Preview: Click here for a preview video from the eDVD(not available)
What you get with "The Character Animator Toolkit for Motionbuilder" ebook (currently only the ebook is available)
- 100+ pages of course notes and step-by-step tutorials.
- 1.5 hour video of the Master Class
- Bonus: example videos and files
Extra video tutorials on how to keyframe animate in MotionBuilder.
Python scripts showing the power of accessing poses and the control rig from custom attributes.
In case you missed it- MotionBuilder has file reference ability now
For the python inclined.
Trust me, it works on my machine: Deleting objects in motionbuilder: I am working more and more with motionbuilder and one recent challenge involved dealing with "referencing"* rigs.
Autodesk has updated the tutorails and files for 2014, There are some good getting started lessons here with sample files you can use to test out MotionBuilder on your own.
New optical solvers and hundreds of fixes, improvements and shiny sparkly things that I hope erase the bad taste 2011-2013 has left in many peoples mouths.
Worth a look for anyone trying to get used to coding in Mobu
This is a pain but I created a workaround until it can be fixed by Autodesk.
Temporary workaround... Create a marker/junk attribute/anything that can be keyframed, and plot (with constant key reducer off) animation for all takes for just that marker.
Now save the file, your frame ranges are now saved correctly because key frames exist on each take at the proper length.
The Animator Toolkit for MotionBuilder eBook: Chad Moore, Brad Clark: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
Bug/workaround, if you are having to script the system.
Glad to see some of the bugs and problems we have found and reported show up fixed in this service pack, Autodesk has been very responsive lately if you take the time to properly report and log bugs for them.
Biped vs. Cat - What to use?Over and over the question of Biped comes up or a studio uses Biped and doesn't have a good idea about why they shouldn't be using it.
But what is the alternative?
Cat would be better than Biped at least in the newer version of Max *2013+. Biped, while tolerable only for animation in pinch* (I only say this because some animators only have ever used it), but if you have any need for motion capture don't use it. If the motion capture will be delivered to you from an outside vendor or you want the time spent on capture to not be a waste of money, then under no circumstances use biped.
How is it a waste of money you might be thinking? First Biped and Biped rigs are limited in the way the rig moves, has bones in less than ideal places for re targeting human motion on to, has issues with getting motion capture data on to it while keeping the shoulders and elbows the same as the source data, it goes on. So you spend lots of money to capture the moves, pay for clean up and high detail data and then it gets trashed loading on to Biped. It is like taking a really nice high resolution picture and then compress and shrink it down to a blurry mess then trying to print it and expect it to look good.
Cat is a more flexible system, has improved compatibility with MotionBuilder and is a more modern rigging system that won't trash your data.
Hobbit Week: A Geek Out With Hobbit Effects Wiz Joe Letteri | GeekDad | Wired.com
Must read for motioneditors and animators.
This is a great explanation on using reference footage but I feel it directly applies to any artist working with MotionCapture. There are great tools in MotionBuilder to allow for easy adjustment of the raw data to create more "pushed" poses but still have the detail and consistency that the raw capture provides. In the end if the data is "correct" but is boring, doesn't FEEL real or right then ti doesn't matter if it is a 1 to 1 match of the captured acting, no one will care. How much the actions are pushed or messed with will depend on the project but it is amazingly fast to use 3d reference vs. 2d and get the same or better results faster. The process isn't the same as the one that happens when our brain interprets the 2d footage on to the 3d rig but it isn't less valid and many times is more freeing because the arcs are all ready there, you have the 3d movement to look at.
Thanks to Ethan Hurd for the links-
Persistence of Vision: Using Video Reference in Animation
Look what came out today! some important fixes but still a few missing issues important to us so we will keep pushing to get them fixed.
If you have namespaces on constraints and you use folders to keep things organized, the navigator no longer displays the list of constraints correctly.
Enough with the bugs on to the tips.
- In the past MotionBuilder would allow you to drag nodes in the schematic from off screen so you can move them in to view with out having to click on them or zoom way out.
There is a hot key for this now- Hold down the T key while you have the node selected and you can drag it in from off screen. Nice!
- If you want to change rotation orders on your Control rig you need to make sure that you switch the rotation order of both the IK and FK control or the rig will not evaluate as expected when setting keyframes. Also note that the rig defaults to use quaternion rotation so if you want to "animate" and have a more predictable rig then you will want to turn that off.
Here are the fixes for the MAX plugin
2.0 Bug Fixes 2013.2 (Gold)
FBXX-459 FBX does not set Max Skylight to ''Visibility = off'' at time of export
FBXX-456 Custom attributes on base mesh should not be lost because of modifiers
FBXX-454 No string data exported
FBXX-451 Incorrect import to version 2013.1 (3ds Max 2012)
FBXX-445 Export of tangents/binormals sometimes fail for quads
FBXX-381 3ds Max plugin cannot export multiple textures on multiple materials
FBXX-345 MotionBuilder FBX data with up vector / Import result in 3ds Max is incorrect
2.0 Bug Fixes 2013.2 (Gold) Maya
FBXX-452 DAE_FBX exports mesh parts incorrectly in Maya 2013
FBXX-441 One Layered Texture node for two materials: links broken on FBX import
FBXX-432 Blendshape naming problem from MotionBuilder to Maya
Some of the workarounds aren't workarounds for production, some of this is unacceptable.
From the release notes: Maya
"If you want to add your HumanIK Control rig to an animation layer, it must be keyed in Euler rotation interpolation mode. Before keying your rig, set New HIK curve default to Independent Euler‐angle curves or Synchronized Euler‐angle curves in the Animation Preferences (Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences). (ENCS‐1507, Suites)"
There are more but this one was a big one.
