14 Oct 2020

Yesterday, on October 13, 2020, we released an important update to our AI: version 3.1.7.

 

What you should know:

  • Impact on AI results – reduces oscillations: in terms of visible results, the improvements are subtle, but critical.  Specifically, v3.1.7 significantly reduces certain oscillations on the Y axis (the vertical axis). In previous versions, these Y axis oscillations were mostly correlated with motion that involved the actor raising the arms over the head, often from a simple standing position. In all of our tests, these specific oscillations are now significantly reduced, if not entirely gone.   
  • Footlock – preparing for an important release: the v3.1.7 update should also be seen in the context of our wider efforts to enhance our AI for a more solid planting of the skeletal animation data in relation to the floor.  Version 3.1.7 lays part of the foundation for improved footlock.  With v3.1.7 now in production, we hope to release a first major update improving footlock, coupled with an improved positioning of the root motion in world space, in 2020.     
  • Calibration – still important: even after this update, you should minimize oscillations – and secure fidelity, plausibility and aesthetics – by executing a solid calibration. Here is a reminder of the specific advice we provided on calibration cycles a short while ago.

 

Here’s how it’s being rolled out:

  • Core: Our cloud AI, available through RADiCAL Core, has already been updated to v3.1.7.
  • Studio: our RADiCAL Studio users should expect to see the (free) upgrade this week. Steam should be updating your app automatically (please check your Steam update settings).

 

Special thanks to the AI team, who have pulled another major achievement out of the hat.  

 

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As always, thanks for being a part of our community, and don’t hesitate to reach out, we are always looking for constructive feedback.

 

– Team RADiCAL

 

A quick reminder of the importance of a solid calibration to support best results. Below is some specific advice on what to do. There are smart updates in the works to make all of this easier (more detail to follow in the next few weeks).  

 

Summary (tl;dr): 

 

  • Do this: make sure the actor starts the scene, from the first frame onwards, in a T-pose facing, and in full view of, the camera, at the center of the scene (stage), with the entirety of the body visible and feet firmly planted on the floor, for 1 – 2 seconds.  
  • Don’t do this: we mean “starting” your scene with a T-pose literally. Avoid footage prior to the T-pose in which the actor prepares for the scene. This includes the actor “transitioning” into the T-pose, such as walking into the frame, standing in profile, turned away from the camera, or otherwise anything less than a solid T-pose. Trim (edit) those frames out of the video, if you can.  

 

RADiCAL Core calibration:

 

We currently accept, without warning, videos in which the actor’s presence is visible enough, but falls short of a solid T-pose. We made that decision because many of our users would prefer to have some results, rather than no results at all. However, this also means that we currently don’t warn users when their calibration wasn’t supportive of best results. 

 

Therefore, you should carefully review how your video starts: if there is a solid T-pose in the video, great. If there’s no T-pose, try to find a natural, full-body camera-facing pose that comes close to it. Either way, try to trim away (edit out) any footage that comes before it. 

 

RADiCAL Studio calibration:

 

  • Step-by-step (SbS) processing: The Studio app already comes with a mandatory five-second countdown to assist you in finding the best position before the Studio app starts recording your video for SbS processing. Make sure the actor stands in a solid T-pose by the time the Studio app has completed the countdown and starts recording.
  • Real-time (RT) processing: Because there is no five second countdown, you‘ll need a person other than the actor to hit the START button. You can also experiment with external camera integrations (to ensure a better angle and distance) or keyboards / mouse configurations (to allow for remote operation of the Studio app). 

 

 

 

We’ve released plugins to make the re-targeting process faster and easier for Blender and Unreal users.

For our Studio customers, we have deployed a dedicated FBX exporter through our website: https://getrad.co/uploader-studio.  

Note that the Studio FBX exporter will only read animation data produced by RADiCAL Studio. You need an active Studio subscription to use the Studio FBX exporter.

For more information on how it works, check out the dedicated learn section for RADiCAL Studio.

After months of innovation and tireless work by our team, the RADiCAL Studio is finally here.  It’s available through Steam here (you’ll need to sign up for a Studio product to log in). Before we get into the details, here are some quick pointers to materials we’re covering elsewhere:

 

  • Early bird pricing: We’re offering early bird pricing (>50% off) for a short time: details here.
  • Free trial: Studio comes with a free trial (no credit card required):  details here
  • Known issues: This release comes with a few known constraints and issues: details here

 

Studio brings our AI to your machine: 

 

With Studio, you are untethered from the cloud and have access to unlimited motion capture in your own home, studio or event space. At heart, the RADiCAL Studio brings our AI to your local machine. We call it step-by-step (SBS) processing.  SBS processing mimics the way we sequentially process your videos through the cloud: record video first, run the AI later.  

 

The big difference? Since this is your own workstation, we don’t have to meter your usage.  Your usage is only limited by your own time.  🙂  

 

Real time results (beta):

 

With Studio, we are also revealing our real-time functionality.  The real time feature is the product of multi-disciplinary efforts across not just deep learning, but also GPU optimization and a lot of great software engineering. It remains in beta because we still need to test and stabilize the AI’s output across a wider range of hardware configurations.

Our final objective, even with real time processing, is to achieve the fidelity, smoothness and range of motion Gen3 is capable of through the cloud.

