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Mirai: Animation


Building Motion

The high level of integration between Mirai's animation tools is the key to its power. True 3D IK and biomechanical motion editing are complemented by the most comprehensive channel-based non-linear animation interface commercially available. That lets you "build" motions like a 2D artist would build an image, in layers. And just like with paint systems, the ability to work in layers gives you higher quality results with less hassle. It's a major step forward from traditional keyframing.

After pinning a skeleton's toes you can select and IK move any joint through the root. Here we see our customizable animation interface with "onion-skinning" enabled to show a character's motion path.

Revolutionary 3D Inverse Kinematics

Mirai makes skeletal IK animation viable and easy with minimal setup time and extremely accurate IK solutions. With Mirai, IK movements feel so natural, it's like working with a well weighted stop-motion puppet. IK algorithms (quaternion based) automatically enable movement through the skeleton root. So now you can create a default skeleton and select the toe joints, create attached pin objects and the skeleton is instantly enabled for keyframing natural human motions. Pin and glue constraints work wherever they are positioned so there's no need to set and reset the ground plane. And, any number of joints can be IK moved at the same time, even on multiple skeletons.

IK accuracy is exceptionally reliable because quaternion solutions remove the need for rotation orders and improve accuracy when moving interactively. Automatic damping, controlled by easily adjustable numeric settings, lets you fine-tune each skeleton to achieve the natural motion effect you want.

True Skeleton Objects

Mirai skeletons are not simply constraint representations, but actual objects whose joints, bones and body can be directly manipulated and edited. Because a skeleton is an object, poses can be saved directly on the skeleton rather than in a keyframe channel, making them reusable in any animation, and separating motion from time.

Since states can be derived from keyframe or motion capture data, interesting positions can be embedded into the topology and even broken down to the most finite element. Then, motions can be rebuilt by combining skeletal states into keyframes. States become building blocks for creating and refining motions.

Skeletal Modeling

Mirai's advanced skeletal data structure allows skeleton topologies to be manipulated and joined in ways that were previously impossible. You can build custom skeletons or modify default skeletons using familiar modeling operations­then use automatic IK movement to help position bones as they are built. Elements of a skeleton can be disconnected from their respective structures and joined with another skeleton without invalidating the IK capabilities or states. For example, if you copy a hand from one skeleton to another, any poses that were available for the hand on the first skeleton will be instantly available on the new topology.

Completely Integrated Biomechanical Motion Editing

Now animation sequences, whether keyframed or motion captured, can function as animation building blocks. Mirai's motion editing system makes it possible to quickly transition, scale and loop motions. Calculated based on the study of actual human movement, editing operations are highly accurate and natural. Artists caninstantly blend motions, create loops from any sequence and scale motions between different sized skeletons. Import and export a variety of industry standard motion capture formats. Motion mapping allows disparate motions to be mapped to a Mirai skeleton for editing, allowing facilities to utilize existing motion capture libraries more effectively.

A Higher Degree of Control

Mirai's channel-based editing makes it possible to layer artist defined poses over motion sequences to influence sections of animation. Or, motions for different parts of a skeleton can be broken into separate channels. For example, you can control the upper body in one channel and the lower body in another. The ability to activate and deactivate any channel makes this type of procedural animation more feasible­and makes changes to the animation completely recursive.