Wednesday, May 21, 2008

XBOX 360 controllerServer (test)

I have been looking into using an XBOX360 controller as a real-time input divide inside of Maya. I had my Alien Shark character laying around collecting dust so I thought I would use it as a test to see if I could do some real-time motion capture like animation in Maya.

I'm pretty pleased with this first test. The feedback is slooooow when I have high quality rendering on with all the bells and whistles. I think if I was going to do this for real I would need a very simple representation of my character to animate with, capture the performance and then render with a higher quality model. (Or I would need a much faster computer.)

Here are the controls that I made for this creature.

Here is a real-time screen capture of my Maya viewport, edited this in Camtasia.

Here is the second test that I created. In this test I captured the motion using just simple shading, this way I could capture the motion in real-time. Once I had the performance captured I put the quality to hi quality rendering with textures,normal maps, lights with shadows. I then playblasted that into this little movie.



yazz3d said...


How did you do that???

m3ng said...

very nice work, nick. how long did it take to rig? Are we looking at a low-rez model with a normal map?

NickZ. said...

Thanks Matt,

I think that it took me around 2 nights to rig ths guy up. The connection between the controller and the rig took about 2 hours.

We are looking at a lo res model (base cage of the displacement model) with a color, norm and spec map.

Peace - NickZ. :)

Tony Edwards said...

Been following your sculpts for a bit. Always amazing work.

This is amazing and intriguing.

Can you tell me more about the mentioned controllerserver.exe? I couldn't find anything from a search.

skinnybonez said...


NickZ. said...

tony-on the side bar of my blog(off to the right) in the art links section there are two links.

1.connect 360 to Maya.

2. Use 360 Controller on PC.

This is what I used to get up and running.

skinnybonez - thank you sir!

Anonymous said...

awesome guide! mind if i post this in the community?

NickZ. said...

titan strike,

post away! Thanks for think of me for the group!


Stitch626 said...

Dear: Nick Zuccarello,

Geeeez... I can truly see potential in this... First things First though, I have to thank you for your tutorial on how to Shrink Wrap Project a re-topo'd mesh's detail from a Subtool to another, I was getting frustrated trying the other method using the Rigging and Re-topo Tools... Anyway, This Controller thing rocks! You could potentially Keep switching the controls and get full character animation practically motion captured the way they used like 4 people controlling a robot for past filmmaking, except 4 layers of your own craft, just keep adding to it... I only have 1 question (though potentially more to come...) How did you have it set keys every frame when you were animating the controller with it?

Stitch626 said...

Ok, I'm assuming a regular wireless Xbox 360 controller won't connect to windows? and that I may have to buy a PC specific one... Not sure but I could download and install software for it from the Microsoft web site... But Generally, how do you setup a character to work with the controller once its connected with windows? I've loaded the Rocket thing from that other site, and it looks like its an expression, controlling a "Right Trigger" attribute or something that has to do with the controller server, but I'm curious about the details... Any help would be very useful, once again thanks :) And, may the Lord Jesus bless us indeed...

NickZ. said...

Stich626 - Keyframes, will have to use the Controls tab in the devices menu. Go Window>Animation Editors>Device Editor, this is where you make the connection to your controller. You will have enable an XBOX360 NON WIRELESS CONTROLLER with the app XBOX360Eng.exe (Look in my NickZ's Art Links for a direct link to this application.)Once Maya recognizes your controller you will have to map the controller functions to something in Maya. I made a null object that had an attribute for every thing on the controller, I then wrote a mel script that would connect the controller to this null object for every session.

Now to capture the motion use the Controls section in the Devices window, use the Record Feature. The more simple your scene is the easier it will be for you to capture in real time. Hope this helps.

Peace-NickZ. :)

Stitch626 said...

Thats not something they taught us in school... Animation Devices... I'm excited Thanks for the Help, you singled out the missing link, I'll keep in touch.

Conner Brown said...

Hey you have to let me know how you did that the creature looks amazing. Let me know on my Xbox 360 page just post the answer thanks.

Anonymous said...

functions good Nickz!
Just one question though, how did you enable real time shadows in maya's viewport... i could never get it to work in mine, nor do i even know where the option is located in maya's program.