Buy now

Get the Kindle eBook on Amazon

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.

*New training and book offer through Rigging Dojo

MotionBuilder Rigging to Retargeting workshop (get the ebook free when taking this ondemand course)

Blog Posts


awesome-motionbuilder by matthewkapfhammer

awesome-motionbuilder by matthewkapfhammer

Great resource on MotionBuilder scripts and tutorials put together by our Rigging Dojo Mentor Matt Kapfhammer.

MotionBuilder 2016 file save change - embed media

File Save Embed issue 2016 Autodesk MotionBuilder:

MotionBuilder 2016 will when you use file save- embed media in the FBX file even when you don't expect it to or want it to.

This setting isn't available in the UI.

  1. C:\Users\YOURNAME\Documents\MB\2016-x64\config\CLMWORKSTATION.Application.txt
  2.  Find under [SaveLoad] EmbedMediaSimpleSave and set it to no from yes.
    1. This is a setting you will want using MotionBuilder 2016 if you don't want every file to save with textures embeded  
    2. EmbedMediasSimpleSave = No  
    3. Save it and launch MotionBuilder, open a file with textures and you can now save your files without causing the textures to embed.

There are many other options here that are worth looking at and knowing about that aren't visible in the UI preference.

#rigtip #animtip

How To Create a Walk Cycle in MotionBuilder - Mocappy

Extensive tutorail with lots of good tips and understanding of how to use MotionBuilder.

This isn't the exact workflow we would use but if you are trying to learn to animate in MotionBuilder this tutorial will hit many parts of the software and get you up and running quickly.

How To Create a Walk Cycle in MotionBuilder - Mocappy

Autodesk MotionBuilder 2016

Not much in the way of big changes this year but at least they are actively working on the product again and we are back working with them to make the next release a real improvement (we hope)

Autodesk MotionBuilder 2016 Documentation | MotionBuilder | Autodesk Knowledge Network

Parallelism in one line - Python in MotionBuilder

Parallelism in one line - Blogomatono

Finally! Used multithreading in Motionbuilder ONCE! But to render TGAs into a .MOV with ffmpeg.

Mocappy - Your Guide to Capturing and Editing Motion

Mocappy - Your Guide to Capturing and Editing Motion

We have a PDF excerpt from our Class from years back that covers this but this is a nice updated description of the control rig in Motionbuilder.

Good site overall for MotionBuilder foundation work when you are first getting used to MotionBuilder.


EZ TD MotionBuilder Setup via Python

Having standard setups is always a good thing to build on. Jason Barnibdge shares some code and some information on how to do this with his EZ TD MotionBuilder Setup via Python blog post.

Go check it out.

Technical Artist Bootcamp: Hacking MotionBuilder: 10 Things You Aren't Doing but Should Be! #GDC Vault

Update: 2018

Entire video set, scripts and extra tips are now available as a free online course.

1ww6digwsz2yep7xojol hackingmobumainimage


Here are the slides from my talk at GDC. None of it could have happened, the talk or me using Filmbox years ago and more with out the man, the legend the mega awesome Jason Parks. Thanks for all the work and effort wrangling us all together for the bootcamp and fitting me in to the packed schedule of great speakers.

And I wouldn't have physically been there without  everyone at Rigging Dojo for taking care of the trip, thanks Josh and Chad and our great community of mentors and students.

On with the Show!

  You can download the PDF here from the GDC Vault.

Note: Due to the difficulty of live demo during the time I had to present, I recorded detail videos walking through the tips on each slide. To get the videos you can contact me with Vault access proof (screen shot of you logged in to my talk,) and I will send you a download link.

Brad making sure everything would work...and then it didn't!
What people are saying about the presentation (super big cookies for that)!

"Just watched your talk on the vault. Packed with invaluable information! A+"
"... this was very useful for me as an animator who has to work with mocap regularly."
"... I have been using it for years and pretty much every single one of his tips were new to me....will save me countless hours in production."

@twitter -  #hackmobu

GDC Slides with 
Speaker notes:  click the gear and choose speaker notes to see more details and step by steps

Session Name Technical Artist Bootcamp: Hacking MotionBuilder: 10 Things You Aren't Doing but Should Be!
Speaker(s) Brad Clark
Company Name(s) Rigging Dojo
Track / Format Programming
Overview MotionBuilder, love it or hate it, if you work with motion capture or animation it is in your pipeline. This is a short session jam-packed with Brads best hacks to save you days of work per motion edit. In this session, you will learn to love it more or hate it less with hacks like effortless animation mixing, motion mirroring, quick squash and stretch, faster foot rigs, must-have scripts and efficient custom rig re-use. Techniques learned in this session, while focused on MotionBuilder, can be applied to the HIK rig in Maya as well.

