Using Blender

Shadow provides support to preview, record, and import motion capture directly from Blender 3D animation software. This tutorial outlines the Blender tools and add-on included with all of our Shadow motion capture systems.

1) Open the Shadow.blend scene file. Contains an armature and location markers.

To use live preview you first need to create a Blender armature that matches the Shadow hierarchy, measurements, and naming. We provide a default scene file, Shadow.blend, in our add-on folder.

The scene contains an armature in the rest or T-pose and location markers for each bone. The markers also show the active contact points during preview.

2) Enable the Shadow add-on from the File > User Preferences panel.

Enable the Shadow add-on using the Addons tab in the User Preferences window. Filter by the Animation category.

If the Animation: Shadow entry is not shown in your list you need to manually copy our add-on files into the Blender search path. Refer to the Blender Add-Ons manual for more details.

3) Use the Shadow panel in Tools (T) to start preview, create the rest pose, and record animation sessions.

The Shadow add-on displays a panel in the Tool shelf portion on the left side of the 3D Window. You may need to collapse the Object Tools panel to see the Shadow panel.

The Shadow panel contains commands to preview and record animation. Click on the Start Preview to connect to the Motion Service and start streaming animation data into the Blender scene.

Press the ESC key to stop preview.

4) Use File > Import > BVH Motion Capture panel to import animation takes.

Use the BVH file format to import animation into Blender. The BVH contains both the armature hierarchy and animation for a single take.

We recomment the following settings for the BVH importer. Set the Forward axis to Z Forward or X Forward. Set the Scale parameter to 0.1 to convert centimeters to Blender units. Check the Scale FPS box to set keyframes at the animation frame rate stored in the BVH file.

5) Keyframed armature in T-pose (frame 1) and preview armature in same the scene.

The BVH armature is completely independent from our preview bones. After import we have two armatures in the scene.

The dense keyframes are shown as solid yellow in the Blender timeline. The keyframed armature is shown in the T-pose in first frame, which is the default export setting in the Motion software.


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