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.