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greekphysics
08-20-2018, 10:11 PM
I've been dancing with Xbox Kinect for the past 1.5 years, but started dancing to the PS4 camera 3 weeks ago. Maybe my feedback will be helpful (or maybe not), but I also have one suggestion for Ubisoft.

Much of my time was spent trying different camera heights, different distances between my stage and the camera, different lighting conditions, different backgrounds, different clothing, etc. The outline of your body that you see on PS4 has some obvious technical problems compared to the similar outline of your body that you see with Xbox Kinect. It's not only rougher and less stable, but it's prone to developing very large bulges from even slight secondary shadows (especially vertical shadows behind you, but even horizontal shadows on the floor, making it look like you have a huge blob where your leg should be). With Xbox Kinect, you can pretty much plug and play, and it can seemingly distinguish between dancers and shadows. Anyway, I played around with both overhead and side lighting and have been able to virtually eliminate shadows from my stage, which wasn't easy to do. This seems to have helped.

Another problem with PS4 is that it's more apt to show "holes" in your body (like your chest or side) on the outline image. Occasionally, these can be removed by wiping the camera lens with the proper cloth, but often not. If I put my hand over the "spot" and it goes away, I know that the problem is with me, not the camera. I've been able to eliminate occurrences of these holes for the most part by wearing attire that fits more smoothly (if you put on a very thick belt under your shirt and the shirt shows the shape of that belt clearly, it's more of a problem, for example), but I also found that some clothes develop sweat spots or reflect light more than other clothes. Again, Xbox doesn't seem to care what I wear (though it's ideal to wear clothing that makes it easy for the sensor to see that your leg and full-body positions are correct).

The worst problem is when the camera suddenly no longer recognizes you, and you take a golden X on every move until it realizes that you're in the room dancing (which sometimes never happens). When this happens, I immediately close the game and add new facial recognition data (without deleting the old data) so it can see me the way I looked when the camera decided it no longer knew who I was. It's crazy when you can see your own outline image just fine and it still pretends you're not there, but in the more extreme cases you've developed a shadow bulge or hole in your outline picture. When I added lights to eliminate shadows from my stage, it helped to reduce this problem with recognition.

What's frustrating is that the outline image degrades over time. I try not to pick up a towel or sit on furniture in the camera's view (since I learned that those activities can confuse the camera). But no matter what, the quality of the outline degrades after a few dances. The cure is to close the application and restart it.

So here's the thing. If closing the Just Dance game refreshes the quality of the outline, why doesn't the game automatically do this at the beginning of every dance? It seems like the camera keeps tracking you even after the song has ended, and this seems to make the outline quality degrade over time. Why not start each dance looking for the dancer as if for the first time, or whatever it is that solves the problem when you close the app? It seems like this problem could be solved by Ubisoft's developers... This is my suggestion for Ubisoft: Have the game refresh the quality of the outline at the beginning of each dance, as if you had closed the game and restarted. With the JDWC, you have to dance to 6 songs in a row and pray to the Just Dance gods that the camera can see clearly who you are for all 6 dances. (A short intermission between two sets of 3 dances may have helped: At least, you could close the software and jump back in during the intermission to refresh the camera. Again, it's shame it doesn't automatically do this between the dances.)

However, for the most part, I think most of the scoring issues aren't to be blamed on technical problems with the PS4 camera. Naively, I expected the PS4 camera to work much like the Xbox Kinect sensor, but there seem to be significant differences. For example, I hit 12,900 on the alternate version of Dharma on my first try, whereas I had never hit higher than 12,600s with Xbox Kinect. Similarly, I hit a new high score on the alternate version of Another One Bites the Dust on my third attempt with PS4. On the other hand, many dances seem to be more demanding in various ways on PS4 than they are with Xbox Kinect.

It seems like the PS4 camera and Xbox Kinect sensor aren't looking for exactly the same criteria on every move of every dance, or at least don't score every move equally. That's interesting. Of course, I have much more experience with Xbox Kinect, so maybe my opinions will change somewhat as I gain experience with PS4.