At this time, we recommend that the real time feature is run on Windows machines with the strongest NVIDIA graphics cards (at least 1080, 1080 Ti, 2060, 2070, 2080, or 2080 Ti), although we’ve seen it do reasonably well on even smaller cards (1060 and 1070).

 

Live stream into Unreal Engine (Live Link):

 

With the right subscription, you can also use our real-time feature to stream your motion directly into a scene in Unreal Engine 4 (Unity, iClone, and Blender coming soon). For more about using UE4 LiveLink, go here (Change Log) and here (FAQs). 

Tip: if you’re a student or an indie, you may qualify for discounted pricing on LiveLink access, please get in touch.

 

Exporting your animation data:

 

Whether you use step-by-step (SbS) or real-time processing, you can export your animation data in FBX format through our website here. You can read more about how that works here (FAQs).

Tip: if you’re using the UE4 Live Link for real time streaming, your animation data can also be saved directly in UE4. 

 

Gen3.1 – new animation rig:

 

Studio also comes with Gen3.1, which features a new and improved using animation rig. The 3.1 skeleton more closely conforms to industry standards. It’s much easier to be used across modern and legacy workflows in Unity, Unreal, Blender, iClone and others.  See the details in this change log post

 

 

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As always, thanks for being a part of our community, and don’t hesitate to reach out, we are always looking for constructive criticism and feedback.

– Team RADiCAL

Studio’s real time functionality opens up exciting possibilities for previz and virtual production.  For virtual production professionals and enthusiasts, we are enabling Unreal Engine 4 LiveLink access with RADiCAL Studio. We’ve described how it works in detail here (FAQs).

We have included a sample Unreal project and instructions on setting it up with Studio.  It’s available through this Github repo.

Professional Studio subscribers will have livestream access to all engines included in their subscription.

We are also developing livestreaming capabilites for Unity, Blender, and iClone.

 

Our new Studio product is finally out. See our separate change log post for details regarding its release.

We’re now offering early bird pricing at more than 50% off. It’s only available for a short period of time, but you can lock in the low price for an entire year:

  • Producer: Early bird pricing is $32/mo. ($384/yr) – the regular price is $64/mo. ($768/yr).
  • Professional: Early bird pricing is $78/mo. ($936/yr) – the regular price is $190/mo. ($2,280/yr).

 

For a short time only: early bird pricing is expected to be available for a few weeks (until 30 September 2020). But we reserve the right to activate regular prices much earlier – our timing largely depends on how many people sign up (first come, first serve), and how fast we can release a number of small updates.

Yesterday, September 4, 2020, we released the latest update to our AI: Gen3.1. With the release of Gen3, we signaled that all areas of our product were going to improve, including our FBX output. As the versioning suggests, while this is an upgrade to 3.0, version 3.1 doesn’t imply fundamental, visible, changes in our output.  Rather, it’s the structure of our animation data that has improved.

 

Key benefits of Gen3.1: 

Gen3.1 features an updated skeleton with more joints and a new naming convention that more narrowly conforms to industry standards.  As a consequence, 3.1 improves the ingestion of our animation data across software environments, whether that’s in FBX format or as raw animation data.

In short order, we will also be releasing plugins that make the retargeting process for Blender, Unreal, and Unity even easier.

 

Transitioning from 3.0 to 3.1: 

We understand many of our users have developed pipelines in reliance on the RADiCAL skeleton having a particular structure.

To help ease the transition, we’ve made a new 3.1 t-pose available in the download section.  You can also see a diagram of the new skeleton and the naming convention below.  As you start to align your pipelines for 3.1, we can promise that we don’t expect to make structural changes to our skeleton going forward.  3.1 will be our standard for years to come.

 

New RADiCAL Samples: 

New RADiCAL Samples with free FBX downloads can be found here.

 

How to export legacy animation scenes:

If you need to export FBX animation data for legacy Gen2 or Gen3.0 results, you can do so through our website for a period of one month going forward, ie from today through early October 2020. The user experience is the same: simply hit the FBX download button on the completed scene page.  After that initial transition period, from October 2020 onwards, exporting Gen2 or Gen3.0 results to FBX will require the help of the RADiCAL support team, so you should expect it to take more time. We therefore recommend you start exporting now.

 

Special note for Blender users: 

For Blender users, please select automatic bone orientation under the armature settings when you import the FBX.

We have pushed our  solution of the FBX problem in Blender to production. All animations should be in T-pose in Edit mode now.

Please bear in mind that this is a temporary solution.  There may still be minor issues that pop up (animations may have bones with abnormal rolls).

In a few weeks, we expect to release a new skeleton that more fundamentally solves this problem with an add-on that makes re-targeting a drag and drop process for users.

The new Gen3 T-pose can be found here on our downloads page.

As always, feel free to drop us an email or book a meeting with our team.

Best

TR

Some users have reached out because they’re experiencing re-targeting issues with respect to our FBX in Blender, specifically they’re seeing some abnormal rotations in the skeleton.

We’re aware of the problem and have identified the root cause.  We’re now working on a temporary solution.  Please bear with us for the next few days while we generate a short video tutorial for the temporary fix.

You should also know that, hopefully within just a few weeks, we will release an add-on that will make re-targeting a drag drop process in Blender.

If you have specific thoughts on Blender, or these specific issues, feel free to drop us an email or book a meeting with our team.

As always, thank you!

Team RADiCAL

 

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As always, feel free to drop us an email or book a meeting with our team.