Mobu: release notes ( I am posting a few that I think stand out
- Loading character animation with layer animation can corrupt control rig animation.
Workaround: Merge layers. (ha! not a workaround, fail)
- Creating new animation layer resets non-keyed modifications to object and control rig poses.
Workaround: Create new layer before posing character or store the pose through the pose
controls before creating the layer.
- Problem with Parent Child constraint when Rotation Y = 180.
Workaround: Replace parent child constraint with position and rotation constraints.
- Exported clip from Story imports with changed clip length.
- EVERY TIME THE MOTION FILE IMPORT GETS BROKEN AHHHHHH- Translation on the root Joint of ASF Skeleton not retained when importing AMC motion file. ( look out WETA and Giant houses)
Based on the bugs and limitations for the HIK solver if you are using MotionBuilder use the MotionBuilder solver and delete the HIK solver from the scene. Don't use the HIK solver settings in MotionBuilder and expect it to work for editing.
Export from Maya to Motionbuilder with Blendshapes and back is now working correctly with out the renaming shape bug. (custom names for the blendshape node are exported and imported correctly in all 3 software Max, Maya, MotionBuilder)
Export from Max to FBX- This is working correctly except the Morpher Modifier name is still not stored with the file. This is minor as it doesn't cause problems for importing animation, but It is just frustrating if you are recreating a file from the FBX file in another software.
@Maya paint skin weights error after FBX import from MAX- Fixed, this was a giant pain in the 2012 version of FBX and I am super excited to report that it is fixed and working very well.
New FBX bug-Can't rename shapes after creation.
Currently if you create your blendshapes and then later want to rename them, something that is easy to do in both Max and Maya, it won't save to FBX,instead it will use the original name so when you open the FBX file again it will have reverted your naming.
So for now this will have to be fixed by script as a post process run in the software or you will have to rename the object /name it how you want before creating the targets and hope it doesn't have to change.
New Bug- Max export of custom attribute type STRINGS does not work
From Max- string attributes write out as empty, they don't store the string content.
Now- Export file from Max, Import in to Maya, add string data , export to FBX and Open in Max- the string data is there BUT if you then export that file to FBX again all the custom attributes are deleted.
Brad here: Crispin at Motus Digital, hit this bug today and I confirmed. He does some amazing rigging work there for face rigs in MotionBuilder and this sent him down a 5 hour bug hunt...full disclosure I am a consultant for Motus and help in situations like this. On with the show.
This is an FBX problem, not MotionBuilder that I can tell. The 2011 versions of the plugin seems to work but the 2012 versions don't when dealing with blendshapes from Maya. There are some other problems with skinning in 2012 but lets talk blendshapes for now. - We tested with a very basic 3 sphere test and default settings to make sure it wasn't us.
Bug- FBX export is not storing the name of the blendshape node correctly. In addition the actual shapes names (attributes) in the blendshape node are being renamed: Example if the maya blendshape node name is pSphere3, after export and looking at it in MotionBuilder it is named pSphereShape3, where shape is being added to the middle of the name!
Result: Importing the animated MotionBuilder file in to Maya with (update animation selected) FBX creates a brand new blendShape node named something like FBXASC000_ncl1_1 with the renamed blendshape attributes.
3ds MAX:Even worse- opening the exported file in Max created a Morpher modifier with the default name and the renamed attributes, not even trying to use crazy FBXASC000_ncl1_1 name. Now Exporting from Max and trying to merge the animation in to Maya, FBX can't resolve the name for the Morpher and the Maya blendshape node. Regardless of the name of the morph modifier ( I renamed it to FBXASC000_ncl1_1 to match Maya) the FBX export from Max left it named Morpher. FBX from Max is ignoring the Morph modifier name completely.
Workaround at this time: The only way I could get the FBX to import with out a problem was to add the exported file to a clean Maya scene to get the name of the "new" blendshape node , FBXASC000_ncl1_1. I copied this, opened my source file and then rename by original blendshape node in my source scene the new name. Only then would the FBX animation import work with out adding an extra blendshape node and the Animation worked, not caring what the blendshape shape attribute name was.
There was no workaround for Max that I could create where I could name it in Max and have it come over so in Maya, the blendshape node has to get named Morpher for it to load. Depending on the flow of assets and what software the teams are using, this can be a big giant artist error prone mess.
Fix: FBX shouldn't be renaming/losing the blendshape node name and it shouldn't be renaming the blendshape attributes. They should export from Maya to MotionBuilder with the exact names so that Animation can load in and out of Maya with out having to rename anything or breaking anything if exporting from Max and MotionBuilder.
This could be interesting and could lead to some cool workflows between the software...is there anything that python can't do?
It is back! Jason has done a great job updating this for everyone. Some great new interactive book features and the good news is that it is on sale again.
Chad and I are still working on finding time for a 2013 refresh and update of our masterclass but Rigging Dojo is keeping us really busy right now so go and support the most excellent Jason Parks.
So if you haven't seen the great updates to the Autodesk Suite 2013 yet, the animation and Mocap guys should like the huge improvements in all areas of Maya, Max and MotionBuilder interaction via FBX. Cat has had some great updates and along the new more flexible HIK ui and re-targeting tools for custom rigs. It is worth doing a serious evaluation if you haven't looked at this stuff lately.
We are going to be doing a large update and refresh on our training DVD in the near future because of the large amount of updates, changes and improvements to MotionBuilder 2013.
The docs are posted and are worth a look to see what is new.
Also check out the new Max CAT HIK workflow
Here is something that might interested people I noticed in the pres release for 2013.
Also Maya like navigation is coming as well!