When I don't hit perfect on a move where I normally hit perfect with Xbox Kinect, either I can tell that I am a little bit off, or I take a look at video and see a way to improve my technique, and much of the time it helps to hit that move better. This is why I think that most of the scoring issues aren't actually related to technical problems with the PS4 camera. There are many times where you take a golden X because the camera sees you make an actual mistake. When you don't realize that you're making a mistake (or based on your experience with another platform, you believe you're doing the dance "right"), those X's can make you suspect the "tracking" or technical issues, but it might just be that the platform works differently than you expect or is more demanding in some way for that particular move. (Though if you see a shadow bulge or hole in your outline during the problem move, then it may be a technical problem.)

Here's another interesting thing. In the JDWC qualifiers, in Week 1 I used Xbox Kinect, hit 78,334, saw myself ranked 33 on the console, and my adjusted score was 2,234,822 (which after the adjustments were made, put me 230th overall after week 4). My body was fresh in Week 1, I had rehearsed every dance well, I felt great about my dances and my overall score was pushing the limits of what I expected.

In Week 5 I used the PS4 camera, hit 76,002 (over 2000 points lower than with Xbox), and yet my adjusted score actually improved a little bit up to 2,304,900. I made a big mistake and actually missed the first gold move, I felt that I was a bit off with my dances, and I wasn't pleased with my performance. I was also no longer fresh, as I had been dancing much more than usual in my effort to unlock all of the dances from the stingy gift machine. Plus I seriously lack experience with PS4, and once I gain that valuable experience, I will surely raise my scores significantly. Anyway, I was disappointed with my dancing on PS4, yet my adjusted score was higher than when I had felt like I danced much better with Xbox Kinect.

It seems strange that dancing just 3 weeks to a different platform my adjusted score came out higher than with a platform that I had spent over a year trying to master. Maybe it just means that PS4 rewards my strengths more, or that my dancing style is better-suited to PS4. If so, I wish I had spent several months instead of just 3 weeks learning Just Dance 2018 with PS4. Though on the brighter side, I have a whole year to master Just Dance 2019 on PS4. I plan to spend time on multiple platforms learning the dances for 2019, and not feel tied to just one platform. I'm still most fond of Xbox Kinect, but the other platforms are growing on me (I've now tried all 4).

I didn't mean this as a complaint of sorts (and apologize if it came out that way). Feedback can sometimes be helpful,so I've shared some (again). I really do love Just Dance, I had fun exploring all 4 platforms, the JDWC experience is amazing no matter which platform you're competing from, and I appreciate that Ubisoft adjusted the Xbox scores after the first couple of rounds. Looking at the leaderboard in the United States for example, I see that after the adjustment the top Xbox dancers have moved into position to qualify for the National Final, so the scoring appears to be quite fair. There are incredible dancers on every platform. No matter which platform I'm using, I see other scores and think, Wow, I wish I could do that. It's a great motivator, knowing that other players have mastered what seem to be difficult dances. One more week of avid dancing, and then I can hibernate and recover...

I must be one of the best customers for Just Dance, now that I'm buying 4 copies of the game each year (one for Xbox, PS4, Switch, and Wii U). If I want to have Just Dance Unlimited on all 4 platforms, do I really need to buy 4 subscriptions? That seems crazy. It's not like I'm going to dance 4 times as much just because I buy the game for 4 different platforms. It would be nice if after logging into my Ubisoft account, it would automatically recognize and honor my Unlimited subscription from another platform. Maybe we'll get the 90 days free again this year? Then I would have a few months to decide if I really want Unlimited on every platform...

Ubi-Lucipus
08-23-2018, 11:25 AM
Hi, sorry for the late reply! :o


I've been dancing with Xbox Kinect for the past 1.5 years, but started dancing to the PS4 camera 3 weeks ago. Maybe my feedback will be helpful (or maybe not), but I also have one suggestion for Ubisoft.

Thank you for being part of the Just Dance experience for that long, and all feedback is much appreciated!



So here's the thing. If closing the Just Dance game refreshes the quality of the outline, why doesn't the game automatically do this at the beginning of every dance? It seems like the camera keeps tracking you even after the song has ended, and this seems to make the outline quality degrade over time. Why not start each dance looking for the dancer as if for the first time, or whatever it is that solves the problem when you close the app?

