Finally, I get to talk about Glycon, a cool little Unity-based tool for virtual reality motion capture.
This is a review I wanted to publish weeks ago but there were too many articles ahead of it. Now, after spending that time with the application I am even more excited to cover this mocap jewel by indie developer Chilton Webb.
Glycon is simplicity in action.
In beta, it’s nothing fancy but that’s the great thing about this program.
It doesn’t have to be fancy… it just has to work while leaving enough bread in the cupboard to eat occasionally. This is something sorely missed in many other mocap devices like suits, gloves, and multiple cameras.
As of this writing, it's also a great value at $99 for the beta which according to the website, Liberty3D, will be upped to $399 when it exits testing.
As one who has tested, owned and mutilated aforementioned suits, gloves, and cameras I can’t really convey the joy of just turning on your HMD (Vive or Rift) and taking 10 to 15 minutes of real-world time to get a few minutes of real time mocap.
Main Interface - Simplicity in Action
Oh, and let me just mention this is fairly clean motion capture instead of the jittery mess we sometimes have to deal with. POST work will be minimal, which keeps the project going instead of sucking the creativity out with mundane, repetitive cleanup.
The exported FBX files work nicely with iClone.
There was no calibration, no large work areas, no dots on the walls. Just grab the HMD, controllers and start up Glycon.
Within a few seconds, you are mocapping.
Because your HMD is already up and running, it, along with the motion controllers, provide the tracking for the upper body. Simple, easy and effective.
If you have never seen the application before, then it may take a few minutes to get started but at this stage, all instructions are onscreen for easy viewing in the mocap environment.
Now before we go any further, I need to explain the piece of the puzzle this mocap app fits into.
As an experienced animator, I can’t see this being used for many main actor motions, but I can see it being a very efficient way to get everyday motions captured. Particularly from the waist up as it depends on what seems to be an IK type skeleton to “walk.”
From my understanding, it is possible to use extra motion trackers with the Vive to enhance the full body ability but I’ve no experience with that.
I’m assuming (yes… I know what happens when you assume but it has never stopped me) this means it can track your legs or feet to some degree but that wasn’t on my radar as I have found plenty of uses for capturing mundane background actions and secondary animations that enhance scenes.
Some of you who follow my reviews can see that it fits a very important category for me… ease of use. If I don’t have to read the manual to use it or better yet there is no need for a manual, then I am one happy mocapper.
I don’t want to have to put out any more effort than necessary to get the mocap up and running. That effort is best served in other parts of the project.
Glycon VR is another tool that fits nicely into an animator’s toolbox for secondary and background animations and quite possible a few main actor actions depending on circumstances. Its interface is simple, its usage is easy and its mocap is effective. I really hope it finds a place in the animation world.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.