3ds Max 2013 announced!: Autodesk HumanIK Interoperability with CAT
Animators can now convert 3ds Max CAT (Character Animation Toolkit) bipedal characters into characters that are compatible with the Autodesk HumanIK solver used in Autodesk Maya 2013 software and Autodesk MotionBuilder 2013 software in a single step. These portable characters enable animators to transfer existing character structure, definition, and animation between the software packages in order to take advantage of particular feature sets. Animation changes created in Maya or MotionBuilder can be updated back onto the original CAT character in 3ds Max, facilitating a round-trip workflow.
This is an excellent talk about motion capture and how an DreamWorks dealt with starting to work with it.
If you are a TD or animator or motion capture editor using Maya or Max or MotionBuilder then you need to listen to the advise in this talk.
There is something that I want to talk about though is the part of advice about being able to select key poses and key that directly to the rig.
It is possible to do this on the MotionBuilder control rig or the HIK rig in Maya and I and many others have done it successfully with out having the problems of not having the rig be able to animate or interpolate between but it is a huge issue on a custom animation rig and it is important to keep in mind as you approach using motion capture in to the pipeline.
Anyway it is a great discussion and they address a huge amount of issues that are brought up all the time by people that misunderstand motioncapture and rigging for motioncapture.
Maya 2012: HumanIK - Page 2 - Tech Artists Forums
Details on the tools
Red9 StudioPack v1.10
Well it's been a long year and I've been busy beavering away with a full update to the Red9Studio pack, I've also been slowly adding videos to my Vimeo channel below, hopefully I'll get to do more of these over the Christmas break.
The latest version has full HIK support for all the Animation Tools allowing you to copy poses, effectors, animation data as well as use all the snapping functionality as you would on normal rigs. There's also a ton of fixes to the way the NodeSearcher and Filters work.
Fix- don't use the HIK 4.5 solver and switch back to the MotionBuilder solver. It works and does not leave the shoulder dead.
Thank you to everyone that as purchased the class and found it helpful in your work, we appreciate it.
Happy Holidays everyone.
Brad and Chad.
Some amazing performance capture and acting along with the layer of WETA sauce (animation, rigging, rendering) showing another example of appropriate use of technology to tell a story.
They are using motion capture correctly and it shows in the final product, if you are wanting to learn from a great example, drink up all the info you can from the Uncharted series and production coverage that is published.
Cross-platform Animation Pipeline at Behaviour Interactive Studios
In this MasterClass, we will explain how we did optimize our animation pipeline for the production of Wet2 using Motionbuilder 2011, Maya 2011 and Human IK. We will talk about our production constraints, question marks, bottle necks and how the flexibility and the interoperability of the Autodesk products helped us out. In more details, the MasterClass will demonstrate how Motionbuilder took care of the motion capture data and how easily we transferred the resulting animations to Maya in batch mode, how we did edit and retarget these animations to our in-house Maya rig, using HumanIK features, how we used MEL and Python to speed up and customize our processes, how we were able to transfer the characterization and the retargeting parameters over to our in-house game engine using HumanIK API and much more.
David Coleman - Creating QT interfaces for Maya and MotionBuilder
This Masterclass will demonstrate the workflow of creating interfaces in QT Designer, and connecting them to functions within Maya and MotionBuilder. The basics of QT Designer will be covered, along with connecting sliders to drive facial blendshapes using the same interface for both Maya and MotionBuilder. Some techniques for procedurally creating QT widgets using PyQt will also be demonstrated.watch now
free registration required.
Great post from the MayaStation blog.
"With Maya 2012 the HIK menus and windows have been revamp. Here are some of the most needed MEL commands to use the tools without going through the UI
The basic thing to know is that you need to set the current character in order to affect it, this is done by:
To set the current character
//in this example I am setting Character 2
$gCurrentCharacter = "Character2";
Once the character is set, we can use it with these commands
Locking the Character definition
Creating a new Characterization
Creating a ControlRig
Deleting a Control Rig
Using the skeleton generator
Setting the source for a HumanIK character
//to control rig
mayaHIKsetRigInput( "Character1" ); updateHIKCharacterToolEnableCheckBox();
//to stance pose
mayaHIKsetStanceInput( "Character2" ); updateHIKCharacterToolEnableCheckBox();
//to set to a character input
mayaHIKsetCharacterInput( "Character1","Character2" ); updateHIKCharacterToolEnableCheckBox();
Choosing a keying mode, i.e. full-body, partial, or selection
optionVar -intValue keyFullBody 1; setKeyingMode( );
// body parts
optionVar -intValue keyFullBody 2; setKeyingMode( );
optionVar -intValue keyFullBody 3; setKeyingMode( );
Turning on and off pinning for individual effectors
//Here I am Character1_Ctrl_RightWristEffector as the effector
setAttr "Character1_Ctrl_RightWristEffector.pinning" 0;
setAttr "Character1_Ctrl_RightWristEffector.pinning" 1;
setAttr "Character1_Ctrl_RightWristEffector.pinning" 2;
setAttr "Character1_Ctrl_RightWristEffector.pinning" 3;
Baking the retarget to the control rig or skeleton
//Bake to Skeleton without opening the options
//Bake to Skeleton with opening the options
//Bake to Control Rig without opening the options
//Bake to Skeleton without opening the options
This is a great example of how HIK middleware and Animation and Motion Edit should be handled. The team did lots of work to get it extended to do what the game needed but it worked.
Notice on the MotionBuilder clip how the two man edits were being done with AUX ctrls and the double solving feature of the control rigs lets this work.
Plus it is nice to see my old art director Peyton Duncan show up, He was great to work for.
This is from EIDOS Montreal, FBX and MotionBuilder are heavily used there, they have a great attitude towards the tools and pipeline.
more info here-
RT @Autodesk_ME: Louis Marcoux shows you how to use #3dsMax, #MotionBuilder and the #Kinect for at home motion capture: http://bit.ly/gIQr0w
Yes, I am re-tweeting from twitter as a blog post:)
I am really happy to see this set of videos because it is one of the biggest/most asked/ most troubled issues artists hit when trying to get MotionBuilder working at their studio and for motion capture studios to have to deal with when delving data to a client.
