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


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 :slight_smile:


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…



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.


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 :slight_smile:


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 :slight_smile:



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


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.



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.


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).



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.


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.


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



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…

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


here’s a easy one; just found it… sigh… :banghead:

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.




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!


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


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



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

Im guessin that you didnt 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;)