Kinect SDK announced by Microsoft

Possibly of interest, given rumours that iClone 5 may have some sort of Kinect interface / motion-capture translator to make iMotion files from Kinect captures… the Microsofties are saying today that “they will release a Kinect for Windows SDK [Software Development Kit] this spring”. The SDK will be open to… “academics, enthusiasts”, and an “an official Windows version” of the Kinect driver hacks are on their way. Good move, Microsoft.

In a slightly less positive move, Microsoft has re-invented CrazyTalk/iClone. Yes, indeed. 3D talking head, powered by TTS. They don’t actually have their demo hooked to a Kinect, whatever lazy journalists are saying . It’s running from the basic Microsoft TTS text-to-speech system. From the video…

“there’s no reason we couldn’t connect this to a Kinect sensor… it’ll come, but this is obviously still research work”.

Perspective

Interesting industry-insider comment from the editorial of the free Perspective magazine (Dec 2011), on the role of the pre-vis artists in the animation industry…

“The major studios are at war with the [ Art Directors ] Guild right now over their right to create pre-visualizations of scenes and sets — work traditionally done by Guild members — using outside [ and usually third-world ] companies who work their employees long hours without overtime pay and give them substandard health and pension plans.”

The same issue has a fascinating long article on building a (physical) jungle temple set for Lost, which has some lessons for virtual set builders too: i) have ‘sacred’ buildings reflect in water; ii) re-use bits of old sets in new ways…

“Researching ideas in several books, I had noticed that many temples were built so that their aspect was beautifully reflected in a body of water.”

“It seemed that the huge columns and lintels from the [ soon to be scrapped ] bomb chamber [ stage set ] might actually fit into our temple with a few minor tweaks. […] By simply turning the lintels inside out, and using all the columns, we had enough to create the back and side walls of the temple […] we could use the existing pieces from previous sets to look entirely new, with very little additional work.”