Great work Autodesk!
This is a great script idea and I would imagine not be hard to use/convert the idea to Maya and its animation layers as well.
I know several game teams and myself included that could have used this for either creation or just pre-viz of the additive animation work needed for the game engine.
From the Readme
"This creates an additive animation to be used on real-time engines, where the animation is to be "added" over another playing animation. You shouldn't actually subtract one animation from the other, but a "pose" (on Take02) from the animation on Take01."
I like his
Stuff like that is good for animators and really the team in general to read when looking to do a capture. So much of the " mocap is the devil" attitude comes from all the poor planing, misunderstanding and overall attitude of "this will save so much time and money..bla bla.." and it does not do either of those things.
And this is a great segue for the contest Rigging Dojo is running this coming week..
Teach to win Novmber contest!
"The best way to truly understand something is to teach it. Do you have something to share, a tip or trick or a great example from your latest work you want to talk about?
We want to see it! You can post the link here on our wall, or tweet it on twitter, including the #rigTip @riggingdojo tags.
The most helpful or interesting example will win a "Personal Rig Review" or a "Half hour live QA" from one of our Mentors,the winner will be announced the following week. Open to all All skill levels.
The contest will run for this week...ending Sat. November 13th.
Good Luck everyone, have fun!"
So here is a quick compilation of answers to issues that have been showing up.. hope it helps others as well.
How to limit constraint effect across multiple takes?There is a setting under the animation/keyframe menu Take options, normal or muliti
select the constraint. set it to 0 first. Then select the constraint only in the navigator and change the take setting form normal to multi take, so that its settings save per take.
How can I rotate my Animation with out having to us story or other hacks?Use the move keys tool.
First hit the unpin all button, rotate your character to the new direction, but instead of adding an animation layer, just select all the keyframes in the timeline and hit the move keys button. It will update the translation keys based on the rotation allowing you to redirect the character.
How can I update geometry and skeleton in MoBu? (MotionBuilder)See past blog entry http://motionbuildertraining.blogspo...ting-with.html on updating with out having file referencing like Maya.
How do I retarget prop animation or motion capture data in MotionBuilder?It just depends on how your trying to retarget the data, Props require a mix of custom rigging and offseting, most of the time I can just do it with basic constraints.
http://the-area.com/tutorials/props_editing (have to log in,free) but it covers the basics, although not one of my best demo scenes:)
MotionBuilder - Batch tool - Char has no reference ,error message?This is because the skeleton is missing a top node above the root, it can be a null or anything above root. Uncharacterize the "character node" then drop the new null/node in to the reference slot in the character settings and re-characterize.
If I have a set of animation files,Is there an easy way I can characterize these animations without going in each file, and still preserving the file name?You only need to characterize the skeleton once.. in a Tpose then import all the non characterized animation files on to your characterized skeleton, in to takes all in one file.(each take should have the file name)
Then do an export to one take per file, useing the take name from your file as the exported .FBX file name and that should work.
Takes – Merging key data between takesThe fastest way to do combine or put two animations that live in separate Takes together on one take...simple select the animated object, CTRL C to copy, switch takes and while the object is still selected, CTRL B, This will let you do a paste special and past the animation quickly.
The other option is to select the animated object and then select the range of keyframes to then copy and paste, in the main timeline. This lets you pick only a small portion of keyframe data instead of all of it as CTRL B would do.
Bugs found in MotionBuilder 2011-Take order after reordering in the navigator is not saving, no fix currently
Macros in Relation Constraint does not correctly save/reopen if the macro is in any other node but the first constraint created. (Fixed in the 2011 advantage pack"
Extrapolation for keyframes , doing loops etc, does not save correctly and reopen-Workaround you have to bake/plot the keys on a layer to make for easy editing/updating with changes.
If your not following Neills blog, you should be and check out this fantastic script.
There have been many times on game projects I have needed or wanted to do this very thing but had workarounds to do it...now I don't have to.
His site is a gold mine for Mobu and programing, check it out.
One way to do it at least, anyone else know of a way to get at this information?
Check the thread out.
Excellent idea and tool for adding conversion right in the MAC OSX browser.
Check out the rest of Dave Girards blog as there are some nice Maya hacks as well as other goodies.
A set of moves that are worth having for testing and training reasons.
The Mixamo guys have posted a nice tutorial on their site that covers how to use the FBIK rig and get motions on to it in order to edit in Maya.
You can also login and get free motions to test with, their site is a great concept and is really a great resource for game developers and others that don't have a full motioncapture team.
Excelent news for the Mobu and python users out there. I have not had a chance to try this out but I hope it can get support as any effort like this.
Here is the quote from the article
I have been working on a project for a little while and I wanted to share it with the MotionBuilder community for contribution and feedback.
The name of the project is PyMoBu. It is a python enhancement for MotionBuilder. It is essentially a Python wrapper for a few areas in MotionBuilder at the moment. Using this Python module allows you to have many new features and functions that work with FB components. For example you now have a much more user friendly way to list properties with different options, individual constraint classes with personalized methods, listing objects based on a variety of parameters, a complete vector and matrix math method additions and much more!
Information and demo videos can be found on the PyMoBu google code project page located here:
There is a link to documentation off that page as well as included in the download zip file. Instructions are also in the zip file but basically it is like any other python module, you simple put in in the Python PATH that MotionBuilder can find and import it in.
Currently I have only tested this in MotionBuilder 2010. It will NOT work in previous versions unfortunately. I haven’t tested yet in 2011. So please let me know if you get an error and put in an issue report on the google page so I can keep track of the bugs.
