1. Install and Configure

Download KinectToPin and/or sample project data from GitHub.

Installation instructions are here.

If you want to specify output settings for the application, the features page explains your configuration options.


2. Plug in your Kinect and Launch the KinectToPin Application

If you have an audio file (wav/mp3/aff) you want to reference while recording, drop it in the “dialogue” folder in the directory where you installed KinectToPin before you launch the application. The XML file you generate will note the reference clip’s filename, which can help identify the track data at a later point.


3. Scene Setup

Press the “cam” button to set up your scene. Position the Kinect so that it can see your full body (including your feet!) — otherwise it tends to get very confused. Once your Kinect is positioned properly, stand where it can see you and raise your arms in “cactus pose” to calibrate and begin tracking your skeleton. Your skeleton will appear as blue lines in cam mode.


4. Record a Track

It’s time to start recording. Leave cam mode, then click “rec” to record. Move far enough back from the Kinect that it can see your head and feet, and if you’re properly calibrated it will start recording your motion.  You still have to face the Kinect to capture, but you can reposition everything later.

Motion Capture Tips:

There are actually two record modes, SimpleOpenNI and OSCeleton. SimpleOpenNI (the red “rec” button) will give you much better results.

If you have a standard presentation remote, it makes recording yourself a lot easier. The top button (page down) will start and stop cam mode, and the bottom button (page up) will start and stop recording.


5. Create Template Comp in AE

Create a template — 2D or 3D — via the KinectToPin After Effects UI panel. This feature creates a new comp containing a layer for the mocap data to live on, a set of control nulls for you to connect your character to, and, if you’re using the 3d version, it creates a camera for adjusting the angle and position of your puppet. It also adds all the relevant smoothing, scaling and layer space transformation expressions automatically.


6. Import Motion Track

Click “Import 2D MoCap Data” for a 2D comp or “Import 3D MoCap Data” for a 3D comp to import the XML file of your track from KinectToPin’s “data/savexml” folder. The automatic XML import currently works best for short tracks (it’s really slow), so if you’re recording for longer stretches of time you should export a text file of copy/pasteable point control keyframes from the KinectToPin application (via the “save” button) instead.


7. Import or Create Your Character Layers

Import or create your character layers. Make sure they’re nice and high-res. If you use shape layers, make sure to precompose those before you rig. Important note: character layers in the 3D template shouldn’t actually be 3D layers.


8. Add and Label Puppet Pins

Add puppet pins to your character layers and rename them to match the control nulls they refer to.


9. Click “Rig Puppet Layers.”

Don’t worry if things look a bit wonky at first. Select all the character layers and scale them down to fit.


10. Label the Head, Hand and Foot Layers.

Label the head, hand and foot layers in the same format as the control nulls, but with “_layer” at the end: e.g. “r_hand_layer” or “head_layer”.


11. Connect Head, Hands and Feet to Control Nulls.

Adjust the anchor points of the layers to the correct position and click “Rig Head, Hands + Feet.”  These layers will rotate automatically, but you can keyframe custom rotation on top of that.


12. Scale and Position your Character

Tweak your character layer scale settings until things look proportional. If you’re using the 3D setup, adjust the camera to position your character. If you’re using the 2D setup, move the control nulls as a group.


13. Tweak Pin Position

If you need to reposition a source pin to better fit the shape of your character, move its control null. Any adjustments you make will be maintained — even if you replace the motion track entirely.


And that’s about it! Your character should be ready to go. Let us know in the comments below if anything’s confusing or seems incorrect.