"Retargeting" or better: how to setup a custom rig for MoCap?


Hi folks!

I have some pretty good FBX MoCaps here and I would like to use them with my characters. Problem: My rig is completely custom, sizes and joint-orientations are completely off, same goes for naming and hirachy. Is there a good workflow how to tackle this?

Right now I have slots for all kinds of joints, but it is a p.i.t.a. to adjust everything :confused:

Would be grateful for ideas! :smiley:

Kind regards



I am getting a similar issue now - I guess I would need to write a new retargeting plugin that allows for more detail adjustments than the built-in one. Not sure how it will handle vast differences in skeleton though; this may require doing more than just copying and adapting rotational values.

We really should sit together and chew the rug.

btw, still got that fur issue?


A plugin would be pretty epic…but right now I wouldn’t have a precise demandlist on what it should do other then “make it work.” With adaptable orientation and sizes etc…

For the fur part: I put it on ice for now, I can achieve OK results with the onboard fur, so the pressure isn’t that bad :slight_smile:


Honestly I think there’s a tendency for people to really overthink the mocap+retargeting thing.

I did this test recently - I started with a pretty poor mocap file I found of a person doing a forward roll.


My workflow was basically :

1 Retimed the mocap to make the action more dynamic (real life timing is often a little dull… )
2 Scaled up the mocap skeleton roughly to match my character.
3 Posed my character to match first pose of mocap as best as possible and then constrained the main controls of my rig to the skeleton using point/orient constraints (I don’t go nuts here, the main body control, the chest Ik, head maybe and IK arm/leg targets and poles are pretty much it…)
4 Baked the animation to the rig.
5 Deleted the mocap and constraints and then hand-finessed the animation from there (the guy in the mocap suit wasn’t holding a giant axe for example :wink:
6 Added extra stuff to the end where he stands up (wasn’t in the mocap file at all).

The results after steps 1-4 weren’t pretty but they were a good starting point for finessing to suit my character. That’s pretty typical in Mocap really, it’s never a 1:1 fit in my experience even if your character has human proportions. Ignore what the marketing people tell you about this, they just want to sell you stuff :slight_smile:

I did it in Maya but the same thing should work in C4D once the constraints are working ok. I can’t remember if C4D has a ‘maintain offset’ option when creating rotation constraints but you definitely need that as the orientation of the rig and the mocap skeleton can be very different.



For retargeting, I tend to use Ikinema webanimate.

Interface is clunky, but the retargeting and cleaning algorithms are great.

Unlike motionbuilder for instance, which forces you to translate everything to the humanIK bone structure, you can retarget basically everything to anything.

Once you get how it works, it’s four clicks to retarget your motion and export it. It’s not too expensive and there’s a trial version if you just need to use it once.


I have heard many good things about Ikinema.
A Mate of mine did an animated Startrek Fan series
where he used Ikinema to clean up the data from his Hmanmocap suit system he used for the series.

Since I only use Daz rigs I find Iclone Pro/3D exchange
more than adequate for my Mocap retargeting.

They have one click templates built in that auto recognizes
Maya human IK,Max biped and Daz genesis upon import.
Of course, custom rigs have to have the bones manually assigned to the retargeting rig by click matching the name
but at least it is a one time affair as we can save unlimited custom rig profiles for later one click retargeting thereafter.

I am even using Iclone 3D Xchange to retarget motion to my primative Endorphin rigs to mix with the ragdoll Events I create with Endorphin.



If you guys like the Web Animate workflow where you connect joints in the scene view.
That workflow can be replicated in C4D.




Thanks a lot Scott, I didn’t know that plugin. Is it being sold anywhere?


Would Adobe Fuse (Mixamo) not also be possible? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzo2sp25gsA
I haven’t tried this, with mocap data though.


It’s not a commercial plugin. I just quickly banged it together based on watching the Web Animate demos.
IMHO. There is no such thing as a “Mocap System” that will work for every scenario. And also one that everyone likes.
For every person that likes the Web Animate workflow. There will be ten that hate it.
And if your rig strays too far from a standard template. There’s no Automatic Retarget system that will work on it without some sort of manual set up.

IMHO this is the cold hard truth about retargeting mocap data:

  • You can’t use one single kind of retarget system for everything. You need a few different approaches (workflows) depending on the CA you’re working with.
  • You can’t ask someone to make a mocap retarget system for everyone. Because what you personally like will be hated by others.
  • The best retarget system is the one you make yourself. Addressing your own specific needs. Using your own preferred workflow.

IMHO. What you should all be doing is making your own different versions of handling it. And sharing them with each other. NOT SELLING!!!
Asking for MAXON or anyone else to make one that everyone likes seems like a fools game to me.



Any chance you’d be willing to share your solution for a project I’m working on?