A few bugs may still exist so this is mostly a testing and proof of concept stage that I hope will inspire some good ideas and additions as more areas are added. This is only the beginning and has a lot of room to grow.
Please leave any questions or comments here. I appreciate any feedback and ideas. If you would like to contribute your code, we can talk about becoming a member of the project as I would like to have the community help out and keep this project growing.
Thank you for taking a look and I hope that it will benefit the community in some way.
http://www.scottenglert.com <- personal website
This is an updated tutorial book with over 100 pages of information, tips, tricks, step by step tutorials and screenshot breakouts from the videos. Now only $13.64.
|Required Software||Adobe Digital Editions, Adobe Acrobat, Apple Preview, Stanza|
|Supported Devices||Windows PC/PocketPC, Mac OS, Linux OS, Apple iPhone/iPod Touch... (see all)|
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Note: if you all ready own the edvd of the class you all ready have the ebook version.
A great post to check out when wanting to automate your motion conversion pipeline.
Also, worth checking out would be the MotionBuilder 2011 Batch convert rewrite, what used to be a closed plugin is now a python script that can be edited and customized per studio.
He included a new python script for MotionBuilder and his video covers, Tails simulation, characters on a ropes,hair and python for physics ( a new tool that puts all the needed settings for simulation in Motionbuilder in once location!!!! YES, so needed.)
For all the people having trouble with the new 2010 and 2011 Joint tools in Autodesk Motionbuilder the new python script and video will be a huge help.
to see more examples you can check out my previous post on his other great videos
Tutorials : MotionBuilder Physics
that have been pushing for faster story, it is finally here. Also rocking out the new materiel and texture workflow, check out the multi-sub object support from Max now, this has been asked for and needed since
I started working in filmbox and MotionBuilder!
The Area :: Autodesk: MotionBuilder: 2011
What's New in MotionBuilder 2011
Autodesk® MotionBuilder® 2011 3D character animation software includes the following new and enhanced features:
- NVIDIA® PhysX® plug-in enables better creation of rag-doll simulations.
- Improved animation layers match the behavior of those in Maya 2009 and higher, and offer better interoperability.
- Skinned characters play back faster by using the computing power of the GPU.
- Updated native Autodesk® FBX® 2011 format support helps eliminate extra translation steps.
- Expanded Mocap samples provide access to data for various human body types and motion to help bring characters to life.
Animators, MotionEditors and all cg students should listen to this.
I am officially declaring mocap vs. keyframe bullshit argument dead and buried.
Any time some one brings that long dead argument up again (oh they will still try) just please send them this link and force them to
listen to it.
Amazing interview with Richard and I am happy to say he is not the only one that gets IT, there are really great animators at ILM and WETA and many others
that do what it takes to move the audience with the best tools they can use. Pixar and Dreamworks prove there is still need and room for incredible traditional animation so no, I am not saying that performance capture is right for everyone but it has its place. Yet I still hear over and over the arguments still (it's not 2001 any more) but they are time traps, energy sucks and huge wastes of life for any creative person who is trying to connect with the audience.
Congrats to every one that worked on breaking new ground and moving the industry forward on AVATAR.
Autodesk - Autodesk FBX - What’s New: "Support for Maya Smooth Meshes
FBX 2010.2 now supports base mesh and subdivision level information for the Maya Smooth Mesh Preview capability."
There are other updates and enhancements but I thought people would like to know this.
First you can read over my post here on a hack way to pin a ragdoll for older versions of MotionBuilder.
It is one of this blogs top links but there are much better ways to do these things now.
Also if you register for http://area.autodesk.com (free) you will be able to
log-in and watch my web masterclass on MotionBuilder physics
->MotionBuilder Physics: Ragdoll Tricks for Production <- to go to my original post here on the blog to find the link to the video and more information. Now thanks to the amazing "KXL" (he not only programed the physics tools for MotionBuilder he is doing free video tutorials, can't get better than that). You can log in to Autodesk Area and go to this thread Next Physics video poll where you will find the links to below videos covering
the following topics for MotionBuilder and vote for what you want to see next.
(he does this on spare time so thank him! and don't complain there is no audio)
Physics videos for MotionBuilder:
- Solver basics
- Rigid bodies basics
- Setting up ragdoll
- Rider setup (part 2 for Joints)
- Little about Animation Mixing
- Animation Mixing
They are all full of fantastic tricks and tips for all kinds of really cool stuff like setting up a car to adjusting the settings to get great playback and correct solving.
Hope you all find this helpful!
The videos talk about the actors mindset and physical issues when doing a capture session.
A must watch for any one that is involved with performance motion capture.
It is really great to see more and more footage like this and the videos from Avatar. I hope it helps educate
people on how much hard work and effort goes in to doing a capture session well and for the right reasons and
that you still need animators and artists to take that data and make it work on the final 3d character.
It is no magic pill that replaces animators, it is the same amount of work just shifted around in time and actually puts more
pressure at the start of production than animation where the pressure is more weighted near the end. Producers and scheduling need
to take that in to account when deciding on useing performance capture or not.
Should help anyone working with data flow between Softimage and MotionBuilder and any character TD/Rigger that has to build an exportable, motion capture ready skeleton
in Autodesk Softimage XSI.
Also if you have not read his interview with the the guys from Naugty Dog on the motion capture process used for Uncharted , make sure to check it out in the new interview section.
I love seeing an active community and Ricardo is doing a great job.
For some one that wants or needs to have a character walking follow along a path in MotionBuilder as my friend Kiel Figgins shows in Maya http://www.3dfiggins.com/tuts/MoPath/.
