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

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  06 June 2006

I'm new to MB. I have MB 7.5 and the gettin' stratin' guide mentions that you can plot animation back on the character, so you get back your keys and continue editing... (if I didn't get it wrong...), so I searched within the docs, but nothing... Is it possible to un-plot an animation, to get your keys back? How?
Thanks dudes
  02 February 2007
Great Post !! always new bits n pieces you never knew existed eh
By default when selecting using Motionbuilders character controlls ..it only displays the IK skeleton in the Fcurves without selecting the FK skeleton directly ,, You can turn these on by checking the " Display Keying Group" under your Key controlls .. this will allow you to view both IK and FK skeleton when only selecting in the character controlls window if you want to work completely in the Fcurves,,
On a total tangent to anim in MB,, a buddy of mine just showed me the real time effects Motionbuilder has.. very cool stuff ,,check ya camera options n within a couple of clicks (enable real time effects) real time M blur and DOF how does it crunch it ?! wooot

  03 March 2007
Originally Posted by 5p3c7r4: Hi

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

There's a limit to the amount of bones in the .bvh format. In the image, I've included as many bones as possible.

It's a good idea to select the heirarchy starting from the BVH:Hips node and down when exporting the BVH file. Not sure about Max 9, but in previous versions this caused errors.

Last edited by mkapfhammer : 03 March 2007 at 06:46 AM.
  03 March 2007
almost forgot... exporting can be tricky. make sure that you select the "hips" node and then select the branches before export>bvh. if you select "reference" as well, you can get errors.
  03 March 2007
FK Extensions made (extremly) easy

This might save hours of work for some (at least could have saved for me):


Originally Posted by Sammer: You shouldn't have any problems. One thing to keep in mind is, when characterized, if your unable to move the tail, deselect the 'Skeleton Trs' under 'Show' in the Character Control window. It's caused others aggravation before.
Good luck

So, if you have one bone for each ear of a character, and want to animate it with simple FK, you don't need to make custom constraints over nulls and the such: just add the bone to the extension and disable the option mentioned above.

And until MB has support for SplineIK, it's also usefull for rigging/characterizing a FK tail.

  05 May 2007
Originally Posted by VM: I'm new to MB. I have MB 7.5 and the gettin' stratin' guide mentions that you can plot animation back on the character, so you get back your keys and continue editing... (if I didn't get it wrong...), so I searched within the docs, but nothing... Is it possible to un-plot an animation, to get your keys back? How?
Thanks dudes

Hi, guys, I know it's been a while since the question, but still someone might find the answer usefull.I'm kinda new to MB aswell (VM you got a year head start on me ) Here it comes -
Getting back keyframes to the rig from an animation ploted to the skeleton in MB 7.5:

1. Select your character. In the Character settings tab choose "Control rig OUTPUT"
2. Make sure "Active" is checked. The "Default control rig" should snap to the character in the viewport. (if the rig is in a T-Pose offset from the character check if "Active" is on)
3. Simply click Plot and tell it to plot to the Control Rig. MB creates a new Control Rig for you with the keyframes that were ploted to the skeleton previously.

Hope I've been of use.
  05 May 2007
Originally Posted by VM: I'm new to MB. I have MB 7.5 and the gettin' stratin' guide mentions that you can plot animation back on the character, so you get back your keys and continue editing... (if I didn't get it wrong...), so I searched within the docs, but nothing... Is it possible to un-plot an animation, to get your keys back? How?
Thanks dudes

I know it's a year late, but the answer to this could still be usefull to someone.Here it comes:
Getting keframes back to the control rig from a skeleton:

1:Select your character and in the "character settings" tab for input choose "Control rig OUTPUT". Make sure "Active" is checked. At this point you should have a rig named "Default control rig" snapped onto your chararacter.( if the rig is in a T-pose and is not snapped on the char make sure "Active" is on for the input )
2. Click "Plot animation" and choose "to control tig" and voila - you have your new control rig with all the keys from the animation on the skeleton.

Any question, notes or comments are welcome. I don't know if this is the only way, but this is how I approach this.Hope I've been of use
  06 June 2007
switch off tooltips ?!


spend some time now to find the option to deactivate the tooltips - and failed :-(
Especially in the character controls this is irritating.

Is it possible at all? How?


PS: good idea to start this thread :-)

Last edited by ruediman : 06 June 2007 at 08:56 AM. Reason: spelling
  06 June 2007

sorry, posted it twice...

