ICAM Tutorial

Tutorial by Luuk Steitner

ICAM – Icarus motion Capture to Animation: Master converter

The ICAM motion converter can be used to convert motion capture files made with Icarus and Voodoo to
Animation: Master project files.

For information, download and tutorials for Icarus visit this website.

For information, download and tutorials for Voodoo visit this website.

If you don’t have the ICAM application yet, dowload it here. (PC only)

I’ll just assume you know how to work with Icarus or Voodoo. If not please do their tutorials or read their manuals. It will save you a lot of time.
If you work with Icarus export your 3D motion capture file as Human readable txt file, if you work with Voodoo export it as a Maya Script file.

When you have done this open the ICAM program. Go to File->Import Motion Capture file… A dialog window will open and here you can select your file. It’s defaulted to import Icarus files so if you want to import a Maya Script file use the File Type combo box to set it to Maya files.
When the import is done you should see something like this:

The table shows the values for the position, rotation and focal length of the camera for each frame. Note that if you import Maya Script files the “W Rotation” column will be empty. This is because Voodoo uses Euler rotation and Icarus uses Quaternion rotation.

Now you have to export your file. Go to File->Export Animation Master Project… and choose a location and filename for your file. The “Export settings” window will show:

Here you can enter the Frames Per Second of your movie file and the “Focal Length adjustment factor”.
The focal length needs to be adjusted because A:M uses a fixed aperture height of 35mm for the cameras. It isn’t easy to calculate this precisely, so I made a gizmo which alows you to tweak it from inside A:M. We’ll get to that later so for now just enter an estimated factor or you can even set it to 1.
The last option is the “Don’t animate Focal length” check box. You can use this if you want to keyframe the focal length yourself in case you need to tweak it a lot and you don’t want to tweak 1000 keyframes. Or, of course, when your focal length was fixed.
Click Export and open the project file in Animation: Master.

I have set the choreography to Muscle Mode so you can clearly see the red dots of the Point Cloud. You need them to tweak the focal length. But first we will set the camera settings to match your movie. Select the camera in the PWS under the choreography. Set the resolution and the (pixel) aspect ratio.

Now load your movie file into A:M. In the PWS double click “images” to open the movie file or image sequence. In A:M V13.0 I have the problem that I can’t set the FPS and length of the movie file. If you can’t do that too just save your project, close it and reopen it. Now those settings must be available.

Now you need to apply the movie as a rotoscope to the camera. To do this just drag the movie file from the PWS and drop it on the Shortcut to Camera1.

Now you have to align the Point Cloud features with your movie by tweaking the focal length. If nessesary of course.
To make this easy I have made a little gizmo. You don’t have to exactly understand how it works, but I’ll try to explain it for those who want to.
The Focal length key frames are not applied to the camera. Instead I added a bone called “Focal Length Gizmo” to the Point Cloud model and applied the Focal length key frames to the transform.scale.Y parameter. This bone isn’t connected to anything, I just use it as reference. I have also created a “Focal Length Adjustment Factor” percentage pose which is connected to the Focal Length Gizmo bone transform.scale.X parameter. Next, the Focal Length of the camera is controlled by the expression “..|..|Shortcut to Point Cloud|Bones|Focal Length Gizmo.Transform.Scale.Y*100*..|..|Shortcut to Point Cloud|Bones|Focal Length Gizmo.Transform.Scale.X”

Because I made this gizmo you should not change the Focal Length setting of the camera because you will loose the keyframes if you do. If you need to change the focal length make sure the pose sliders are visible (Alt+4) and select the Point Cloud model in the PWS in the choreography. Now the pose slider “Focal Length Adjustment Factor” should be visible and you can change it to match your movie. Make sure you’re still in Muscle mode so you can see the red dots. When this is done check other frames in your movie to see if it’s still correct. If not just adjust it again with the pose slider and an other keyframe for the adjustment factor will be created. This way you don’t have to tweak every frame.

When you are done tweaking this you can start to add models to your scene. When you wan’t to get rid of the Point Cloud model just hide it in the choreography. (Click the wired cube and choose hidden). Do never delete the Point Cloud model from your scene. If you delete it the Focal length gizmo won’t work anymore and you will loose all the tweaking you have done. Just leave it hidden, it won’t slow down your renders because there are no patches in it. I you believe the model consumes too much memory because there are so many features in it then you can open the model and delete as many splines as you like, as long if you don’t touch the gizmo bone.