There are a few times where this could be very helpful for background characters or when trying to deal with uneven ground and should give you an idea on how to approach controlling the character with a story clip and cycle. Make sure to read over Kiels tutorial to understand the details.
*note the video has no audio, showing proof of concept and the relation constraint settings at the end.
LINK:Video.swf of the Path Animation examle
In the video is an example of hooking up an FK skeleton on to a path and having it follow along a curved path.
Download : Sample File for MotionBuilder
If the Path and Story are giving you trouble or you find you don't need a complex solution, here are a few other ideas and tricks on how to control motion direction over and around surfaces.
1. Chop the cycled clip in to chunks and rotate each chunk and blend between them so the character walks around the corners, each clip controlling over all direction and Blend.
- For a cleaner edit Animate a Turn/lean move, make one clip, mirror the motion, make another clip and use that to blend between the walk cycle clips much like a game would.
2. Bring it out of story in to the take. First cycle the clip and then bake it to the fk skeleton in the current take. Then you could constrain just the forward direction of the hips to the path
- You could also plot/bake it to a control rig, cycle the character in place (button on the character controls) and plot/bake, now you have a FK skeleton walking in place that you can map to a path node .You can also use the time warp in Fcurve to help adjust speed of the walk along the path based on stride length.
- Leaving it on the control rig (if you want to use IK you will have to make a custom hiearchy with the control rig (shown in the DVD) and adjust reach settings to allow for the rig to follow the path. Doing this you might be able to use the foot L and R floor objects and animate them along a path or just key them so that the ankles and feet match the angle of ground the character is walking up.
3. Like example 2, plot to the scene, on the control rig or fk skeleton , with out the path and use the “move keys” tool and regular manipulation of the character to rotate the animation in the direction you want, select the key frames from the turn forward and hit. “move keys” you can do this for each turn. If you do this on the control rig you can adjust the feet ctrls easier to help with the turn transitions.
All that said creating or capturing the correct move list you need is the best solution, while not always possible.
Shortcuts always look like shortcuts, to many of the same walk cycle, to much walk down spline, turning with out taking the “turn” in to account in the motion, auto walks, etc.. all just end up when left as is, producing “computer movement’, so be aware of it and you will be fine:)
You can get it here:
"The Character Aimator Toolkit for MotionBuilder on CD"
And we updated the class preview video, the compression is soooo heavy but it is a much better and longer preview for people that have not purchased it yet.
preview video from the DVD
Currently Autodesk MotionBuilder does not have true file referencing ability and this would normally cause lots of problems when it comes time to update a rig file or lots of animation files. The lucky thing is that MotionBuilder has a very robust and configurable import and export system that allows us to create new files very quickly or update old ones.
Skin Update and or Blendshape update:
First open the file you want to update then
- Go to File >Merge and pick the new updated file that has been fixed in some way, skin weights or joint alignments for example.
- We will set the options for the merge
- Models are now set to merge meaning that MotionBuilder is not adding any thing to the file just replacing the matching object it finds in the scene with what your loading in. Iin this case the skeleton/mesh/weights etc. anything that is considered a model)
- When it is done you should have the updated character, still characterized and with any motion edits etc you have done in the file playing back correctly.
- Note that there is a bug where this operation removes the objects from any groups they are in and they will have to be added back in after the update.
There is a lot of information up on the website all ready that you can check out but I wanted to note that it is not just a eDVD video system , it is a customized mentor led class based on your needs and educational goals all online.
From the main site you can find us on Facebook and Twitter and check things out.
I am really excited to get this started and help students, professionals and even studio teams learn how to get the most out of the software.
Chad and I will be focusing a huge amount of time on the school of course but still support our masterclass and the people that purchased it (thank you) and post cool MotionBuilder stuff here when it is of value.
Thank you for reading this, check out the new school and contact us if your interested in classes.
Steven Roselle has posted the second part of useing Maya with MotionBuilder.
Thanks for the MotionBuilder love.
* I ,Brad, have been buried under a bit of work including lots of time contributing to the next possible future releases of certain software, or in Alpha test land. I hope people are still getting value and use out of the Toolkit DVD.
Also in other news- Digital-Tutors has MotionBuilder Training available as part of the subscription service, great if your all ready signed up. It is currently basic looking stuff that is good to build upon but there are still free resources available from Autodesk on the Area that cover most of the basics and plenty of advanced topics (that I have created and linked to here on the site). Either one, I am glad to see more traning available for MotionBuilder
There are some great selection tool in MotionBuilder and I wanted to quickly mention them.
This group select trick I use in the Master Class for making selection handle objects in the view port.
"In the Viewer window, G-click an object belonging to the group you want to select.
To select multiple groups:
Press Ctrl-G and select multiple groups.
If an object is part of more than one group, all groups to which the object is connected are selected." (form MB help)
For selecting objects in the main Viewer window- selection tools..useing mobu hotkeys
Ctrl -right click child object, selects only very top root object
Spacebar-right click object pick it and children (Maya select hiearchy tool)
Ctrl-shift- right click on any obj in hiearchy picks entire tree, up and down.
Should help make your selections much faster to work with in MotionBuilder.
In MotoinBuilder 2010 you can now use real dynamic joints and also animate the state of the ragdoll solver on and off to allow you to setup this kind of grab,drag,throw action without this hack.
Just a quick note, if you are new to Motionbuilder 2009 (Mobu), they added a basic Ragdoll solver and some new realtime physics tools that you can put to use If you have not used the new tools, the helpfiles do a good job of going over how to setup and use the new solver. Also a quick plug I am working on another video tutorial for http://area.autodesk.com/ that will cover more MotionBuilder physics tircks and ideas on how to use them for production. ***find the post on that tutorial here motionbuilder-physics-ragdoll-tricks ***
I wanted to post this here after seeing this question. over at cgtalk.