#animtip #rigtip #Maya3d #MotionBuilder #

HIK fixes in Maya 2015

Autodesk Maya 2015 Readme

MAYA-14026 HIK :
a problem where Full Body keying group appears multiple times in the
Graph Editor
MAYA-14045 HIK :
an issue when changing the rotation order on the HIK rig
MAYA-16929 HIK :
an issue with control rig IK effectors local axis
MAYA-16941 HIK :
an issue to allow double-evaluation on auxiliaries
MAYA-19106 HIK :
an issue where keying groups are not exported with Export Selection
MAYA-21043 HIK :
a problem with rotation interpolation
MAYA-21551 HIK :
support for removing animation from animLayers after a bake
MAYA-21595 HIK :
an issue where Character Controls T/R elements were not updating
MAYA-25119 HIK :
an issue when baking auxiliary effector
MAYA-25123 HIK :
an issue where FK joints have non zero values after characterization
MAYA-26047 HIK :
a warning when trying to change accumulation parameters on non empty
MAYA-26058 HIK :
an issue when keying in autokey
MAYA-26221 HIK :
a problem with Global Scale using Human IK on Mac OS X and Linux
MAYA-26647 HIK :
a crash when pasting keys on timeline
MAYA-30108 HIK :
an issue with head effector behaving as if it is always pinned on
MAYA-30114 HIK :
a typo in add to selection FK script
MAYA-31912 HIK :
an issue to prevent baking of non animatable properties on the rig
MAYA-33805 HIK :
an issue where Body Part keying groups were missing on the FK nodes
MAYA-34285 HIK :
a crash when scaling baked curves in Graph Editor

GDC Vault - Animation Bootcamp: From Stage to Screen: How to Get the Most From Your Performance Capture

GDC Vault - Animation Bootcamp: From Stage to Screen: How to Get the Most From Your Performance Capture

read and share with everyone and anyone at your studio that has to work with or is thinking about working with Motion Capture.

Maya 2014 HIK menu bug FK add to selection fix

This is a very silly bug I found today but it is annoying and thankfuly the fix is easy.

Trying to select the FK nodes for a character from the menu

Errors saying " hikSelectRigFKNodes" does not exist.
You get this error because the global variable for this procure should have an uppercase K. Instead we have a script that has a lower case k in the word Fk

The fix:
C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2014\scripts\others\hikControlRigUI.mel
line 560 the Fk should be FK since that is what the menu FK button is looking for.

change this lower case k

global proc hikSelectRigFkNodes(string $pCharacter, int $includeRefNode) 

to an upper case K

global proc hikSelectRigFKNodes(string $pCharacter, int $includeRefNode)

now you can click the add to selection FK button and have it work.

Hating on MotionBuilder and Mocap to loving it

From iAnimate GDC Event - 2013 on Vimeo  with Colin Graham, David Lam, Darryl Purdy, Michael Carr

While the entire clip is a bit long, for this blog and many in the industry still including a large amount of students interested in becoming animators in games, you should watch the video. We linked it starting at the time so you can find out how some of the top studios and artists have gone from hating mocap to embracing it.

Chad and I  and Jason Parks have been talking about and teaching and working with artists for more a decade now on these concepts and it is refreshing to hear it echoed back.  Clearly if you want to learn to edit and use MotionBuilder to speed up your work and your team we would hope you talk with us over at Rigging Dojo but these guys have it right on with the views on editing and mocap, great for their students.

Here is the link and time once more.

Python Properties in MotionBuilder

Trust me, it works on my machine: Python Properties: I'm sure there are already a bunch of good tutorials on how to use properties and decorators, but I rarely used this before... I am in the middle of writing Py-Mel'ish libraries for MotionBuilder and propertys are making my life a lot easier. They will essentially help you reducing your production code later almost by half and make it much more readable.

Autodesk MotionBuilder SDK Documentation: Referencing an FBX File

Autodesk MotionBuilder SDK Documentation: Referencing an FBX File

In case you missed it- MotionBuilder has file reference ability now

For the python inclined.

Deleting objects in motionbuilder

Any time we can find people doing work in the dark deep world of MotionBuilder and they take the time to share it, it is so nice, like Wall-E finding the plant. Check out this MotionBuilder python post. Good read.
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 -MotionBuilder Tutorials 2014

Autodesk - Autodesk MotionBuilder Services Support - MotionBuilder Tutorials

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.

