Download and install Blender. Note that you will
also need to install Python,
and you should be careful to install the exact version that
Blender asks (if it isn't correct it will complain, and you'll
likely not be able to use any scripts). If you missed the 15
minute tutorial in class on using Blender, you may want to read
the getting started tutorial in the tutorial
archive, or search for video tutorials on youtube.
You'll also need a script to help build geometry for the
armature you will load from the bvh file. Download the python
script at this
page. Put the script in your .blender/scripts folder. The
location of this folder will vary depending on how you install
Blender. On windows, this will either be under the "Program
Files" folder or in a user folder such as "C:\Documents and
Foundation\Blender\.blender\scripts" on XP or
Foundation\Blender\.blender\scripts" on Vista. Check that the
script is loaded by running Blender, and then selecting scripts
from the button at the top left the window (the button has a tool
tip to tell you that the button lets you select the window type).
Click the scripts button that appears when you change the window
type to scripts, and verify that "Armature Modeler" appears under
the "Animation" entry. If it doesn't show up, or if other items
are empty (or if the import options are missing in the next step),
then your scripts are likely not installed correctly. Check for
errors and repeat! Put the top window back to "User Preferences"
type when you are done so you have access to the menu bar.
Now, load out.bvh using the menu "File -> Import ->
MotionCapture (.bvh)...". When you click on the "Import BVH"
button, "As Armature" will be selected. Click OK.
After loading, the armature will be selected by default.
You'll want to rotate it 90 in x so that it is walking on the x-y
plane instead of the x-z plane. Press 'n', then click the value
next to RotX and set it to 90.
Press 'numberpad-0' to see the camera view. Use the middle
mouse button to rotate out of the camera view. Use the scroll
wheel to zoom in and out. To see the animation that you loaded
you'll want to bring up the timeline: right click exactly on the
line between the perspective panel and select "split area", then
left click in the bottom panel to divide the area. Click the left
top most button in the area you created, and select timeline from
the menu. Use the left mouse button to drag in the timeline to
see the animation.
When you started Blender, the default scene included a cube
called "Cube". Use the cube to create a template bone geometry.
Select it by right clicking on it. Press n to show the transform
properties if they are not already showing. Set the scale in y to
be 3, then translate the scaled cube so that its long direction is
going down the y axis. Press 'tab' to go into edit mode, and then
set Median Y to 1.0 in the transform properties window, then press
tab again to return to object mode.
Select the armature by right clicking on it, then select
"Pose Mode" from the mode combo box (the one that was changing
between object and edit when you press tab). Press 'a' to select
all the armature bones. Now select in your scripts window
"Scripts->Animation->Armature Modeler". If you do not see the
whole interface then make the window a bit larger. Change the
bone type from "Octaedron" to "custom" and provide the name "Cube"
where it asks for OB. Feel free to follow the instructions on
Malefico's page to create different geometry, or tune the shapes
in other ways.
Create a plane for your character to walk on by selecting
from the menu Add->Mesh->Plane. Scale and position your plane by
adjusting the transform properties (press 'n' to bring them up).
Location 0,0,0 and scale 50,50,50 should work OK. You may want to
translate your original Cube below the plane so it is hidden from
Change the colour of your character by selecting the Cube
and pressing F5 to bring up the shading buttons, then select the
small red sphere to select the material buttons. Under Material,
click on the grey rectangle next to "Col" to select a different
Turn on ambient occlusion rendering by pressing the world
"World buttons" when you have the shading buttons selected.
Pressing F5 multiple times will take you there. It is the last
button on the right. Select the "Amb Occ" tab and press the
"Ambient Occlusion" button. The default settings are fine.
Change the position of the camera so you can properly see
your character throughout the animation. Select the camera by
right clicking it, press 'numberpad-0' for the camera view, 'n' to
change change its position and orientation.
Change the position of the light so you can properly see
your character. Right click the light drag it around, or set its
Press F12 to do a test render, and adjust everything as you
Press F10 to select the "Scene" button and make sure the
left most button with tooltip "Render buttons" is selected. Under
"Format" choose "AVI Codec" instead of "jpeg", select xvid, and
configure the codec for high quality. Just under file format
combo box is a FPS setting. Since the natural point system
records at 100 Hz, you should change the value to 100. In the
"Anim" tab to the left, change the step setting at the bottom to
be 10 so that you're not rendering every frame, and set the End
frame to be whatever you want as the end frame (check by scrubbing
the cursor in the timeline window). Finally, in the "Render" tab
press the "MBLUR" button and set the Bf parameter to some suitable
parameter, such as 5 (i.e., so it renders the blur over a longer
period of time). Press F12 once more for a test render to see
that everything is satisfactory for the current frame.
Finally, when you are ready, press the "ANIM" button on the
"Anim" tab to render the whole animation to disk. This will
likely take a few hours, so you might want to test with a short
sequence first and make any adjustments based on the result.