- What you want it to follow must be animated all ready
- Constrain the Ragdoll node (hand for example )to the animated object ( I used a position constraint )
- Turn on Record ( turn off live in the physics solver)
- Select the ragdoll object before you hit playback
- Click play and you will have your ragdoll following the animated object it is constrained to.
- If you want it to let go of the constrained object while playing back.. just double click in the scene to deselect the ragdoll obj. and it will let go of the constraint and do a full solve.. like being thrown by another chracter or dropped from a plane or thrown from a car.
The FBX plug-in included with Maya now supports the import of
MotionBuilder animation layers into Maya. However, note that the FBX plug-in
does not support the export of Maya animation layers into MotionBuilder.
For more information on the FBX plug-in for Maya and to check for the latest
releases of the FBX plug-ins go to http://www.autodesk.com/fbx.
This is great news for any one wanting to finally be able to work in MotionBuilder and final in Maya but still use the FBIK rig. There were hacks for working around this
and it was possible to do before this release but native support is always great.
Tips on Layers in Maya-
Maya layers are a mix of the "story" tool tracks in MotionBuilder along with the layer animation functions of layers in MotionBuilder.
What this means is that while you can bring in one "take' with layer animation in it now your still stuck to one take.
Hack (thanks Manu): Load animation from MotionBuilder Takes on to Maya Override Layers. These act as the animation instead of an offset allowing you to store
many "takes"(timelines or separate maya scene animations are ways to think about it.) all in one Maya file.
You can do this during your regular workflow for other game animations or to work with a custom pose bank and leave it in the file as you animate and export it between
files. All great things you can do with the Override layers in Maya.
I am really pleased that the flow between the Software is getting better, now if only Biped was as smooth.
Just wanted to link to this tip because this feature was a huge help to me when I was learning Mel and Max script and when I started trying python in
MotionBuilder I was really slowed down and having trouble with getting info on what functions were doing. This should help speed that up quite a bit.
"There is one nifty feature in MotionBuilder 2010 that should ease some of the complaint about Mobu documentaion: contextual help printed in console accessible with a shorcut! If you press F1 (or if you use the contextual help button Python Editor Toolbar) while there is text selected in a Python editor or while there is text on the interactive console you get documentation about this text. This feature is similar to Maya.cmds.help (but it’s available from a shortcut). You can find more information about this feature in MB 2010 help in the Python Editor Enhancement section."
more at the link.
2010 is going to be a great release.
Here is a nice set of vids on their youtube channel dealing with the very nice new
physics and ragdoll features . New Ragdoll feature videos
Also if you missed it, Maya has now gone to just one version and they have a bundle with MotionBuilder called the 'Autodesk Real-Time Animation Suite 2010
Cory Mogk posted more info on his blog , it is a short list but it gives you a quick overview of whats new.
MotionBuilder 2010 offers:
- Finger controls for Actor
- SDK access to Actor
- Custom Keying Groups
- Pose Controls for Objects
- Enhanced support for 3ds Max Biped and Softimage Character templates
- Performance Updates
- More options for Joints in Physics simulations"
Also if your on Twitter you can look for MotionBuilder posts under #MB or #motionbuilder and more general news at #autodesk
I just noticed this off the Autodesk site, large update for FBX and I wanted to pass it along here.
FBX enables the acquisition and exchange of 3D assets and media from a variety of sources more quickly and easily. This means you can interchange major NURBS and polygon surface types, plus Maya subdivision surfaces, keyframe and mocap animation, shapes and morph targets, materials and textures, lights, cameras, hierarchical information, and character animation data: inverse kinematics (IK), envelopes, and deformations. We expect the list of data supported to grow with each new release.
Bug fixes for 3ds Max:
- New warning messages have been added to the import/export warning managers
- NURBS model with Morph targets not exported
- Materials/Textures and Geometry replaced on merge
- Link Inheritance" ignored on export
- NURMS Subdivision iterations ignored on export
- NURBS deformation lost on re-export
- Slow Import/Update Scene Elements on Biped
- Incorrect interpolation of RGB data
- Inverted normals on imported NURBS objects
- Incorrect interpolation of custom tangent types
- Incorrect resampling of "Slow" and "Fast" tangent types
- Linear tangent type resampled as Custom tangent type on import
- Import crash while in DirectX - mode
- Crash on processing animation with no animation in scene
- Integer" custom attribute values do not import properly
- - Max camera targets lose connections on export
- New UI option: Re-evaluate Normals
- Free Handle" toggle ignored on export; causes incorrect interpolations
- Skin exports incorrectly when scaled
- FBX UI missing options after export to COLLADA
- Exporting polygons without volume causes - Max to freeze
- Improved Photometric light interoperability
- Keys created at every frame for certain imported lights
- ASCII uses OS regional file settings for FBX file creation
- If lights or shadows are OFF, light parameters are lost
- New scripting option: Name Take with scene name on export
- Animation data not read on files over network
- New UI/scripting option: Toggle log files creation on export
- Smoothing Groups are generated with Autodesk Architectural Preset
- COLLADA: Importing .dae files takes - minutes or longer
- COLLADA: Skinned objects change position on import
- COLLADA: Crash while importing on AMD Opteron - bit
- Unable to import trimmed NURBS
- New FBX branding (logo)
- Re-evaluate Smoothing Groups option not functioning correctly
- FBX User Interface changes
- MotionBuilder FBX files that contain characters not importing animation
- FBX201000 must be the default version in the exporter
- Rename "Name Take with Max Scene Name" to "Use scene name" in Exporter UI
- Add Tangents and Binormal export/import option
- Presets saved in C:My Documents- FBXPresets
- Log files saved in C:My Documents- FBXLogs
- Localization of dropdown menus in UI
3.3 Potential instability importing very large scenes
***Improved in 3ds Max 2010***
A number of enhancements have been made concerning the importing of large FBX files
to 3ds Max. However, certain Revit-exported FBX files with a very large amount of
metadata (Revit object information) may still cause instability during the FBX
import process. As this has been identified as a 3ds Max defect, it has been
addressed in 3ds Max 2010. For now, when you import files with large
amounts of metadata into 3ds Max, ensure that the System units of both the FBX file
and host program match (Revit Imperial setting = 3ds Max System Units set to Feet).
