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

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  12 December 2007
I know this may sound simple but I couldn't find this info anywhere.
Using Maya Settings:
hold Ctrl and Shift and play with the number pad, this will give you control over play back:

C+S+1 = Last Frame
C+S+2 = Play Backward
C+S+4 = Move Backward 1 frame
C+S+6 = Move forward 1 frame
C+S+7 = First Frame
C+S+8 = Play
"If I only had a brain..."
  12 December 2007
Anyone know how to setup hot keys?
"If I only had a brain..."
  12 December 2007
Originally Posted by Kadastrophic: Anyone know how to setup hot keys?

Go to MOTIONBUILDERDIR/bin/settings/keyboard/ (or somesuch, dont have a comp with MB infront of me so the names might be somewhat different, but it s pretty obvious once you re there...) there s a txt file with all assignable hotkeys.

  05 May 2008
keeping it going

Well I would just like to comment on Mobu as an animation package. I have noticed alot of people note that they have a hard time keyframing in Mobu; when I believe it is the mindset of the artist that needs to be adjusted for the workflow. The problem lies within the power of the all inclusive rig. When you are animating in maya, by circumstance you have to take into account: am I in FK am I in IK? By default we all have our favorite default setting for how keys get set and so on. Well Mobu with all of its power tends to trip up the artist. You have to think a little more as you are animating.

I can't just arbitrarily set keyframes and then wonder why my arm is not moving correctly even though I pulled it around and posed it with the ik effector. In terms of keyframing in Mobu you only get out what you put in. There is no switching. There is the reach which can be keyed but if I want an IK key I hit Ik in the key frame rollout; FK hit FK. You really need to be in this thought pattern and pay close attention to how you are keying your character. It is different to other programs but once you get a workflow down that works for you it really is a powerful tool. More so for animation than motion capture.

Altering mocap in Mobu is great but for clean up, including smoothing jitters and such, other programs are more powerful and precise. I have done motion editing in several programs and found that Mobu falls short. A big downside is the marker sets. With nex gen titles and movies using larger marker sets for greater subtlety Mobu does not offer the complexity to rebuild data that may not be working or just isn't there. Interestingly enough , with animation being its greatest asset, Mobu is often thought of as more of a motion capture editing suite.
  05 May 2008
Some remarks too:

We use MB alot on a television series we're doing and we clean and animate in it (95% mocap, 5% key animation) alot! I find myself thinking that motionbuilder has 2 rigs, IK and FK (as it does have offcourse!) and a skeleton.
The skeleton ultimatly drives the character, the CR (Control Rig (IK and FK)) drives the skeleton.

One important thing to notice is that whatever key button you hit you will always make a key on both the IK and FK rig (always!). If you hit IK it also set the reach to 100 and with hitting FK it will set the reach to 0.

What I do to make tweaking the keys easier is to go to the key controls panel and select the animation dropdown the second from the bottom says "show keying group", put it on.
What this does is put the IK and FK nodes that belong to the bodypart you chose in the trackview. So now I can see both my IK FK and reach keys at the same time. This speeds up my workflow bigtime, since I don't have too continuously switch between schematic to select a different FK node.

Seeing IK and FK together with the reach, made me understand the CR a bit better.

@Adam, I wonder which programs you like better too alter clean/fix mocap data, I think with the filters and the layers and the timewarp we have some powerful tools to edit lots of keyframes "efficiently"... although I definitly see a lot of room for improvement on the filtering, on script access to automate tasks, and on bezier keys. And story mode is quite ok to make cycles.

Besides the absence of stretchy rigs (which we have a hacky workaround for), we use MB almost exclusively to animate bipedal animation with (Modelling, rigging, rendering in max).

