Seeking advice on plotting settings


When I plot my animations to my CR or back to skeleton, honestly I don’t know whether to use rotation filters, and which one - or Smart Plot. I just click through defaults and hope it works.

Can anyone give me some “rule of thumbs” about what options to watch for when plotting.


Robert N.


Smart plot is for key reduction… so it tries to use interpolation to plot down the motion rather than a key on every frame. This is handy whilst working in MB if you’re doing manual key editing, as its more familiar and similar to a hand animation workflow. I wouldnt necessarily recommend it however for the final export, as only the key values will be exported, not the interpolation type between them. (this may be different if ur using the 2012 versions, send to max/maya, but I cant speak to that).

Now as for rotation filtering, that is basically to filter out the gimbal flips that you often get with mocap, owing ofc to euler rotation order. This, you may or may not care about… obv, if you’re going to a game engine, the euler flips are a big no-no, and the same can also be said for some rendering pipes where motionblur is required (as you’ll get a “pop” blur). As for how the differnt filters work (gimbal killer and unroll) they are each doing the same thing, but in different ways… so far as Ive ever known, there’s no real way to be sure which is right for a given motion… Unroll can work well if you’re using the “roll bones” in limbs (arm, armroll, etc), as it spreads the roll, allowing for less gimbal locking on the main joint… but gimbal killer can also be the best a lot of the time.

The best way to get a feel for the 2 rotation filters, is to try them out directly, and observe their effects on your Fcurves… to do this, plot with NO filter applied, so you jsut get your base keys. Then bring them all up (for a given joint, or even all joints) in the fcurve editor, select the keys, and use the filter controls directly (filters tab next to asset browser, pose, etc)… you can then do, undo, try the other, to see which works the best for a given motion on a given joint. Often, if its absolute perfection in curves you’re after (ala game skele) You’ll find that you want to filter some joints using one filter and other joints using the other… you may even have to go and make some manual changes to the overall curve data too here n there.


Thanks so much Craig. This is invaluable info for me working in MB. Right now I’m doing crowd scenes for tv shows, but I’d like to do more game character work, so your advice is really timely.

I wasn’t aware I could filter different joints with different filters. I’ve got to go back and figure out how to do that.

Robert N.


easy… select the joint(s), bring up their Fcurves, select the block of keys that you want to filter (usually the entire range), and use the filter tools in the filters panel (on the pane as asset browser, pose manager, etc)


Oh right, I use filters often on individual Fcurves. I thought you meant you could set up separate filters during the plotting process.

So your technique is to plot without filters at all, then go through - after plotting - and refine each joint in the curve editor with the appropriate filter. Right?

You just have to be careful you don’t end up with 2 different rotation orders on each shoulder or something like that.



yup, tahts right. Using the rotation filters in the plot dialog goes global on the whole rig, and is just fine for a lot of situations. But for maximum control you can apply the filters separately to the Fcurves directly. As a rule of thumb, I often tend to go gimbal killer on root/hip, and unroll on shoulders/hips(upperarm/upperleg). Elbows/knees/spine usually dont need filtering at all.

Doing ti this way ofc lets u see the results of the filter on the curves, and is quick and easy to undo/redo, moreso than with a gloabl plot filter.

Again… a lot depends on the motion in question, simpler motions are usually fine filtered during plot, and more complex ones usually need a lil more joint specific intervention.


This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.