View Full Version : Motionbuilder4 or Character studio 4, whose the best?

04 April 2003, 12:02 PM
Take your choice and explain why. :thumbsup:

Michel Besner
04 April 2003, 12:33 PM
For people that want to stay within the max environment (motionbuilder is a standalone tool), you can also consider HumanIK for 3ds max ($995)


04 April 2003, 05:46 PM
I would say go with MB, its cheaper than both Character Studio, and HumanIK, although I would love to try Human IK, MB is cheaper and I bet does about the same thing, only better :)

04 April 2003, 07:39 PM
Right now, I can't officially comment because I haven't got MB in my hands yet. Should be here next week. But I'll give you my thoughts. I do use CS4. Not an expert mind you, but familiar enough with most things (except scripting) that I can get things done with it, and like it a lot. Ah, but being a software junkie, (and a perpetual virtual student) I've just ordered MotionBuilder as well, to learn in my spare time. Isn't that nice? I've been comparing CS4 with what I can learn of MotionBuilder from Buzz's tutorials and questions to users already using MB. There are a lot of similarities between the two.

My inclination would be to say, if you don't have CS4 yet, wait; and perhaps go with the MB license (I mean, it's only $100 for freelance work -- good God, y'all!). See how you like it. It's a price most people can afford, and a great promotion on Kaydara's part. Look at how much interest they've generated in such a short time. Really good marketing, and just a generally nice thing to do.

Some advantages I see working with CS, is that you're working directly inside max. Also, CS Mixer has some extremely cool features to blend motions or clips, like blending and weighting specific parts of the biped from one clip to another -- like taking the animation from the head of one biped clip and blending that onto the body of another clip while not destroying the second clips head motion. You're able to weight blends between the two. Well, that's a simple example, but you get the idea. There are other advantages too if you're setting up a workflow for your production. Not sure how MB blending tools are, but I'll find out.

Now, one big disadvantage of CS4 is that it is still pretty buggy, and you're going to fight a lot of that until they release an update. Also, in the same fashion as the rest of 3ds max, CS plays well with some parts of max but NOT with others. So I find myself saying, "Now why did they do that; why can't I collapse the scale sub-animation so I can use it in the mixer?" (just one example I've been harping on for a while). And working with TCB controller keys is not the most intuitive thing in the world. There are lots of other small annoyances that seem like they could be better implemented. Just go to the CS wishlist at discreet and look around.

So, ultimately, I think you'd really like to see CS incorporated into max fully, in all aspects and for biped bones to be just like regular max bones with the ablitity to have euler controllers and position xyz, etc. etc.

Now, the reason I'm not looking into HumanIK at the moment (aside from the fact that MotionBuilder is only $100 for freelance --again, good God, y'all), is that with HumanIK, I'd be missing a non-linear editor, which is one of the main reasons I started using CS4. And the same for MotionBuilder. It's important for me to be able to re-use motions from a library in a non-linear and additive way. I got the feeling from a comment Michel Besner made that this might be included in future versions of HumanIK, but I'm not sure. Can you comment, Michel? If that is true, it'd be a different story for me next time 'round.

MotionBuilder seems to offer quite a lot and is also would be a good way to go between packages. For instance, I've had a project with a toon shaded character. I've built and am now animating in max. And while max has some fantastic toon shade plug-ins available, I really like the look of the Unreal shader for Lightwave. I'd like to render it there. With MotionBuilder, I should be able to accomplish this. It might might be a bit of work setting up the model in Lightwave and weighting it again, but at least I don't have to do all the animation again. Anyway, I'll probably be trying that first when MB arrives.

So -- man, if you've read this far, you get beer :beer:. Somebody should shoot me because I'm overwinded. But I guess I had wondered the same question you asked: Is MotionBuilder redundant if you use CS4? In your case, which one should you purchase. This diatribe is my therapy for spending the $145 on MB.

I have a feeling that I'm not going to be disappointed though, and until CS is bug-free and playing nice with the rest of max (and itself), MotionBuilder has a good chance to lure me away for the next animation project -- provided I can get proficiency with it pretty quickly.

Good Luck,
Mahlon Bouldin

04 April 2003, 07:41 PM
the daemon,
You can try a demo of HumanIK now. Download it from TurboSquid. It's cool.

here's a beer for you too. :beer: Alabama? good God, ya'll. I'm down in B'ham all the time. I like me some B'ham.

Mahlon Bouldin

04 April 2003, 07:12 AM

CS4 vs MB4 draw match by 3-3

Here are the goals:
CS4 have non-linear animation, MB4 not -> 1-0
CS4 have footsteps, MB4 not -> 2-0
CS4 have crowds control, MB4 not -> 3-0
CS4 is not real time, MB4 is -> 3-1
CS4 has a worse "control character" than MB4 -> 3-2
CS4 is not a standard, MB4 will be -> 3-3

DRAWWWW :beer:


Michel Besner
04 April 2003, 12:21 PM
PS : MB4 does have non-linear animation (have you looked at our blending tool ?)


04 April 2003, 02:36 PM
Hello again,

I have made a little mistake,

Hey, MB4 have won the match by 3-2 against CS4

MB4 is real time, CS4 not -> 1-0
MB4 has a better "control character" than CS4 -> 2-0
MB4 hasn't footsteps, CS4 has -> 2-1
MB4 havenīt crowds control, CS4 has -> 2-2
MB4 will be a standard, CS4 not -> 3-2

Motion Builder 4 WONNN :thumbsup:


04 April 2003, 08:44 PM
It's also a bit trickier to do a lot of precise inbetween key editing in CS4 because the way CS stores keys in the top of each sections hierarchy. You can get around this a bit with 'separate tracks' but that's not the most intuitive workflow either. The quat. function curve representation of those TCB values, at least right now, is slow and seems a bit buggy, too. And just the nature of TCB in general.

Mahlon Bouldin

04 April 2003, 12:31 PM
I dont think theres any question about it...I been using character studio for over a year, and it gets the job done ok, there are lots of things i like about it...but when i started to use MB (only a few days ago) i was blown away by how good and how fast it is. I can now actually get into the fcurves and really sort things out in real time. Character Studios Fcurves are so slow that it's not even worth bothering with...I know that Discreet will be addressing these issues and others with updates very soon, but i just think thats not good enough. It's not just fcurves i have a problem with in CS....In every aspect MB is superior not just over character studio but to any animation package out on the market. I havent been more excited about a 3d package as much as this.... ever!!! I have no doubt that in a few years time MB will be a staple of all professional animators...I still haven't got to grips with alot of things on MB and i can't comment on how the import export of chacters will work, as long as that is a smooth process then i have no problems with it...

BTW I dont work for Kaydara :)

04 April 2003, 09:20 PM
Cool. I'm really looking forward to using it.

Mahlon Bouldin

05 May 2003, 06:27 PM
One thing I really like about Character Studio over Motion Builder is that Character Studio has much better controls with the feet, in particular CS's pivot controls. Although most animation tasks involving the feet are handled easily by Motion Builder, It's very difficult to get precise control over the feet.

Character Studio also has IK blend pivot controls for the hands, so it essentially supports advanced Quadriped rigging already. You just need to rig it in accordance with Quadriped anatomy (where the hand becomes the lower part of the Quad leg and a finger becomes the hoof).

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