Lightwave Skeleton File for Motion Builder Users


Regarding the problem with hand setup, I actually have problem with the whole skeletal setup. I saw Buzz’s VMTs (which are really great and enlighting). The thing is that Buzz uses Maya as an example and Maya’s rigging is a little different from LW in that Maya places the joints and then skeletons are formed, thus, the joints apply at the positions that MB can read. For LW, we create the skeletons by itself. Take the finger as an example: I usually create Finger_Base, Finger_Mid and Finger_Tip, and they will be enough to move the fingers. But MB requires Finger base, the 3 bones, then it seems to ask for the finger tip joint too… kinda confusing for me since I’m not good at rigging.

Thus, is there any place I could find out how MB wants us to set up our skeletons so that importing it would be quick and easy? Or can anyone show visually what skeletons should be and where to place them? A picture of the skeleton setup or the skeleton placement pictures would really help. Thanks.


Hi all,
I have tried this with both MB 5.5 and 6.0 Pro.
We are using a skeleton downloaded from this thread (thanks Dave 3d!) and it works fine in MB. but on import into LW as an fbx nothing happens. When we try to import as a bvh the whole rig bones are mixed up with only a few moving. we have tried plotting the motion in motion builder and exporting straight fbx. But nothing seems to work.
Do any of you Lightwave/Motion Builder geniuses have any help?
thanks a lot in advance
:banghead: :cry:


The one key thing I would stress is make sure you are importing back to the same rig that your exported, otherwise yeah, things can go sorta kablooey. :wink:

I bounce data back a forth no problem at all quite regularly, (well, until I had to re-install MB, but that’s a whole other story).

One thing you will find, you will have to zeroise the rotation on your reference null once you merge the FBX data, but other than that, it’s pretty goshdarn seamless.


make sure you are using the “merge” function; NOT the import…


thanks everyone who helped. looking like the merge definately helped! good ole motion builder!


Hey guys

Ok heres the Problem:

I have my Lightwave 8.2 scene set up with the proper rig and I have the mesh parented to A reference null.My null Zeroed in Lightwave and my Mesh is also Zeroed and facing neg Z.

Right I export to MB and all is dinkie.I do my thang then I plot the Skeleton and merge FBX back into the scene from whence it came.Heres were the problem occurs.

The Ref null Rotates 90 Bank and 90 Pitch…,which i understand seems to be a common problem however if that isnt enough when i zero the ref null its translation is wrong to?

Its like the plotting is only taking certain values from the translation of the null out of MB.

Some help would be greatly appreciated.


I’ve only ever had my ref-null be out rotation 90 & 45, never any translation problem. However, if you just zeroise the ref null translate and rotate - it should be enough to correct the “normal” hiccups merging causes.


Anyone have a quadroped rig for lightwave to motion builder?


It should be relatively simple to adjust the “3DDave” LW rig to quadraped based on the info in the PDF’s about rigging quadrapeds in Motionbuilder knowledge base.


Ooh - looky what I found :slight_smile: ‘cat skeleton’
At the risk of blowing my attachment limit since the history of time - here’s another rig (dino)
Seems you daren’t provide too much uploads - never knew till now :frowning:
Ahh well…


Thanks a lot. I’m going to have a play with these.:slight_smile:


Is there any news about LW 8.3 and MB 6 or earlier ?
What version of MB do you use with new LW 8.3 ?
Is there any newer-better rig for LW and a SIMPLE guide hot to use it ?


There is a couple of ways to fix this, I use MB6 and Lightwave 8.3 with no issues. I am creating a doc as to how I do this, but do you or can you upload the scene from LW and I can then give some suggestions.


This process works for me I am using it daily on a project.
I use dave’s skeleton. (the first post on this threat)

1- Modeler -
Make your character facing down the NEGATIVE Z axis. -Z
Add or subtract bones as you wish, just make sure you leave at LEAST … these bones…
Motion Builder uses these default names for bones… changing them is fine but makes this process more complex than it needs to be.


2-Layout -
-Load your character into the scene
-Convert Skelegons to bones
-Parent LeftLegParent and RightLegParent to Hips, (or whatever is the first bone in your leg hierachy)
-Parent the Eye bones to the Head bone.
-Save your scene and label it appropriately. Archive it as something you will need to constantly use.

NOTE: I don’t ever use a “reference null” at this point and I have flawless results.

(I use 2 versions of it… origonal “for_EXPORT” and a slightly modified version of it “for_MERGE”. Because I don’t like adding certain things that shouldn’t be in the EXPORT version every time I output my final motion files, but nevermind this and don’t change anything if you want to keep things simple to begin with.)

-EXPORT FBX - using the latest (7.5 I believe) fbx exporter for Lightwave
I uncheck the last 2 boxes (camera and lights) I have tested the other boxes if they cause problems or mess up the workflow or whatnot and I just stick to these settings because they work.
-Name your export file the same as your lightwave scene you just saved for ease.
This T stance FBX is a file you will use alot for making all of your motions with, so archive it preferrably in the same place as the LW scene.

3- Motion Builder -
-File - Open - your exported FBX file you made from your lightwave scene.
-Make sure you are in Display-Normal mode
-Drag Character asset from the asset browser on to your character’s mesh.
-Click Characterize.
-Click Biped
-If it says anything about bone rotation say Ignore All.
-SAVE this scene with “_MB” at the end. It’s my understanding that Motion Builder saves things differently than Lightwave does in FBX’s.
-File - Open your “Actored” ( whole other conversation ) motion capture data files, or animations. Use the MERGE checkbox on the loading options.
-Select the TAKE for the motion that you want to use on your character.
-Select your Character in the Navigator and double click it.
-Select these options -
Input Type - Actor Input
Input Source - Actor or your desired actor
-Check the Active check box.
(apply any filters or changes ie: foot floor contact etc…)
-In the Character Controls for your Character, select Edit - Plot Character
-Select Skeleton (or control rig if you’re going to make changes but I’m keeping this as short as possible)
I usually save at this point a version I can go back to and change if i wish, and I delete EVERYTHING in the scene except the LWS:FBX_Root hierarchy (as that is your character)
Save this FBX file as you wish noting that it is “for_MERGE” or “for_LW”. Thats what I do. As most of you obviously know … when you accumulate ALOT of files… this is imparative.

4- Layout -
-Open your origonal T stance file you exported the first FBX out from.
-Select the character’s object.
-Select the file and the proper take.

wazzunk! all done.


Thank’s for the skeleton and all the great tutorials.
Just one question… I did the process a couple of times and it wored perfectly…
But now, every time I try to plot the character, it automatically disable the “Active” and everything comes out a total mess…
any idea why something like that can happen?

Edit: Okay, problem solved!!


What was the problem ?


When I tried to plot the character, it disabled the “Active”.
So I went to Animation->Plot all and it worked…
and now it’s working either way. I guess there’s a reasonable explanation for that.


Thank You Have Solve A Big Problem For Me


Hi Guys, i’ve tried to export from Lightwave to MOtionBuilder the 3dDave’Skelegons, but when i Characterize a window come out saying: Leftupleg is not the direct discendant of Hips, Reference was found… what does it means?

next come out another windows sayng: leftuplegroll is 3.53 degrees away from it’s roll axis

sorry, i have another question :slight_smile:

next i drag a mocap file but in the Character Control\Edit\input i can’t select MOcapSource



Hi everyone,

I work on LW->MotionBuilder pipeline and look at rig at this thread… I really want to know, for what “left_arm_parent” and all other *_parent bones?

Thanks in advance