Singapore-based startup Pixcap has launched PixCap, a new online platform that enables animators and game developers to create 3D character animation in a standard web browser.
Use of PixCap’s keyframe editing tools is free, with users also able to buy credits to use the platform’s AI-trained motion-capture system to generate animations from still images or videos.
Users can export animation to other DCC applications in FBX or glTF format, with subscribers also able to publish animations to the web, or export them as rendered videos.
A streamlined browser-based tool for creating keyframe or mocap-based character animation
Aimed at indie game developers and AR and VR content creators as well as specialist animators, PixCap lets users to animate 3D characters inside a standard web browser.
Although Pixcap tells us that it is possible to create keyframe animation from scratch – the platform includes a basic range of animation features, including a timeline, graph editor, and support for animation layers – PixCap’s key selling point is its built-in AI-trained markerless motion-capture system.
Users can either extract full-body motion from source videos, and retarget it to any humanoid 3D character, or extract key poses for a character from still images.
According to the online FAQs, this workflow saves “80-90%” of the time that would normally be spent blocking out an animation.
Once generated, animations can be exported to other DCC applications or game engines like Unity in FBX or glTF format, rendered out to video, or published online, with PixCap generating a shareable URL.
You can get a feel for the platform’s capabilities from this sample online project.
Other planned features include an auto-rigging system, making it possible to use PixCap with unrigged humanoid or quadruped models, and a library of readymade animations. Both are due in “early 2022”
Pricing and system requirements
PixCap runs in most modern web browsers: the developers recommend Chrome, Edge, Safari or Firefox. It requires a constant internet connection, although an offline mode is planned in future.
Hardware requirements are relatively minimal: a “fast CPU” is recommended, but PixCap can run on systems with integrated graphics, like netbooks, although the UI is not designed for mobile devices.
Use of the PixCap editor is free, with users able to export animation in glTF and FBX format, although exported videos and animations published to the web are watermarked on free accounts.
Instead, users pay for AI credits for use with the motion-capture system, with one credit paying for a single image capture or one second of video capture.
Free subscriptions provide 30 credits/month. Professional subscriptions provide 200 credits/month and cost $20/month or $180/year; Studio subscriptions provide 600 credits/month and cost $45/month or $400/year.
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