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Import C3D into Houdini. - Datsyk Mykhailo
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Import C3D into Houdini.

Import C3D into Houdini.

October 19, 2014 2:12 pm1 comment

Prehistory. I will briefly describe the project's history and why I generally decided create C3D importer in Houdini, if there is no desire and ability to read the whole text, there is a short description and a link to the tool at the bottom of the post.

Recently started work on the project, in which we had to create a system that allows to create content for TV shows, that will lead humanlike animals. We haven't worked with of character animation yet. We tried to find a ready solution. Viewed a lot of information on mathematics and mechanics of muscles on the face. In this case, it was necessary to automate the process of the data flow in the whole chain of production: from shooting(mocap and real actors) to obtain the final result.

As result, we were inspired by Gorlum from “Lord of the Rings”, Weta Digital created a system based on a clever mix of hero face different states according to math laws. We have our own studio mocap, in fact, we started to work closely with them. We've got to shoot at the same time 2 data flows: face key points position, which gave us the opportunity to create a model of the mix states, mocap data of the body and head.

We were given 2 type data from Vicon Blade (fbx with head behaviour and с3d with face points). Ours main working software is Sidefx Houdini, He worked well with fbx data, but unfortunately with c3d can't, redy-to-use solution, we did not find. On the developers site I found few Python modules, able to handle the data type. I took them as a basis for my Houdini tool.

After, we placed all data into Houdini, asset. Houdini has a huge potential not only for creating cg, but as full value system prototyping . Aseet analyzes the distances between key points of mocap data and mixes different face states with masks and math laws(such conditions we had to make 40, until we are satisfied). There is also the possibility to do change in automatic process, animating distances between points.

There were also problems with data synchronization (2-mocaps and video) we solved it and have, non-commertial yet, but working tool. There is announcement: http://postmodern.com.ua/blogs/view/33

We have working prototype and understanding of all production process, in near future we will create a tool, with best speed and quality.

Houdini tool. Here is the process of importing:


I implemented 2 import type for different tasks:

  • An array of pixels in which data is written, including the name of each marker
  • Null group node with the name of each marker


Video demonstration of the ready-to-work data:


Installation instructions and sample files are on GitHab:

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