Autodesk Unfold Virtual Launch Event | See What’s New in MotionBuilder 2014

Autodesk Unfold Virtual Launch Event | See What’s New in MotionBuilder 2014

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.

Free MotionBuilder scripting tutorials by Alex Forsythe

 Worth a look for anyone trying to get used to coding in Mobu

Python Scripting in MotionBuilder

This short series of videos aims to orient new users to MotionBuilder’s Python API. It assumes some programming background as well as familiarity with MotionBuilder as an end user.

Alex Forsythe

Bug and Workaround: Take length not saving correctly with .c3d data

The basics, if you import .c3d data in to MotionBuilder and then save your file, all takes will be set to the same end frame as the current take you were on when saving the file.

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.


Motus Digital - Motion Capture Gloves R&D

Motus Digital - Motion Capture Gloves 

My friends up in Dallas with some late night fun and mad science hacking to make some custom motioncapture gloves, giving other gloves the finger.

Querying animation layers returns FBBox

Querying animation layers returns FBBox - Around the Corner

Bug/workaround, if you are having to script the system.

Heads up: MotionBuilder code convention change

MotionBuilder code convention change: In the past, MotionBuilder classes may be prefixed with a 'H'. The SDK now will enforce not using this syntax, and you will need to change your code accordingly. To avoid too much work here is a tip on doing it in VisualStudio or Notepad++ using Regular Expression. In copy...

Autodesk MotionBuilder 2013 Service Pack 2

Autodesk - Autodesk MotionBuilder Services & Support - Autodesk MotionBuilder 2013 Service Pack 2

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.

Motion Capture Animation in Autodesk 3dsMax

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.

Reference post:
+1 Theodox

“Carbon Copy” Animation or How to use reference correctly

“Carbon Copy” Animation

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

New MotionBuilder bug and a quick tip

Here is the latest fun with Namespaces and constraint folders.

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.

  1. 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!
  2.  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.

FBX update 2013.2

Go get it and update your installs and read over the last two posts here to see what this should fix and then double check:)

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

2013 Maya and MotionBuilder HIK issues to be aware of

With each release we get one new feature and a stack of broken issues and here are a few that will defiantly affect your workflow and production. (as always check for service pack updates and FBX updates, this is a requirement now since the releases happen frequently if you plan on having useable tools)

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.

FBX 2012 : Blendshape Morph Target Naming Nightmare

MotionBuilder and FBX 2013 update:

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.

-----------original post----------

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.


AREA | Embedding the FBX Python SDK in Maya and MotionBuilder

AREA | Embedding the FBX Python SDK in Maya and MotionBuilder

This could be interesting and could lead to some cool workflows between the there anything that python can't do?  

ArtOfTech – Python Scripting for MotionBuilder Artists

ArtOfTech – Python Scripting for MotionBuilder Artists

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.

Autodesk 3ds Max 2013: HumanIK Interoperability with CAT and more

Autodesk 3ds Max 2013: HumanIK Interoperability with CAT - YouTube

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.

MotionBuilder 2013 Help: Enhancements to the Character Controls

MotionBuilder Help: Enhancements to the Character Controls

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.

Autodesk MotionBuilder New Features ( Little something that I have been helping with)

AREA | Autodesk MotionBuilder New Features

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.

TAG Blog: Animation and Motion Capture

TAG Blog: Animation and Motion Capture

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.

Effects Corner: Acting and Animation

Effects Corner: Acting and Animation

Amazing post on Performance capture and some more insight in to the current fight between animators, motioneditors vs. the actors that think that all they do is push a button and put "make up" on them.

python moBu- changing name of ControlRig - Tech Artists Forums

python moBu- changing name of ControlRig - Tech Artists Forums

Maya 2012: HumanIK - Page 2 - Tech Artists Forums

So if you have been needing to work with or create poses for Maya HIK check out the latest thread and the great tools from Red9.

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.


CGTalk - Realistic Shoulder Solver

So a user posted this problem and yes there is a bug in the Right shoulder of the shoulder solver.

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.


2.0 update for the Masterclass

The masterclass DVD is no longer available for download, we are working on a 2.0 update with new HD videos and content. We will post an update once we get the new version up but the ebook is still for sale through LULU.

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.

3ds Max Reference: MotionBuilder and Maya scaling

3ds Max Reference: MotionBuilder and Maya scaling

Glad to see this in the latest docs, clearly explained. This has caused more than a little confusion and problems for teams working on projects in the past.

