Did ya know...[Motionbuilder tips&tricks thread]

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  11 November 2003
Dont know if anyone has mentioned this, Ctrl+1,2,3, this is to toggle between world and local rotation and translation, it really helps me! Hope it helps you,
  11 November 2003

I recently used MB and Maya to do an animation test and it worked out great. You can view it here:

Turtle Test
  05 May 2004
OK....I'm sure everyone is familiar with this interface aspect in Motion BREAKER - the surfer dude in the character controls window?

Does anyone know how to change it? It would be nice if the pic reflected the character you were working on.

Too bad MB's interface itsn't as customizable as Maya's.
  06 June 2004
Cool Scripting in MB5.5 Pro

If you folks have some issues regarding batch processes and the like in MB5, you should note that MB5.5 Pro include a scripting feature that expose a lot of functionnality.
  06 June 2004
lets see now...

1. When adding layer keys use rotational IK on everything that doesnt require contact to another surface, it will give you better blending interpolation.

I find that the best ik setup for working on mocap is usually, TR on hips, feet, R on first spine, head and shoulders...everything else is FK

2. Pasting a pose on a layer at a specific frame means that character at that frame will be in your decired pose...however it does not mean that the keyframe must be on that frame. Ones pasted you may move the keyframe to another point in time to deal with interpolation issues like sliding feets and such when matching poses.

3. Keyframes on a 'Actor face' object can be used to drive a 'Character face' setup without mocap by the use of user channels in the character face. This can be used to simulate mayas setdriven keys on any joint. (Like for making a hand setup with sliders).

4. You may save a fbx containing only poses by selecting it in the interface and using the 'Save selected' item on the file menu.

Oh and for the guy asking about changing the picture of the character...all icons in motionbuilder are located in [MB]\bin\system\ in TIF format, the character icon is called 'character-picture.tif'
  07 July 2004
getting full color from imported texture

since we pre bake the lighting into our textures we don't use mb's lighting.
when importing our .fbx models from maya, we add a lighted shader, and a white material (changing diffuse to 100% white) to the model, then go into the models texture and check 'use material.'
  11 November 2004

Yea, Anyone have a skeleton setup for Maya6.

Would be much apreciated.

Originally Posted by loked: Hey,

Does anybody have the same skeleton setup for Maya??

By the way, cool thread

we don't love sheep
  11 November 2004
you can download a two setup skeleton from hightend 3d maya scripts animation .
  01 January 2005
using alpha on still/video images on 'video planes'

Using a 'Flat Shader' with transparency enabled turns on the alpha channel of still or video images on a 'Video Plane' in MOTIONBUILDER 6. This is not is the docs... took me a while to figure this out. MB is very powerful tool... see a practical application of this trick in the alias 3D storyboarding demo here:


keep the knowledge rolling-->


  03 March 2005
constraint alternative


I just discovered something that made my day so I thought I'd share with the rest of the class.

I'm animating a kid picking up a rock and carrying it.

I'm not using a parent/child constraints to keep the wrist effectors in place while the rock moves all around because if I use a parent/child constraint I can't animate the wrist anymore. What ever position I put the hand in last it stays for good because the constraint over rides all other animation. I heard multi-reference fixes this but I'm not sure how.

Anyway I found something that worked perfectly.

Auxilary effectors for the wrists!

I just created some Aux effectors for the wrists > moved them in a good spot on the rock > hit x on the keyboard > selected the aux effector > dragged it to the rock > selected "Parent" from the menu!

Then I used the "Reach T" slider to turn the aux effector on and off when I needed it, by creating key frames.

I get the best of both worlds!

My wrists stay where I want them and I can still animate the hand freely.

I'm sure this is old news to most of you. But for some it may not be.

Let me know if I'm not being clear on anything.
  04 April 2005
Edit Camera

Ever get tired of zooming, panning the perspective cam to keep up with your mocap data?

If so read on...

This is a simple way to have a camera always track the character you're editing.

It allows you to move/rotate the cam relative to the /character object so can always adjust your view but will always follow the character.

1. Create a target camera.
2. Create a null and align it's position to the Characters root bone/effector.
3. Move the camera so that it's looking approximately at the characters root as in a mid-shot of a character.
4. Ensure that the camera target is a reasonable distance from the camera body, but not too far.
5. Parent the camera and target to the null.
6. Position Constrain the null to the root node.
7. Play your scene.

You should now have a camera that always follows the character, but still allows you to orbit or zoom around the character.

Hope you find this useful.
  05 May 2005
save often.
  06 June 2005
mb to cs export


I know this gets asked alot but no one ever posted a working solution.

Can someone please tell me how to export bvh files from MB 6 into Max 7 CS so that you dont get the naming convention error when you open the bvh file in max's motion cap dialouge?

Please be specific since there is much room for error here.

Thank you
  06 June 2005
Keyframe in Story Window

If you do your keyframe animation in Story Window and maybe have different Tracks for Upper and Lower Body, make sure you have Full Body selected in one of the tracks.
Otherwise the file seems to crash sometime.
  10 October 2005
Talking Surfer dude

Originally Posted by jennifer1013: OK....I'm sure everyone is familiar with this interface aspect in Motion BREAKER - the surfer dude in the character controls window?

Does anyone know how to change it? It would be nice if the pic reflected the character you were working on.

Changing pics in MB interface is very simple
Go to
Right click MB:Show Package contents. ....\Contents\MacOs\System\Charecterctrl\
C:\Program Files\Alias\MotionBuilder601Pro\bin\system directory

And change the "character-picture.tif"
I putted some example pics at this link

And while your at it change the splash screen as well
Right click MB:Show Package contents. ....\Contents\MacOs\System\Splash\splash_animation .tif
C:\Program Files\Alias\MotionBuilder601Pro\bin\system directory

eeh don't know like a pic of your girlfriend or something
really belief me she will like it.

ok, enough of this.
back to work again
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