View Full Version : Game Devs, are you digging it?

03 March 2003, 06:10 PM
To you folks in actual production:

I'm thinking of hitting my boss up for a couple seats.

Was wondering what other peeps in the industry think of MB. Right now we use Maya for everything. But I'm digging the online tutes.

How easy is it really to move from Maya to Motionbuilder and back?

How do the Maya riggers like MB? How flexible can you get with your skeletal configurations?

And how animator-friendly are the asset management tools?

peace d=^)

03 March 2003, 08:33 PM
Hi Spakman,

Maya=Motionbuilder=Maya works great few rules to fallow but not anything to bad.

The main strength of MB is the character riggs that are built in, to use them you are limited to the skeleton requirments that it needs to make the character rigg.

If your dealing with creatures of some sort it can be used but with lots of hacks. Works great for humans though

The other cool things for just animation are layers, the motion blending, realtime playback, takes(keeping many anims in the same file.. lots of varaitaions can be made and compared easy)

The asset management tools...not sure if you mean can you
add VSS right in to the interface. no.

hope that helps.
I have used and beta tested filmbox/ motionbuilder for a few years now and it has alot of things that frustrate me but also alot of things that I could not do my job with out.

I thought Dave had a nice set if tools in maya for you guys to work with mocap data? I would be intrested in comparing workflows with you. Email off list if you want to.

Hope that helps,

03 March 2003, 08:58 PM
Originally posted by bclark
Hi Spakman,

Maya=Motionbuilder=Maya works great few rules to fallow but not anything to bad.

The main strength of MB is the character riggs that are built in, to use them you are limited to the skeleton requirments that it needs to make the character rigg.
Hope that helps,

I'm a little unclear on what exactly is limited. You say there are limits to the rigging. What about the bind skeleton? Is the binding skeleton also limited by MB? Or can you, say, freely set an arbitrary number x rot joints running down an arm or leg of the bind skeleton before hooking them up to the animator rig?

03 March 2003, 11:02 PM
I mean it is limited by what the chara cter/auto rig requires for the skeleton.

see pic.

you could have a low rez rigged skeleton and have a Highrez skeleton attached to the low rez one with constraints so that you
can have a more complex skeleton than can be rigged but you still have all the power that the the character rig gives you.. IK FK. poses etc..

03 March 2003, 11:06 PM

03 March 2003, 11:03 PM
Hi spakman,

The workflow from Maya to Motionbuilder to Maya is quite robust and straight forward. The FBX plugins (used to export/import your scenes) can bring in a wide array of elements from Maya. You can check out what goes back and forth here:

The acutal working of this pipeline involve the following:

- Model your character in Maya, with binding to a skeleton. This skeleton can be virtually any setup, as long as you have the required bones needed by Motionbuilder's Character Tool (which bclark posted above)

- Export this as an FBX file and open it up in Motionbuilder. Inside of Motionbuilder, you will then Characterize your character, which essentially rigs your character for you.

- You then animate your character using the Control Rig, retarget motion to your character, device control your character, etc.

- When you have finished your animation, plot the animation to your characters bones and save out the scene.

- Open up the Maya scene that you exported in Maya, and import the file you saved in Motionbuilder.

- You can choose the merge option, which will just merge in animation data to your scene, not changing anything else.

- Press Play....What you had in Motionbuilder animated, you will have animated in Maya...=)

The beauty of this system is that, irregardless of your characters skeletal hierarchy, you can characterize any type of character in a matter of minutes (as long as you have the required bones). The Chracter Control Rig system that our character tool provides has had great feedback from clients and users, for providing very predictiable, human motion. The advantage of this system, is that the more you use this system, the more proficient you become with it. You aren't 'learning' a new character rig for each character, which can be very time consuming and frustrating for animators.

I hope this answers your questions, but please feel free to contact us with any new questions you may have.


04 April 2003, 11:57 AM
Well it's no secret that we here at Sony use Maya and Motionbuilder. We produced The Getaway using Maya for modelling and facial animation, and Motionbuilder for processing mocap and in-game moves (back when it was plain ole Filmbox). The pipeline from Maya to Motionbuilder is extremely solid (weighting information, textures, etc all transfer perfectly). We're continuing to use it on new projects, as it allows us to previz whole cinematic sequences in realtime before we even hit the devkit, which is a god-send.

If you can convince your boss to get the seats, go for it.

04 April 2003, 03:19 PM
Hi Sasquatch, I had a quick question about your pipeline for mocap to your game.

Did you send all the mocap data back through maya and then export to the game or did you have a direct export to the game from filmbox?


04 April 2003, 03:28 PM
Well now that's a can of worms. :D

All the character animation (body movement, etc) was piped back through Maya and exported from there. Any object and camera motion got exported straight out of Motionbuilder. Facial animation was exported from Maya. It worked pretty well, although ensuring everybody was running the right version of the cutscenes was a bit of a trial.

We are however, changing this a little next time round, but as nothing's been finalised, I can't really say any more on that score.

Hope this was of some use to you.

04 April 2003, 03:37 PM
It is of help. Thanks.

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