Thank you for suggesting the refresh of the looking for dancers at the beginning of each dance. :o This might be a good feature but would you not feel it ruins the immersion of the dancing, especially if you're doing a sweat playlist, you wouldn't want to stop to get registered/scanned again? :confused:

We have an amazing post by one of our members that shows how the best Set Up (https://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1543743-The-PS4-PS-Camera-guide-Forums) for the PS4 Camera; which can help improve the issues you're experiencing.

However, should the issues become too impairing on your experience, please contact our Support (https://support.ubi.com/).



I didn't mean this as a complaint of sorts (and apologize if it came out that way). Feedback can sometimes be helpful,so I've shared some (again). I really do love Just Dance, I had fun exploring all 4 platforms, the JDWC experience is amazing no matter which platform you're competing from, and I appreciate that Ubisoft adjusted the Xbox scores after the first couple of rounds. Looking at the leaderboard in the United States for example, I see that after the adjustment the top Xbox dancers have moved into position to qualify for the National Final, so the scoring appears to be quite fair. There are incredible dancers on every platform. No matter which platform I'm using, I see other scores and think, Wow, I wish I could do that. It's a great motivator, knowing that other players have mastered what seem to be difficult dances. One more week of avid dancing, and then I can hibernate and recover...

It's so great to hear that you are passionate about Just Dance, and your feedback is very important to us :o The more you dance the better you get, I find that I can now move better to a dance I wasn't very confident with a few weeks ago. Keep Just Dancing and soon your scores will be just as high!


I must be one of the best customers for Just Dance, now that I'm buying 4 copies of the game each year (one for Xbox, PS4, Switch, and Wii U). If I want to have Just Dance Unlimited on all 4 platforms, do I really need to buy 4 subscriptions? That seems crazy. It's not like I'm going to dance 4 times as much just because I buy the game for 4 different platforms. It would be nice if after logging into my Ubisoft account, it would automatically recognize and honor my Unlimited subscription from another platform. Maybe we'll get the 90 days free again this year? Then I would have a few months to decide if I really want Unlimited on every platform...

It's so great to hear that you are passionate about Just Dance, and your feedback is very important to us :o The more you dance the better you get, I find that I can now move better to a dance I wasn't very confident with a few weeks ago. Keep Just Dancing and soon your scores will be just as high!

greekphysics
08-23-2018, 03:07 PM
Thank you for suggesting the refresh of the looking for dancers at the beginning of each dance. This might be a good feature but would you not feel it ruins the immersion of the dancing, especially if you're doing a sweat playlist, you wouldn't want to stop to get registered/scanned again?
That's a good question. I guess it depends on how long it takes. As it is, we already stand in front of the camera for about 10 seconds to choose our dancer (even for a solo) and get registered. I figured the refresh process would only take a split second or so, but I suppose it depends on how it works from the technical side.

On the other hand, it could easily be programmed to refresh in certain circumstances, but not others, so that it wouldn't automatically refresh during a Sweat playlist (if it isn't able to refresh fast enough). As it is currently, we can't even see our scores during a playlist, so it's not as important for the outline to refresh during Sweat mode. (Though it sure would be nice to see our scores.)

The more you dance the better you get, I find that I can now move better to a dance I wasn't very confident with a few weeks ago. Keep Just Dancing and soon your scores will be just as high!
That's probably it: I just need several more months of experience with the PS4 camera to build up my progression of improvement. I look forward to dancing to both PS4 and Xbox with JD2019 so that I can compare the two experiences alongside one another.

Thank you for your thorough reply. I really appreciate it. :) And thank you for the link to Warfutt's great post.

Ubi-Lucipus
08-23-2018, 05:16 PM
Thank you for your thorough reply. I really appreciate it. :) And thank you for the link to Warfutt's great post.

Of course, we're incredibly grateful for all of the feedback and suggestions we get from our Just Dancers.