Online: LinkedIn
  05 May 2008
alternate tools

Well...specifically I was talking about the method of cleaning; Not altering. Of course mobu is my fav. But for cleaning:i.e taking a set of markers, rebuildeing data, filtering out marker noise and then plotting to a production skeleton, I prefer evart and calcium. The reason for this is, as stated before, the limits on the actual optical cleanup tools in motiionbuilder are a little archaic. With marker sets getting into the 50's and 60's just for body you lose a lot of subtle character by limiting what markers you have to drive the actor. Not only that the rigid body method does not calculate near as well as other marker definition systems. Some times the human body stretches with sinew, cartilage, and muscle. I should be able to make a connection that holds even if the marker definition of those markers flex a bit. Aside from the head and the pelvis there aren't many setups in the human body that don't give a little.
  05 May 2008
Ok, I see what you mean, since I'm just a "motion-editor" and not a mocapTD like a collegue of mine lurking here somewhere aswell.. I'm mostly doing stuff after I have been handed the skeleton sort to speach, although we also have a markerset (magnetic), where I sometimes do cleanup in, but there it's a lot less markers then what you're talking about... and mostly I fix on control rig level and do a standard filterpass on the markerdata.
Online: LinkedIn
  05 May 2008
story tool

Some people maya not know this.

The story tool, when plotting data to the skeleton or ctrl rig, is completely dependent on the time line(transport controls).

Example: If I have a motion in the story tool that is 200 frames long and I plot it to the character with my time line at a 100 frames then only the motion for that hundred frames is plotted. Some people do this and then replace the motion in thier story tool only to find that some animation that they may have wanted to use later is blown away.

You can right click on the story tool before you plot and click frame start\end. Or you can mute the original track and make a new character track for the new move in the story tool

  08 August 2008
I recently had to reuse some animation from various shots (for continuity's sake) on a commercial.

While working in story, there were some scale issues that popped up. I would export a clip from one file and load it into story, only to have the various clips have one of three different scales. Although I was also able to retarget each file's anim via the character controls and get them into story by inserting the current take, I found a much faster and simpler solution...

  1. Story Tab> Select only the clip with the undesired scale
  2. Properties> solving mode> choose 'retarget from skeleton'
Side note: I haven't seen any issues with blending/keying the clips that I made this change to.

Last edited by mkapfhammer : 09 September 2008 at 08:17 PM.
  09 September 2008
Multiple Selections

here's a easy one; just found it.. sigh..

you can make multiple selections with middle mouse drag.

you can alt + left click on each object or middle mouse drag over all of them.
useful in schematic, FK, markermapping.. pretty much essential..

also in the character controls, alt + left click to select one controller, but shift + left click to select the entire body part.

Last edited by SeanC : 09 September 2008 at 09:16 PM.
  11 November 2008
....EDIT...question in other thread...


Last edited by Polimeno : 11 November 2008 at 05:58 PM.
  03 March 2009
Originally Posted by Rodi: 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,

I'm not sure what your settings are, but for Maya the hotkey to flip between Global and Local T/R is F5(Lcl) and F6(Gbl).

I JUST found this out after digging for days! sooo happy because I flip between these two constantly!
  04 April 2009
Let's do the TimeWarp!

A really fun tool to use is the TimeWarp effect. This tab (right next to the Layers tab in your FCurve editor) let's you create curves that manipulate the timing of your animation. You can create bullet-cam and "300" style effects by applying the curve to any animatable attributes. It has saved my arse many a time when I realized I needed part of a walk or a reach to move faster or slower.

Here's a quick runthrough on how to use it:
-- In the TimeWarp tab, create a new curve. this curve will only be as large as the start/end of your timeline in the transport controls window.
-- Set keys at the beginning and end of where you want to manipulate the timing.
-- Select both of the the end keys and move them to right to extend the span of time and left to contract the span.
-- To apply the timeWarp curve, select the attribute to change, and then click "apply" in the timeWarp tab.
-- If you want to slow down the overall action of a character, make sure to apply the curve to the aux effectors as well.
-- BE CAREFUL!! This should only be used when your animation is almost finalized. If you try to add/delete animation keys after applying the curve, they will be offset on your timeline. One way to solve this is by "merging" the curve to the attributes but this is undoable...

This is a fun one to play with but can get a little buggy when you need to readjust, so use in moderation
  10 October 2009
urgent help regarding motion blending

i have got one problem while blending 2 bvh file. when i am stabilizing between two bvh then blending is not going well. for example first is run bvh and second is jump bvh so it runs properly but while jumping the skeleton goes up and then jump so there is problem in-between. if any one can help then soon send me replay

  06 June 2010
If you would show us any video of this it would be easier to tell what`s goin on.

I`m guessin that you didn`t match both clips and they are placed in different places in space.

P.S. This might not be the best thread for this question BTW

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