The idea of CAD on the cloud, i.e. modeling physically taking place on the cloud, has been a bit sidelined by not putting CAD in the web browser, but having vast computer arrays handling the heavy processsing over the web browser. Media and entertainment is going the other direction and IKinema is one company leading the way with WebAnimate, a web-based platform bringing animation and rigging to your browser and letting you keep your assets where you want them. A model for CAD to come? I think so.

IKinema WebAnimate

WebAnimate’s built-in toolset allows users to fashion rigs, manipulate bones, retarget/ customize motion capture data and animation all in the span of a few minutes. With this program, independent studios and individuals working on games, films, and mobile projects can now realize realistic and believable animation at a price they can afford. Free.

Here are the current features:

  • Works with the following file formats – Import – BVH, FBX, C3D. Export – FBX, OBJ, Collada.
  • The first version will support only retargeting and customization of mocap and animation. Generic rigging and marker solving will be supported in later versions, scheduled for early 2012.
  • Does not save any assets on IKinema servers. Scenes, animations and assets can be stored on a shared drive, local drive, Dropbox or any storage location selected by the user of WebAnimate.
  • Is a tool in the browser for general retargeting to a rig for customization of mocap and animation rework.
  • Will be available for free for an initial period until all features are in place. Later, we plan to introduce a pay per use model. In all cases the tool will be always FREE to play with and animate.
  • Uses Trinigy WebVision game engine, so you will be able to load and test the animation directly in your environment.

The idea is for this to be a fully functional collaboration tool for general rigging, retargeting and animation platform which interfaces with other MoCap (motion capture) and rigging/animation tools. Here are the things to come…

  • General rigging and animation for humans and fantasy characters
  • Options to load C3D and solve/retarget in WebAnimate from C3D data directly
  • Support of different animation curves
  • Visualisation of the animation keys/curves in the viewport
  • Ability to group controls, select multiple controls etc.
  • Ability to parent one mesh to a selected object/control
  • Ability to keyframe other solver parameters
  • Better support of animation layers
  • Work on scene in a team, i.e. user A shares the screen with user B and both users modify and work simultaneously on the same scene
  • Import from Vicon, Kinect, MVN and other motion capture sysyems directly in WebAnimate with real-time retargeting and marker solving
  • Options to build rigs and import from other formats
  • Auto solving, for example feet on ground, arms on a plane, etc.

Some additional video tutorials are here:
WebAnimate – Retargeting setup
WebAnimate – Rigging and Retargeting

Author

Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.