I think it's a good point to forward to the team so thank you again for taking the time to write to us. :o

greekphysics
08-30-2018, 02:15 AM
I think I finally figured out how to optimize everything for the PS4 camera. At least, I'm pretty close. After my latest round of alterations, I danced to some songs that have been causing me troubles and inconsistencies, and both the scoring and the small body-outline image at the top provided a much better experience (more like what I'm used to experiencing with Xbox Kinect).

For a month, I have experimented with camera height, camera position, camera angle, number of lightbulbs, positions of various lightbulbs, background color, flooring options, clothing colors, clothing fabric styles, and distance between myself and the camera. It's surprising how sensitive the PS4 camera is to most of these variables. That's why it's taken me a month to more or less get it right. I wish I had figured it out a week sooner to better prepare for the last session of the JDWC, but at least I have another year to prepare for JDWC 2020.

One major problem is that if you take a score of X on a move, you can't tell right away whether you earned an X because the body-outline image is distorted, the camera just isn't picking you up (or isn't getting you properly, or isn't getting all of you), or if you actually made a little mistake. Unfortunately, there are a few moves in the game on various dances where you can take an X over what turns out to seem like a rather small detail. Between Xbox Kinect and Sony's PS4, I've seen moves where you take an X for not moving toward the t.v. slightly, your feet or legs aren't quite close enough together, you didn't move your head enough, and there is one devilish move in Funky Town where if you move your lower body even the slightest bit you'll take an X no matter how well your hands are synchronized with the coach. Anyway, that was my experience (and those "corrections" finally earned me scores of Perfect). These are the wild and crazy scoring issues which I'm speaking of. Fortunately, most of the time if you take an X, you're making a serious mistake (like moving the wrong body part, or your timing is significantly off). Those occasional moves where the punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime make it difficult to tell whether you're having technical difficulties or if you're really making a mistake. A seemingly small mistake should earn a score of Super, not an X. On the other hand, you can probably make it a little harder in some way to hit perfect instead of Super, at least for Xbox One, since too many players are hitting 13,000's too often with Xbox Kinect. (If you could figure out how to get all of the songs equally different across all the platforms, that would provide the optimal cross-network experience for everyone. But good luck with that, I can see some of the challenges.)

Anyway, back to my PS4 issues. The main challenges of properly setting up the PS4 camera are:
(1) Even slight wall shadows and also floor shadows often confuse the camera, distorting your outline image.
(2) You need "enough" bright light shining towards your face, ideally from behind the t.v. You need this both for facial recognition and for the camera to track you properly.
(3) It's really hard to achieve both (1) and (2) at the same time. Light projecting onto your face causes shadows. Ugh!
(4) It seems that colors do matter to some extent. (More on this later.)
(5) You're also trying to optimize the height and angle of the camera, and the distance between the camera and you.