Last edited by ruediman : 06 June 2007 at 08:29 AM. Reason: twice
  07 July 2007
Here's a tip.

In Motionbuilder, the order in which you create objects actually matters.

You can test that with the following example:

1. Create an joint chain of two joints.
2. Create a marker and place it at the end joint of chain. This is the "controll-object".
3. Make an chain IK constraint with the marker as effector.
4. Make a position constraint with the end joint set as source and marker set as constrained. Click the zero button for the position constraint.

Doesn't work very good does it? You can't really move the marker so the setup isn't usefull.

Try the exact same setup but do step 2 (create marker) before step 1 (create joints).
Now that is a usefull setup, the marker works as a control object while constraining to the end of the joint-chain. Try it out!
  07 July 2007
Post time slider_FCurves

by pressing ctrl/shift and hitting left mouse button you can jump to the position you are currently looking at(in time) in the FCurves control window :-)

Last edited by ruediman : 07 July 2007 at 08:08 AM.
  07 July 2007
Walk cycle in place -Game Anims

I was just working on a walkcycle for the first time in ages since we just got fresh mocap material from the last session. When doing walkcycles there were a few ways to keep the walkcycle in place I knew, all of them had the downside of actually locking or deleting the forward motion, which resulted in also loosing the slight de- and ac-celleration that happens when one pushes the weight forward onto the other foot.
If you don't want to loose the de- and ac-celleration motion but need it to be in place, here s a little tip.
First off, get your sourcematerial to walk on a straight line via Story Mode, most likely you want it to start at z=0 and travel to positive Z or that s how we need it at least. Then when you got your straight line, plot it to the skeleton.
-Grab your Hips joint, now on Layer1 key the joint directly on z = 0
-scrub to the last frame, enter z=0 in the input field and key it.
This just gave me the linear counter motion to keep the animation in place without loosing the de- and ac-celleration detail. This obviously only works if the source material is linear as well...

  07 July 2007
Originally Posted by toonshady: 3. I don't know how useful is working in body part mode is. Perhaps it's the way to offset your keyframes on the rig so that not everything stops at the same beat. Some keying behavior I noticed: key any Ik or FK effector on a limb will set key on all effectors of that limb. Set key on the hip effector seems to set key like in regular body mode.

I actually use Full Body and Body Part equally, especially when Im using the Pose Controls in conjunction. For example, to place a pose you created with full body on, given that there are no active constraints or other influences, the entire pose will be applied to your character. There are many times however that you only want the pose for say, the hands, or the hips and legs. In that case, you need to have your character control set to Body Part. You then pick which body parts you want to apply the pose to, and apply it only to those parts with the pose controls. Ive used this in my workflow with both keyframed and mocap animation.
Also, particularly if im assigned to do some hand keyed animation in motionbuilder (which can be a nightmare), I will create all my key poses with full body mode on, and do breakdowns with body part mode on. It doesnt make sense to clutter your entire body's keys by adding unnecessary ones, if youre doing something like adjusting the arc on a part.
I dont think that you can really use Body Part mode to do offsets in motionbuilder, simply because the nature of editing your keys in motionbuilder is more complex. it might take a little more effort, but try to build your offsets into your key poses, instead of doing less poses and offsetting keys to get things like overlap. While doing it that way is okay in a package like Maya, in motionbuilder, keys are on the IK system, the FK bones, and ytour skeleton if youve plotted at some point. Most of the time it isnt as simple as just shifting your keys around, because theres so many layers of them you have to sift through. This is also a big reason why I prefer to use motionbuilder for manipulating mocap data only, and maya for keyframe animation.
Live every week like it's Shark Week
  07 July 2007
Another one for the relation constraint editor.

When connecting a whole list of inputs/outputs (for example connecting shapes of a character) you don't have to select 1output then 1input.

But you can select a whole bunch of outputs first, they'll stay connected to the mouse pointer, then click the inputs in sequence and the wires will be connected one by one.

Hope that made any sense in text form
Jasper Brekelmans
Senior Character/Mocap TD, custom Tool/Pipeline development
twitter: @brekelj
  10 October 2007
When you're in schematic view and have a big layout, select a node, hit any key, I mainly use 'q' and you can drag your selection around, without the need to click on the object, click anywhere! (this tip is mainly when using motionbuilder shortcuts, motionbuilder classic has dragging by default, but I don't like mb classic)

Heey Jasper

Online: LinkedIn

Last edited by JHN : 10 October 2007 at 09:47 PM.
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