Whats about Life Forms?


EITG struggles hard to get FBX for their Users, that wont stop to critizise the seemingly misssing topnotch Characteranimationtools in EIAS.
Shure this will bring the Motionbuilder into the EIAS-Renderer, but sorry whats with “Life Forms”, at least Tomas Egger has obviously made some pretty nice Animations with it.
Whats the benefits, what are the Problems with this Characteranimationtool?
What makes Motionbuilder so much more attractive besides the fact, that it is an Alias-Product?


It really has nothing to do with it being and Alias product. What makes FBX so appealing is its universal appeal it has for the entire CG community. FBX offers the makers of all software packages the ability to inter-exchange data through a universal file format called .FBX. If you don’t like the character tools in one package, animate in another and transfer that animation data per joint rotations back into your home package. As long as your following some specific rules, you can seemlessly marry up two completely different software packages and create something even greater. Want to render your environments in EI rather than in Maya? Export out your camera and environment via fbx to EI and use Camera’s rendering capabiliites instead. Same goes with characters. Lifeforms is a good package but it doesn’t offer as much potential than having any other package that supports fbx at your disposal. Motionbuilder is just a program that puts it all together. Pretty slick.


OK, nothing against FBX integration. Shure it will facilitate the data-exchange.

But since nowadays many talk about Motionbuilder my question was more to learn about the actual seemingly not so popular Life forms, if someone has more experience with its problems and possibilitys. Here some of my questions:

  • It seems to me that it has other technik than the conventional Character-rigging with Bones and IK-handles. How do they relate to the Charactersetup in EIAS?
  • Could characters be animated, that are created as one single mesh?
  • What could make Life Forms attractive for the charateranimation in EIAS?
  • Could bvh data found in the internet be used and/or edited/adapted for animation purpose in EIAS?
  • In which aspects does Motionbuilder realy excells Life Forms?
  • Is Life Forms still efficient or even better for characteranimation when you dont use animation stuff of its huge Library but animate totaly from scratch?
  • Could you animate in Life Forms related to a soundfile?

I dont know if I realy cover all decicive aspects but invite Life Form users to share their experience.


I’m curious about this also.

Motionbuilder seems a bit pricey for what it does. Perhaps if they had a “Motionbuilder Lite” for a few hundred bucks with animation and export capability, but leaving out any other whiz bang features.

I know EIAS users in the past have worked with LifeForms, and even Poser seems like a possibility; i.e. walk generator and other character based animation tools. As long as you can get the data into EI (via .fbx or .bvh) who cares?

Maybe some ambitious programer will write a plug to move data from Messiah:Animate (p.c. only, drat!) into EI.

So LifeForm users, any thoughts? Experiences?



Hey Steffen, I have a bit of input of concerning LifeForms and MotionBuilder, since l claim to be creator of the first dancing Robot in '98. :slight_smile: Long story

Thats me at the end of the row. Next to my good friend Tomas Egger (YYYYEAAHH!!)




Some say Alias bought MB for FBX. It’s a scene protocol, not just motion. So lights, cameras, geometry, motion and textures can be exhanged. UV editing is something I have needed for a very long time, until FBX became a standard with EI I just didnt’ get it. Also, Be nice if After Effects also adhered to FBX as a simple, unconvoluted way to exchange data with EI.

LF vs MB. Obviously, both apps are capable of doing great work. The better question is what do you want to do with Mocap or character tools. For the money, MB is newer and more up-to-date Character tools. The differences are slight tho, it’s the nuisance that start to separate. To me, MB basically extends and expounds on what is in LF.

For example, both do IK rigs, and have an separate interface for working with the IK rig. However MB has a GUI for the rig constraints that are very much like current Maya script interface. MB has a nice floor contact control for feet and hands with finger and tool controls.

On the other hand, LifeForms can remap BVH like nothing I have ever seen. :buttrock: So you can find free mocap data, but sometimes I have to run it thru Lifeforms before I can use it in MB. Maybe just because I know it better. LifeForms also comes with tons of Mocap and animation with PowerMoves. MB does morph target for facial animation, LifeForms doesnt. MB also for all types of rigging, handles and expressions. Both do mocap editing, but MB does a unique blending.

Lifeforms is an extremely wonderful product and the cost is excellent compared to other apps that do relatively the same thing. LF to MB is much like Maya to EI. If you aren’t targeting a standard to be an employee other studios, then LifeForms is an very conservative cost tool for the smaller studio.

There is a lite version of motionbuilder that is about 1k. For the money I believe LF offers more and it’s been around for a very long time.

LifeForms is very easy to learn and very Mac-ish feel. You can learn it free MotionBuilder from 3DBuzz.com. There’s a free version to learn from Alias.
I’m learning MotionBuilder because I know LifeForm already.

Hope that adds some insight.


Great. This is the Answer I was looking for.

LF to MB is much like Maya to EI.

I felt like this but realy havent had enough experience to judge like this.
This reply was realy helpful.
Thanks alot.


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