Here is how I've solved the problem so far (Warfutt's post helped a lot, plus some information that I found on the web, including a chart from Ubisoft with a few recommendations):
(1) First of all, my room has 16 feet from wall to wall. I put the t.v. close to one wall. There is a ceiling light with 4 lightbulbs overhead. Unfortunately, the t.v. is off-center compared to the ceiling light the way my furniture is setup. If I dance like this, I get a shadow running diagonally back and to the right from the camera's point of view. Part of this shadow appears on the wall behind me, which is another problem. Unfortunately, those 4 lightbulbs, even though they are not far from me, but are between me and the camera, don't light up my face enough for the camera's satisfaction.
(2) I purchased a set of three photography lights on tripods with adjustable heights (up to about 7 feet). I got these for a great price on Amazon (cheaper than the camera was). It took me a few weeks of trial and error to find the optimal way to arrange these three lights.
(3) I put one light behind the t.v. (and also behind the camera), but not centered behind the t.v. I put it off to the side, opposite from my ceiling lights, in order to help fight the shadow that the ceiling lights caused. I raised this light as tall as I could (7 feet) so that it will help to fight the floor shadow better. This light is also needed to provide more light to my face and the front of my body.
(4) I put a second light in the back corner of the room, on the same side of the room as the light that I mentioned in Step 3 (except it's on the wall opposite to the t.v. over where I dance). This light helps with the shadows that form behind me. Back and side lights cause their own issue though. I raised this light to its maximum height (7 feet), and then in order that the camera wouldn't see this bright light in its field of view, I found a creative way to block it from the camera. I found tall lamp that I wasn't using and put a large empty box over it and it blocks the camera from this light perfectly (this lamp that I mentioned isn't plugged in or on, it's just there to hold the box). This second light is behind me, between my back wall and me when I dance, off to the side (in the corner), opposite to the ceiling lights.
(5) Since there was still a shadow, I put the third photography light by the wall where the second light is, except that I have this third light very low to the floor, and it's even where I stand to dance (not behind me). I put a couple of large boxes in front of it to block its light from reaching the camera. Fortunately, these side lights are far enough to the side so as not to interfere with my dancing (just barely though). It turned out to be lucky that my ceiling lights weren't centered with the t.v., since I don't need additional side lighting on the other side. (Remember, my ceiling lights caused a diagonal shadow, partly going to the right from the camera's point of view. All three photography lights are on the right side of the room from the camera's point of view: one behind the t.v., one in the back corner, and a low-to-the-floor light even with my dancing distance.)
(6) I currently have the camera sitting on a tripod behind the t.v., as level as I could get it, and as straight as I could align it (I took my time with alignment, and used a few tools to make it precise). I'm not positive I have the height optimized. Everything from half my height to my shoulders seems to work roughly okay. Maybe as I get more experienced I will discover that one height really does work best. (When I had it half my height, I had the camera in front of the t.v. instead of behind it, but unfortunately for me that blocks the screen a bit from my view. Now I have it just above the t.v. but behind the t.v.)
(7) I've had the best luck setting up a black background screen and dancing in very bright clothes. Initially, I thought dancing with dark clothes on a light wall should work just as well, but for me that hasn't been the case. My black background screen is 10 feet x 10 feet, but I actually had to add a few feet to one side because the choreographies were pushing past the edge of my screen when I did them as intended and the camera did some funny things when I walked across the edge of it. (There are affordable ways to create a dark background, like just hanging a cheap lightweight blanket or curtains. If you need more than one fabric, try to make the edges where they join as seamless as possible.)
(8) I wear long sleeve shirts with bright colors like neon green or orange. Dancing with sleeves isn't ideal, but the bright colors on my arms seem to help a bit. It's hard to find men's pants in bright colors, so mostly I'm wearing white right now. I found some bright orange socks and even a neon green hat. I wouldn't dare go outside like this, but the camera seems to like the bright colors against the dark background better (provided that you have enough bright light shining on the front of your body and face, and also provided that you have almost completely eliminated the shadows that the front and above lighting cause, and too much stray outdoor light coming in through a lot of windows can also be an issue). The pants should taper to your ankles, and your clothing should help the camera properly pick up your leg angles, arm angles, and posture correctly. Baggy pants don't do this well.
(9) Too much outdoor light coming in during the day can also be a problem. I discovered this when I tried switching rooms, as my problems became much worse instead of better (at one point my body-outline turned into an enormous bright rectangle practically filling the screen). Of course, too little light is a huge problem, too.
(10) I like to dance 10 feet from the camera. I can go back to 12 feet or up to 8 feet for choreographies that have front-back motion. I have the camera angle adjusted so that my feet are always safely in view even in the extreme front/back positions and that if I stretch my arms up and jump my hands will still be in view. I actually had to turn my ceiling fan blades slightly out of the way because even that shadow was causing problems (and my fan is off, otherwise the motion of that shadow is a problem).
(11) I'm dancing on a dark mat instead of the light carpet.
(12) The main thing is to move your full body (everything from head to toe) exactly in sync with the coach because even the slightest mistake can give you a low score (even an X in some cases). Even if the tracking and camera are working perfectly, if you make a mistake (in your technique, timing, arm speed, coordination between leg and arm, or synchronization, for example) you're not going to hit a perfect. It takes time to learn the dances properly. You might "think" you're doing the move perfectly, but the camera may see something you don't realize. If you're consistently hitting X or OK on the same move, study video of the dance, practice the move in front of a mirror, and try making a video of your dance to compare with the coach. Most likely, there is a mistake you just didn't realize you were making (in some cases, where it's rather subtle, it's sort of like playing Where's Waldo do figure out what you're doing wrong). If you're experienced with Xbox Kinect and are moving to PS4, beware that some moves might not be scored the same way, and you might be making little mistakes that PS4 is flagging which Xbox didn't seem to flag. (On the other hand, Xbox Kinect may flag some things that PS4 didn't seem to flag. The two platforms don't seem to score every dance exactly the same way. For example, Another One Bites the Dust Stunt version and Dharma Fight version seem to be much easier with the PS4 camera, whereas some dances seem to be much easier on Xbox Kinect. Of course, if you can do the dance truly perfectly, it won't matter.)