This avoids the unnecessary lengthy conversion of units and may prevent 3ds Max
from becoming unstable during the import process.
3.4 Explicit versus implicit normals
A known limitation occurs when an FBX file contains Smoothing group data and
that file is imported into 3ds Max with Import Smoothing groups option activated.
If any objects in the FBX file contain explicit normal modifications
(for instance, you modify the normal directions, but the object also has smoothing
group information), the FBX importer imports only the smoothing group
data and ignore the normal modifications. This has been the behavior of
the plug-ins for the last few releases. In this current release, a new option
has been added to workaround this limitation when you activate it.
FBXImporterSetParam "ForceNormal" true|false
Setting this command to true forces the 3ds Max FBX importer to ignore
smoothing groups data and import explicit normals data.
Warning: Forcing the import of explicit normals makes it impossible for the
user to make smoothing group modifications after import; Explicit normals
This issue will be documented in the next 3ds Max FBX User Documentation release.
Biped merge-back workflow enhancements (as told to us by Trevor)
What is the Biped Merge-Back workflow?
3ds Max users can use the installed FBX plug-ins to export their Biped data to the FBX file format, to then import into Autodesk MotionBuilder. Users can then animate their Bipeds with MotionBuilder tools. Once the animation is completed and plotted (re-sampled) onto the skeleton of the character, the scene can be saved once again as an FBX file. It can then be merged back onto the original Biped character in 3ds Max, using the FBX importerâs âUpdate scene elementsâ feature, to copy MotionBuilder animation data from an FBX file onto a Biped character.
Previously, this merge-back operation could be quite time-consuming. A lot of effort has gone into the 2010 release of 3ds Max to improve the speed of this operation. Weâre proud of the results. Take a look at the following few examples to get an idea about how much faster this merge-back operation is:
3ds Max 2009 FBX Import: 55 seconds vs. 3ds Max 2010 FBX Import: 2 seconds
3ds Max 2009 FBX Import: 40 seconds vs. 3ds Max 2010 FBX Import: 1 second
3ds Max 2009 FBX Import: 4 HOURS vs. 3ds Max 2010 FBX Import: 18 SECONDS
Overall, the biped merge-back workflow is now many, many times faster.
In previous releases of 3ds Max, when users would merge MotionBuilder animation onto 3ds Max Bipeds, several precision issues would take place at the knee and elbow joints. For instance, on a few select frames, elbow and knee joints would pop out of place only to pop back into place a few frames later. This resulted in animation that would evidently not be 100% identical between the two programs, and in some cases, render the workflow as impractical. The 3ds Max 2010 development team has fixed this problem. Now, plotted animation in MotionBuilder, saved as FBX and imported onto 3ds Max Bipeds, are 1:1 identical.
Autodesk FBX Technologies Group
There are actually going to be a few tips for MotionBuilder based on this thread over at the Area. Custom properties are very powerful in MotionBuilder and here are some tips on working with them.
Problem: (Custom Properties range)When useing the MotionBuilder Character face the sliders that are created only go from 0 to 100.
- Fix: The Face expressions that get created are just custom properties and can be edited with the property editor (properties window->customize->custom properties). Here you can set them to be -100 to 100 or what ever value you want.
- Fix: Instead of editing the existing custom attributes (custom properties) it would be best to add your own on to an animation control where you can blend the expressions so one slider controls the opposite shape. You can also drive them with viewport based controls like Jason Osipa shows in his "Stop Staring" book useing relations constraints and control objects.
- Fix: Here is a quick how-to video. (make sure you make the folder under the “character face” as I did in the video or they will not show up. The basic idea is you create a custom view for the properties and then you can add folders to the main category for the properties and then move them in to each new folder to clean up the long list.
- Fix: Character Extensions allow both of those issues to be fixed. In the case of the Character Face tool, you can drag its auto created expression sliders on to the Character Extension those attributes will now work in story with the main character track.
- Fix: Extensions also work with the pose tool allowing the pose tool to store poses for any other objects or properties(attributes) that the character tool needs to work with.
Thanks to Keo Heng SCEA Bend Studio for asking the questions, glad to help.
*Solutions like this are covered in our Masterclass. When you find you need more detail or a deeper understanding of how to work with MotionBuilder check out the class DVD and 100+ pages of step by step tutorials and videos.
Well it took a little while to get up but thanks to the hard working folks at Autodesk that had to edit/compress and publish this latest tutorial ( MotionBuilder Physics: Ragdoll Tricks for Production) you can now go and
watch how to creatively use the physics solver in your animation. This will take you from start to end in creating a mixed final motion blending both motion capture and simulation.
It does not go step by step over all the physics options but it shows you a fast and effective way to start useing the new solver tools in MotionBuilder 2009.
I hope you find some use out of it, I had a good deal of fun making this video, simulation can sure be fun when it is realtime.If you like these tutorials and find them useful then drop note on the comments here on the blog or at the Autodesk website.
This will be the last free tutorial going up from me at the moment but keep checking back here on the blog for tips/links and tricks as well as some other "free samples" from
the DVD class.
p.s. the other post on this blog about physics is this tip: Constrained Ragdoll in Motionbuilder 2009