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Tip: Custom Properties in Motionbuilder

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.
Problem: (Custom Properties Organization) While you can create custom views for objects to selectively show some properties and not others, this does not work when your trying to filter a list of custom properties. For example 100 face shape sliders would all be one long list, yuck!
  • 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.

    Click to watch: Folders in custom views for MotionBuilder Custom Properties video

Problem: (Custom Properties story and posing) If you have created a lot of custom rigging or useing the MotionBuilder Character Face tool you need a good way to both store them as poses and be able to have their animation load in to the Story tool to do blending, cycles, etc.
  • 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.

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