Maybe this seems like overkill. Maybe a few of these things are more psychological and don't matter as much they seem to (if at all). But it's important to develop confidence when you're dancing so you can focus more on which move is coming next and how to do it, and aren't distracted by whether or not the camera is picking you up properly. With Xbox, most of these things don't seem to matter: I can dance in quite a variety of conditions and it tracks me extremely well (when I receive an X, OK, or good with Kinect, I know from experience that I must be making a little mistake, and once I figure out what that is, I'll finally hit super or perfect instead). I hope to reach that level of confidence with the PS4 camera. I finally seem to be getting there, and I finally seem to have my room optimized for the camera. (It would be nice if Sony and Ubisoft could develop a camera experience that's much more plug-and-play like Xbox Kinect. I'm sure this has been a popular demand from players who have tried PS4... It seems to be much more challenging than necessary to get the lighting and shadow issues "right.")

Ubi-Lucipus
08-30-2018, 04:19 PM
I think I finally figured out how to optimize everything for the PS4 camera. At least, I'm pretty close. After my latest round of alterations, I danced to some songs that have been causing me troubles and inconsistencies, and both the scoring and the small body-outline image at the top provided a much better experience (more like what I'm used to experiencing with Xbox Kinect).

I am really glad to hear that you have worked around a lot of things to make sure you have opitimized your settings, this makes for an amazing experience especially tailored for you. :)



Anyway, back to my PS4 issues. The main challenges of properly setting up the PS4 camera are:
(1) Even slight wall shadows and also floor shadows often confuse the camera, distorting your outline image.
(2) You need "enough" bright light shining towards your face, ideally from behind the t.v. You need this both for facial recognition and for the camera to track you properly.
(3) It's really hard to achieve both (1) and (2) at the same time. Light projecting onto your face causes shadows. Ugh!
(4) It seems that colors do matter to some extent. (More on this later.)
(5) You're also trying to optimize the height and angle of the camera, and the distance between the camera and you.

(Warfutt's post helped a lot, plus some information that I found on the web, including a chart from Ubisoft with a few recommendations)


I think that post is incredibly helpful and I am glad it provided some good pointers for you as well!

All of your points are incredible and again we appreciate that you're taking the time to help out the community by sharing your experiences with this :o

greekphysics
09-09-2018, 02:15 AM
It turns out that the PS4 camera is much better than I had at first thought. Once I solved my lighting, clothing, and background issues (I've actually simplified and improved my setup since my last post), my experience has started to more closely resemble my experience with Xbox Kinect. I even figured out how to do the Chantaje seated dance without the PS4 camera picking up parts of the chair and hit a score very close to what I do with Kinect. Does the JD game come with a piece of paper highlighting a few helpful tips for getting a better experience with the PS4 camera? (If it did, I didn't notice it,) Though some players buy the digital version and wouldn't find the paper. Maybe a spot on the options menu could offer camera tips. With the wrong lighting and room conditions, the camera could cause frustration, but when the setup is right, it rewards proper technique much like Xbox Kinect, so maybe offering a few tips with future versions of the game would be helpful.

Speaking of options, it would be nice if the options menu included an option to show scores at the end of each dance with sweat mode. (As an option, those players who wouldn't want the score screen to interrupt their fitness session could choose to turn such a feature off, while others could choose to include it.)

Anyway, I'm a happy camper now, and I'm getting back to happy dancing. That's what JD is all about. :-)