An Open Letter To Andy Serkis #AltDevBlogADay

An Open Letter To Andy Serkis #AltDevBlogADay

While not directly MotionBuilder related it is very good discussion on some of the current issues surrounding performance capture and animation and who controls the performance.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Weta Featurette

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.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - Comic-Con 2011 Uncut Panel (PS3)

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.


Area :: Blogs :: Maya 2012 Hotfix 2 Now Available

Area :: Blogs :: Maya 2012 Hotfix 2 Now Available: "Graph editor: cannot view multiple f‐curves on a character set"

With lots of HIK fixes, grab it while it is hot and fresh if you are using HIK or Character sets.

Area :: GDC 2011-MasterClass for MotionBuilder

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.

watch now

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.

Using the FBX Converter tool

A great update if you have not seen this updated tool, a great update including new viewers and browsers.

Maya 2012 : HIK menus and MEL commands (part 1)

Maya 2012 : HIK menus and MEL commands (part 1): "

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
//full body
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;

//pin Translate
setAttr "Character1_Ctrl_RightWristEffector.pinning" 1;

//pin Rotate
setAttr "Character1_Ctrl_RightWristEffector.pinning" 2;

//pin all
setAttr "Character1_Ctrl_RightWristEffector.pinning" 3;

Baking the retarget to the control rig or skeleton
//Bake to Skeleton without opening the options
hikBakeToSkeleton 0;

//Bake to Skeleton with opening the options
hikBakeToSkeleton 1;

//Bake to Control Rig without opening the options
hikBakeToControlRig 0;

//Bake to Skeleton without opening the options
hikBakeToControlRig 1;


Using the FBX Converter tool

Using the FBX Converter tool

Not the most energetic video but covers the new updated tools and gives some workflow use ideas.

Personally I use this tool more for up converting older files but the new animation take options are worth looking over.

Know Don’t Tell #AltDevBlogADay

Know Don’t Tell

Read it and pass it along, very well written about what is right and wrong with how performance capture and the state of animator bashing.

EA MMA created using Maya, MotionBuilder and Human IK

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-

Area :: Blogs :: 3ds Max and Motion Builder Workflow (and a bit of Kinect)

Area :: Blogs :: 3ds Max and Motion Builder Workflow (and a bit of Kinect)

RT @Autodesk_ME: Louis Marcoux shows you how to use #3dsMax, #MotionBuilder and the #Kinect for at home motion capture:

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!

Additive Animation creation for Motionbuilder � eduardo simioni

Additive Animation for Motionbuilder Python Script

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."

Mocappys - Motion Capture Made Easy...or easier at least!

Well, I am not sure it makes it easy but there are some good reads and tutorials on this site for working in MotionBuilder.

I like his

Quick Start Guide to Motion Capture

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!"

Web Questions and Answers for Autodesk MotionBuilder

Between running Rigging Dojo and other things I have been trying to checking in with the questions being posted on various forums for MotionBuilder.

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.
    (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 takes

    The 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.
Hope this helps some people out, and Fan/Like the Rigging Dojo Facebook page for future surprise question and answers live by myself or other RD guys where I will take MotionBuilder questions live and it will be free.

MoBu script: additive animation

MoBu script: additive animation

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 I don't have to.
His site is a gold mine for Mobu and programing, check it out.


FBX Converter Service - Mac OSX

Grab my FBX Converter Service - Polygons, Pixels & Paint

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.


LightWave and FBX


I know there are still many people working with LightWave,check out a nice video guide with sample file for
working with FBX.

The Area :: Blogs :: What the heck is HIK anyway?

The Area :: Blogs :: What the heck is HIK anyway?

This should help clear up any confusion over the names and systems that are in MotionBuilder and Maya right now, Great post with lots of good video examples.

Autodesk - Autodesk MotionBuilder Services & Support - Sample Files

MotionBuilder motion capture samples 2011

A set of moves that are worth having for testing and training reasons.

Mobu Python - Scripts

MotionBuilder Python - Scripts

I just found this site and wanted to share it, there are some good helpfull MotionBuilder python scripts on there

both could come in very handy when doing MotionBuilder rigging.

Mixamo: Workflows_maya_fbik

Mixamo: Workflows_maya_fbik

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.

Introducing PyMoBu 0.1- Scott Englert

CGTalk - Introducing PyMoBu 0.1

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
Hello fellow MotionBuilder users!

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.
Scott Englert
__________________ <- personal website


EBook Now Avaible

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)
# of Devices Unlimited
Flowing Text/ Pages Pages

Click to Buy Now

Note: if you all ready own the edvd of the class you all ready have the ebook version.