflow videos before the end of the month!
We’re already far in to February and it’s about time we reveal which two works we picked as winners for January. As we expected, the competition started of slow and we had to wait until the first week of February to have two proper entries. These came from Italian artist and teacher Michele Cremaschi and a group of researchers from the Humanoid Robotics Group at TU Bergakademie Freiberg.
Workflow and tutorial: Augmented Pinocchio
Augmented Pinocchio – promo from michele cremaschi on Vimeo.
Michele explains how Augmented Pinocchio was created: “I produced a realtime hologram show where all the actors are hologram reproductions of my live acting; and in which all the props are holographic visuals generated in realtime relative to my body position. To generate the silhouette, I first used NI mate’s syphon one feed. In a second step, in order to have better resolution, I wrote a software that calibrates the Kinect with an external camera. This gives me a hires silhouette based on the depth mask syphon stream coming from NI mate.”
“Another point you might find interesting is how I networked the data coming from nimate; OSC runs easily on a network, but I also shared syphon streams thanks to Airparrot + airserver on another mac. This allowed NI mate streams to be used on a secondary computer, splitting the required CPU power (NI mate is nice, but quite CPU hungry) over two Macs.” Watch Michele’s tutorial and go to his blog to download the patch he created for extracting the skeleton data from NI mate in Vuo:
Vuo and NiMate skeleton patch from michele cremaschi on Vimeo.
Workflow: Imitation learning for NAO robot using NI mate
Who doesn’t love robots – as hardware geeks we definitely do. In this super cool entry from researchers at the Humanoid Robotics Group at TU Bergakademie Freiberg, one a NAO robot is taught to imitate movements captured from real people. Oliver Mothes from the research group explains:
“We tried to use NI mate for human robot imitation, especially for motion tracking. The NI mate OSC interface help us to send the joint positions to our Blender-Robot-Skeletal. With a little bit magic, we transform these positions to robot joint angles, optimise them for stabilising the motion and send the new angles to the real robot.”
Thanks for entering and congratulations to the people behind these entries. We keep being amazed and super happy in seeing NI mate being used in such varied and creative ways. For the rest, there are still almost two weeks to post your entries and have a chance to win licenses of NI mate – as well as a full Oculus Rift devkit! Have fun!
Pow! We’re heading to the new year with a blast! First off, in order to celebrate NI mate’s second birthday (the software was released to open beta in January 2012) in style, we’re launching a competition and giving away two full licenses of NI mate each month until the end of March (total of six full licenses!). These licenses will be dealt between people who’ve posted a new NI mate related tutorial or workflow video online publicly to either Youtube or Vimeo.
We’re not favouring any particular software or workflow – your project can be about anything, but has to feature NI mate in some important role. If you’d like to make a tutorial video that makes use of features that are not available in the trial version or if you’d just want to not be bothered with the nag screen while you’re making your video, you can request a temporary license file from us in order to prepare the video. If you’d like to get a clue about how we usually form our tutorials, you can check our Youtube channel.
The kicker? Not only are we giving away licenses of NI mate, but the creator of the best video – chosen by us and the community at the end of March – will receive a full Oculus Rift devkit worth $350! If you’re unfamiliar with the Oculus Rift or what you do with it and NI mate, you should check out this video from our recent talk from the Blender Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands:
Apart from the competition, we’re also announcing the rewriting of the NI mate plugin for Autodesk Maya. In order to make the plugin the absolute best it can be, we’re asking for your help. Get in touch with us and tell us how you’d like the plugin to work.
The best way to get in touch with us is to either write our support email or leave us direct feedback through the webpages or the NI mate forum. Help us celebrate NI mate’s 2nd birthday by helping us make the software better than ever!
“I approve of this competition!” Big Buck Bunny (c) 2008 Blender Foundation
Again we’re pleased to bring you a new and much improved version of NI mate – your real-time motion capture software. This release fixes many of the unfortunate stability issues found in v1.18, but it also introduces something we’ve hinted at for quite a while: the capability to record and playback .oni depth clips. This powerful new functionality (and file format) enables the real-time capture and saving of a depth map in good quality.
