First tutorial online / NI mate on Blendernation

Janne just uploaded the first official tutorial for NI mate. This tutorial covers the basics of using NI mate for motion capture within Blender and should get you started very quickly. We have also uploaded the first set of example files which are used in the tutorial itself. You are absolutely free to make use of these as a basis for your own work. Check out the tutorial on Delicode’s official Youtube channel:

In other news, NI mate was just featured on the biggest Blender news site on the Internet: Blendernation.com. Needless to say we’re pretty excited about this and welcome all the new people wanting to try out their Kinect with Blender! As I stated on Blendernation, there will be a prize draw for all people participating in the beta, more about this on a later blog post.

PS. It also seems Bart from Blendernation doesn’t seem so enthusiastic about the Bunny’s voice, quote: “(I just wish they’d loose the sullen voice – I really can’t listen to that for long).”. If anybody knows James Earl Jones, please let me know! :-)

28 Responses to First tutorial online / NI mate on Blendernation

    • First of all thank you for trying us out!

      We talked to the Bloop guys during the Blender Conference in the autumn and it’s a cool project. It’s still someway off from being an easy thing to pick up and start using though and it also relies on the Microsoft Windows SDK – something not available for Mac OS X and Linux. We’re trying to make everything as simple to use but also as flexible as possible.

      PS. As Janne has been coding Blender for something like seven years now and I myself have been working on bringing Renderfarm.fi to the community for over four, so it was clear choice which software should receive support first. :)

  1. That work with Blender is so admirable sir, but there is something that isn’t clear at all to me, NI Mate won’t be open source?

    Is very curious but… my team and I were to 2 day to develop a simply kinect software with the Open Ni drivers:
    http://75.98.78.94/About.aspx

    are you using it?

    You are right the Bloop guys seems to be not uploading the project since 7 months, and doesn’t have a page related (just their university one), isn’t very clear their way.

    Greetings

    PD: Now I submit my beta tester register ;)

    • Yes we are building on top of OpenNI at the moment. It’s a nice driver set as it’s available for all major OS platforms.

      I’m afraid NI mate will not very likely be an open source project apart from the range of add-ons, plugins, templates and example files that we’re creating. We want to create the best affordable motion capture & sound control solution for the Kinect. It would be impossible for us to currently do this without having some plans on monetizing the software.

      Even so you don’t need to worry that we would cripple or close down features after the beta. We’re rather more interested in adding functionality that will be so good that people will want to support the further development of the software.

    • We’re just using the bulk Microsoft Kinect model meant for the Microsoft XBOX. We’re getting a Kinect for Windows (http://www.kinectforwindows.org) model soon to test with (though we don’t yet really know what are the differences in hardware if any), we also own the Asus Xtion Pro Live (http://www.asus.fi/Multimedia/Motion_Sensor/Xtion_PRO_LIVE/) that we’re looking to officially support later.

      At this moment as a user I think you’d be best off getting the regular XBOX 360 Kinect. Just make sure you get a full boxed set together with the power adapter!

  2. PS: BTW I love Big Bucks´s voice created by you! The Renderfarm.fi ad is very nice too! I guess it wasn´t Bart who entered the article.

  3. Hi Guys,

    I got all excited and ran out an got a preowned kinect sensor for $140 :)

    The NITE stick figure sample app works fine, but when I run NI mate I get the following error:

    Couldn’t initialize the Kinect interface: Find depth generator failed: Can’t create any node of requested type!

    • Hi Simon,
      on machines where there is a pre-existing OpenNI + NITE installation there’s always the possibility that the libraries will be incompatible for some reason with the ones that come with NI mate. We’re working on making sure existing libraries will work fine if found, but currently your best bet is to uninstall the existing OpenNI and NITE libraries. That way NI mate will use the library versions that come included in it’s installation and there should be no possibility of things going wrong.

  4. Help! I have my kinect plugged in and installed all the drivers, and NI Mate says ‘no kinect devise found!’ as soon as i click the icon. What do I do?

    • Would you be as kind as to send us an email to the address beta@ni-mate.com with a bit more about your computer’s configuration and operating system. Also please include any information regarding if you have previously used your Kinect with your PC. Thank you!

      • If you deleted all other kinect related installs and it still does not work after a fresh install:
        then you need to change the drivers manually after installation. When you select the drivers from a list, you will see another driver option. Change it for all Kinect components. This change made the program finally work for me (I had the same problem installing the drivers for the Making Things See tutorials)

      • Greetings:

        I just installed the Ni-mate for mac osx

        I have the kinect that came as a bundle with the xbox, and purchased the NYKO xbox 360 power adaptor. When I plugged it into my laptop the kinect has a blinking green light.

        I installed the Ni-mate and draged it into my application folder. Registered my kinect on your website and got an email with the activation key attachment.

        The activation key applied correctly.

        When I turn on I press “Evaluate in Trail Mode”

        initializing data stream shows up and at one point “starting main program” but then the error window appears and the program quits unexpectedly.

        This is the 1st time I’m connecting my kinect to laptop, so I haven’t downloaded openni or anything else related to the kinect.

        I get the error: couldn’t initialize the sensor device interface: StartGenerating failed: Failed to send a USB control request!

        After trying to restart the program a few times, now when I press it in my application folder, the ni-mate icons shows up for a few second on my dock and quits right away.

