Motionbuilder+Face robot+Maya workflow?

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  11 November 2013
Motionbuilder+Face robot+Maya workflow?

As the title says, I'm wondering is it possible to attach face robot rig (head) to an animated skeleton imported from Motionbuilder? Would head bone translation/rotation influence the face robot rig? You are guessing I'm planing to do body animation in MB and facial in SI, and export everything via FBX and cache to Maya for some muscle simulations. What are the steps involved?
  11 November 2013
I can't be specific but can point you to a few resources.
  11 November 2013
Yeah... I saw those... thanks for the effort, but it's not answer to my problem.
  11 November 2013
I have worked out and tested this entire process.

Basically you have to start it from the set up process in Face robot.

When you are setting the positions of the head and neck bones when doing that part of the set up, you want to snap those to the rig.

Here is an excerpt from my notes on this:

After the fit step:

Quote: Adjust the neck positions, position of the head null. And here for me workflow, I would be matching these positions to the position of my body's bones. So the base of the neck spline would be at the top spine bone and the top null for the head rotation would be at the base of the head bone.

And before solve:

Quote: Don't forget to check Keyframe option so that the Head follows the neck.

So basically what I did was animated in MB and then plotted to the bones and I had to send to Maya first and could then send to SI and it seemed to work.

Once in SI I had a rig and using the T pose of that rig, I set up the FR head to match it on the bones as above.

Now using constraints on the connections you can attach and detach the head as you work. When done of course geo cache in world space to Maya with the head moving in world space along with the rest of the rig.

The head is best if it remains detached so you have clothing around the neck area. But you can play with other solutions.

That is it in a nutshell. I have not done this in production yet but I tested out the workflow successfully.

Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  11 November 2013
Sorry for late reply... did I understand you correctly? This workflow will enable me to animate face while it moves around the scene, attached to the body skeleton in Softimage? Or the body skeleton stands in place in T pose? Maybe I should rephrase the question.... my idea was to animate body in MB (akcents, gestikulation etc) and then match facial animation to body animation while skeleton moves around with head attached to it.
  11 November 2013
Yes. It was clear the first time. :-)

Quote: Now using constraints on the connections you can attach and detach the head as you work. When done of course geo cache in world space to Maya with the head moving in world space along with the rest of the rig.

Further.... the idea is not to be tied to the rig unless you want to.

Face Robot does not care where the rig is in world space, only local space.

So to be clear it is two stages:

First of course is set up in T Pose.

For the Face Robot portion of the set up you do not attach the head rig to the Mobu Rig. But have the head positioned where it would be on the body. Bascally where it was in MotionBuilder. But it is not the same head you used in MotionBuilder. It can be but you wont want that. The Face Robot head has specific specifications with eyes tongue and teeth. And you want to use a dense mesh so you can set up your wrinkle maps in Face Robot. Basically a head that is designed from the group up for Face Robot.

And it is detached from the body. This is important. There are methods to reattache later I have read about but I have not done that. In my tests it was for a head down to the neck and just past the shoulders so it could be covered in clothing.

So in this step when you come to the part of the set up to posistion the head and neck bones as well as the spine base, you snap those bones to the MoBu Rig but do not parent or otherwise constrain them. Just use the bones as reference and snap the nulls in place during the FR set up.

The next step is after you have completely finished with the FR head set up, tuning and so on, you then grab the controllers for the neck and head as well as the spine base and transform constrain them to the same bones you snapped them to before.

Now you are ready to animate the face. The position and rotation of the head is all Mobu driven and the jaw and all other actions are the FR rig.

If the character is walking around or moving a lot you might find it a good idea to bring the weight of the contraints down and let it sit at the T pose position and animate there free of distraction. Then re attach. A workflow completely up to you.

Then with the head attached do your geometry cache it in world space - very important - for each part of the head mesh, head teeth eyes and tongue.

bring it all back into May and integreate with your scene.

The body can still be the original animation on bones in Maya but the head is GEO cache and will follow the body.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2

Last edited by cineartist : 11 November 2013 at 09:30 AM.
  11 November 2013
Thank you very much! You saved me from hours and hours of "research"... i.e. pulling my hair and banging my head against the wall. One last question, "transform constraint" in SI is equal to what in 3DS Max? Linking? Link constraint? Just to better understand you... my background is in Max but I really like those Maya muscles, and speed of automated rigging in MoBu. Once again thank you very much!
  11 November 2013
You are welcome. Yes I know what you mean. I have been there.

Excuse me it is not actually called "Transform Constraint".

Here is a list of the constraints and what they do: 0725

For this purpose I think you will want a Pose constraint if memory serves correct. I'd have to open the file again as it has been a while. Pose is similar to having a rotation and location constraint. And also similar to parenting but these things all interact differently. But they all have sliders to animate the weight of the constraint.

If you are going to be working in XSI at all you will want to be very familiar with that workflow or you will have a difficult time using Face Robot.

You'll want to spend quite a bit of time in XSI. Learn some basic rigging/weight painting,modeling and animation before you jump into Face Robot as it uses all of those conventions in set up and of course you will be animating in XSI.

I love Softimage but currently use Maya for what I believe to be a better character animation workflow all around.

I used Softimage for a while before even using Face Robot and it does take a while to get used to working in XSI. But you'll find features you which other apps had.

Best of luck.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  11 November 2013
By your description "Pose constraint" smells to me like "Link constraint" in Max... or maybe something very similar :-), right now I'm in Maya, some basic rigging tuts... ah the skinning, binding, rigging, weighting, painting weights... same s**t everywhere, only different terminology and interfaces, and different amount of instability and crashing to desktop :-).

I'm not the absolute begginer but I'm looking for fast workflow for realistic characters, and switching between programs after 7 years in Max is at least cumbersome (sorry for spelling mistakes, for some reason spellcheck isn't working).

One more thing comes in my mind... have you tried to "paste" the animation from MoBu via FBX to capsule objects/bones? Will that work?

The "research" part is what scare's me... I guess I don't have patience like I used to have long time ago... thank you again!
  11 November 2013
Don't get me wrong I know you are not a beginner.

I mean when in Rome kind of thing. If you are not familiar with XSI workflow spend time with it first.

I have not had any luck going out of Mobu into XSI in any form at all.

I send to Maya and then to XSI. Works. I think you can load an saved FBX into XSI but I seem to remember having issues so I did it out of Maya.
Richard Culver
Protfolio Facebook WIP1 WIP2
  11 November 2013
Yup, I had red somewhere it has problems because of those end effectors of SI bones, but also there is suppose to be a solution... I think it was to uncheck "end node" or "end effector" or something like that, during the FBX export into Mobu... but the way back... I don't know... I'll stick to your advice... cheers and good luck!
  11 November 2013
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