The ability to playback recorded material also enables you to make use of NI mate and motion capture files even when you don’t have your sensor with you or attached to the computer. Last but not least .oni files can be played back in our other software, Z Vector, through which they open up what we think is a revolutionary new way to make film and real-time, sound synchronized visuals.
Depth clip recording
Depth clip (.oni file format) recording from the connected live sensor. Without a full licence the recording time is limited to 10 s. Recording can be started from the Live view tab or from the “Depth Clip” NI mate menu. The recorded depth clips will be stored in the “user home/NI mate” folder by default, but this folder can be changed in the NI mate preferences.
Depth clip playback
Playback of depth clips (.oni file format) with full support for all NI mate tracking capabilities. You can open a depth clip by simply double clicking it, from the new “Depth Clip” NI mate menu or from the Open depth clip button in the Live view tab.
All recorded clips in the folder specified in the NI mate preferences (“user home/NI mate” by default) will be listed in the “Depth clip” menu.
You can even play back depth clips without a sensor connected, but in this case the trial restrictions automatically apply as a licensed sensor is not connected.
OSC messages to Processing from outside sources
NI mate’s automatic processing integration uses OSC to make the data available to the processing sketch, but this meant that it was very difficult to receive any OSC messages from other sources. Now this is taken into account and you can use OSC in a NI mate processing sketch just as if NI mate wasn’t even there.
Triggers, OSC and MIDI controller now work properly with high speed mode.
Fix for crashes and instable operation caused by changing the OSC settings.
OSC Controller left & right hand coordinates weren’t sent correctly.
More detailed MIDI error reporting.
Processing export didn’t always replace an existin folder properly.
Syphon output feeds were mixed up.
We’re pleased to announce that the official NI mate Cinema 4D plugin v2.0 has now been updated to include a fix for C4D v13 that prevented correct recording of motion data. Based on the positive feedback we’ve received from users we decided that with this fix the plugin now also exits the beta status.
Please note that due to a bug in the early C4D v13 plugin api you should update to at least v13.051 to ensure correct plugin functionality.
We’re really excited to announce the release of NI mate v1.18 from the annual Blender Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The release was done in conjunction with our talk, aptly named “Kinetic Bunny, meet the Virtual Bunny” – in reference to our original “Kinetic Bunny” video. You’re invited to watch the recording of the talk below. The video includes a fun moment when Ton Roosendaal, head of the Blender Foundation, picks up the Oculus and turns in to Big Buck Bunny.
Oculus Rift support:
If an Oculus Rift is connected to the computer when NI mate is started the full skeleton head orientation is automatically replaced with the orientation data from the Oculus Rift. If the Oculus Rift wasn’t aligned correctly when NI mate was started you can reset the orientation by clicking on the Reset Oculus Rift orientation button in the Skeleton paths subtab.
Dual feed view NI
Selecting a second live feed now shows the second feed next to the first live feed in the Live view tab.
OSC Triggers NI
Triggers now support OSC messages with the format “/layername/X”, where the X is the trigger number.
This means that the triggers are now also available in the Processing tab as predefined variables.
In addition to this if the layername contains spaces the first word is taken as the name and the rest is sent as an OSC string with an appended trigger number _X. This makes it possible to for example toggle Animata layer visibility by setting the layername to
/layeralpha [Animata layer]
as long as the Animata layer name ends with an underscore and a number (_X).
New OSC command NI to set the live view alpha mode:
Active user numbering options NI
The order in which the active users are numbered can now be changed in the User tab. The available modes are:
- Order of activation (old mode)
- Distance from sensor
- Order from left to right or right to left
- Around triggers werent drawn to live feeds.
- OSC and MIDI controller tracking sometimes registered feet as hands.
- In some cases OSC messages weren’t received in NI mate correctly.
- When using multiple users the MIDI Controller message for the first user was an aftertouch message instead of a CC message.
Updated Blender plugin
In addition to all the cool things in NI mate the official Blender plugin for NI mate has been updated with some nice features:
- Include an NI mate profile as a text file inside the .blend for easy loading of correct settings every time the game engine is started.
- Support for OSC messaging back to NI mate.
- Fixed an orientation bug.
You can get the new Blender NI mate Tools v1.1 and the Oculus_Bunny.blend demo for the game engine from the NI mate Blender page.