        I also tried emailing at beta@ni-mate.com but was rejected:
        “The error that the other server returned was:
        550 5.1.1 : Recipient address rejected: User unknown in virtual mailbox table”

  5. Hi there,

    First of all I’ve been really interested in a Low Budget Solution to Custom Motion Capture for my own Indy, Single Developer Game Project. I had my Eye on iPi for a while as it supported Markerless Capture, and recently Updated so that A Pair of Kinect Sensors could be used for High Precision 360 Degree Capture.

    After Seeing this I am now more interested in NI Mate.

    I have a few questions.

    ## – Is there any plans for multi-sensor input. Can I have a Sensor in the front and a sensor on the side of the recording area. and feed all that data together into blender.

    ## – As long as I make sure all my bone in blender are taken into account, I do not have to use the premade armature do I? I am using a fairly custom “Body Deform Rig” that works well with the Unreal Game Engine via UDK. I would hate to have to loose all my other hard developed “Pose Anims” as I am no Character Animator and is the reason I am so interested in this awesome tool.

    ## – As I will be using this for mainly Character Animation clips. and would the the main “Motion Actor”. I have will be getting in some fairly Extreme Body positions, Jumping, Crouching, Falling, Swimming (using a swiveling stool) Sitting, Laying down and getting back up Turning in Various directions and degrees, walking, running and the like. I worry that some of my planned captures won’t record accurately as some of my body parts may obscure the sensor and or I Will be turning to at least 180 degrees from the sensor and the like.

    ## – How big of a recording area will I be needing? A Minimum and Maximum would be nice to know. I plan on using an area that is about 20×20 Feet (Just over 6×6 Meters) I imagine my recording area would be about 5×5 or 4×4 meters however.

    I guess I’ll never really know for sure until I get myself that Kinect Sensor and give it a try. Still I would like to ask and see if you have any answer to that before i sink $100 USD into an xbox Kinect Sensor.

    Well so far I am very impressed with this and look forward to making good use of it very soon.

    ~Ninja Over and Out

    • Hi Ninjabuntu. I will try to answer your questions:

      1) We have plans to look in to multisensor input, but not in the short term (speaking of months). We first want to make the most out of what the one sensor input can offer.

      2) What you do get from NI mate are the joint coordinates, which you can use to drive your own rig. We just posted a new tutorial trying to address this question, perhaps it applies to your case as well: http://www.ni-mate.com/new-tutorial-using-an-existing-rig-in-blender/

      3) Many of the poses and actions that you mention might be very difficult to handle for our current system. The algorithm we use was originally developed for upright poses and is very stable when it sees the whole body. Unfortunately this means it might have difficulties to track when body parts are obscured or in a difficult angle to the Kinect. We might have some ideas on how to improve this (related to using multiple Kinects for input as you proposed in your first point), but until we research this a bit further there are no guarantees.

      4) That’s a very good point and I will add that to the FAQ page. The Kinect’s vision and limited resolution is pretty much the biggest obstacle for covering more area. The size of the area that the Kinect is able to track is roughly 2,5 (width) x 5 (length) meters.

      The position we will ultimately take with NI mate as a motion capture tool will depend largely on the reception we get from the different user communities once we extend outside of Blender (a community that we are initially very familiar with). The idea that we currently have is that we will offer a very competitively priced motion capture tool that might not cover all possible use cases, but will be extremely light to setup and fast to use.

      Thanks for checking out NI mate! :)

      • Thank you for your Reply,

        I saw the Video mentioned and will e checking it out. As for questions I am glad to hear it. I’ll keep a close eye on NI Mate from here on out.

        Thanks.

        ~Ninja Over and Out

  6. Hello again guys! I Would like to know if you are using the Kinect Xbox Slim model or the Kinect Xbox Arcade model, thank very much for your time Ortiz

    • Hi! So far we’ve been using the Kinect XBOX 360 model with power supply provided with it. We haven’t really checked with the newer models, but will do so as soon as possible. Anyway you will for sure need a version with the power supply with it. The Kinect for Windows device is unfortunately not working yet and might be difficult to get functioning at short notice.

  7. Hi Julius and team,

    NI mate looks like an amazing product with lots of application fields besides games. I’m a bit concerned if using Kinect as mocap device won’t be a limitation? Are there any legal issues in their EUA? When will you guys have support for Asus Xtion Pro? And my final question has to do with blender specifically, can the motions captured be used directly in blender’s game engine? Could they be saved each as a different variable and then be recognized in a realtime environment (BGE) to generate different responses?

    I’d love to beta test, but first i must decide whether I buy a kinect or an asus xtion.

    regards,
    Alvaro

  8. Hi, I just heard of this program and it sounds awesome.
    I installed it and only have 1 problem, when I start it up I get an error about “an error while receiving sensor data”.
    What am I supposed to do?
    I already reinstalled my drivers, and even reinstalled the program itself but this had no effect.
    Please answer me as soon as you possibly can.

    Chris VN.

  9. I looked through FAQ, and everything is as it should be, but when I start Ni Mate I get this error message – “Couldn’t initialize the sensor device interface: StartGenerating failed: Failed to send a USB control request!”

    What can I do so that the software will start?

    • Hi Will. No you don’t – just use the ready made plugin. The idea behind NI mate and all that we do is to enable designers, animators and just about who ever to start working with a Kinect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* *