Maya <-> MotionBuilder workflow demo (part2)

By Steven Roselle - 1 Oct, 2009 - Maya , MotionBuilder

Hi there -

I'm off to Toronto next week where I and some of the other Maya technical specialists (a.k.a AE's) will meet with the Maya Technical Product Manager (Cory) and designers (Dan, Shawn, Ken, and co) to get a sneak peak at the cool new stuff they're working on.  For those of you that don't know, Maya is developed primarily in Toronto.  In fact they're still in the old Alias office on King Street East.  I have a special attachment to this city since I've now been going there at least once or twice a year for 10 years!  This is where it all happens (well not -all- but a lot)

 I'll also most likely have a few "business meetings" with my coworkers at one of the nearby "meeting facilities"...

So anyway... what was I talking about again?  Oh yes... Maya and MotionBuilder.  Below is the second part of the workflow demo.  This demo picks up where we left off.  We'll finish up a few things in MotionBuilder and wrap up by splicing all of the animation data back into the original Maya scene via FBX.

If you havn't seen part 1 you might want to check that out first

->  MayaMotionBuilder workflow demo (part1)

Part 2 is below...

Quick credit:  Thanks to Brett Ineson (super skilled MBr guy) for helping out on this.

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  • Maya
  • MotionBuilder
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b paula | 4 years ago
hello! Thank you for posting this, is very helpful. I hope your son's name is not Lambert :))) I have a little problem with my cameras. I animated them with curves and if I try to bake them like in the tutorial it is not working... They are pointing down and moving after the curve, so I don't know how to do it. They have to point as I animated them, not down. Please help me Thank you
Edited by paulab 4 years ago
Leo Taxil | 4 years ago
It is the only one tutorial I managed to find on this subject. Thanks. It is straightforward and instructive. Probably you could help me. It is about CameraSwitcher. I do and redo the same thing and I always get errors. The same. Probably you could guess. New scene. I place two cubes. I create 6 cameras. 3 cameras look at a cube. Another tree – at another cube. Thant is all. I create shot track. I place there 6 cameras and so on. As you do. But my new camera (as a result of CameraSwitcher plotted) does NOT take into account ALL my 6 cameras. Each time it starts to switch from the second or third one. On the other hand, the original CameraSwitcher works fine. I do not know what to think. Tnanks
Edited by LeoTaxil 4 years ago
Dave Lock | 7 years ago
Thanks so much for the speedy answer, very much appreciated. Thanks also for the feedback that a segregated workflow is possible (& more common). I realised you had set the demo up the way it was to make it easier to demo, but I was curious as to how it translated to a more linear workflow. Thanks for the explanation. :) In my previous post I meant to say (2nd para) "can at least one future demo of these 2 tools together (Maya & MB) touch on that subject (segregated assets workflow example) please". It would be excellent to see a video demo of a simple workflow with segregated assets such as we're talking about, done by the gurus. I've read on the net of some issues people have had (not necessarily with Maya) trying to use an approach of using externally referenced characters within their env scene & difficulty trying to get rigs to work etc, so to do all that char animation function in MB & then bring it all together with the env (whilst still being able to alter everything at any time) makes alot of sense to me. BTW, my opinion (as a bit of feedback) is that I hope MB isn't merged into Maya, Max etc. They are better to stay separate. I much prefer the approach that Autodesk seems to be taking of making the main software elements independent, but having them communicate & interact better. That, together with deals like your entertainment bundles to make the main tools more affordable, is the way to go IMO. Keep up the great work Autodesk!
Steven Roselle | 7 years ago
DaveLock - Yes you can definitely do what you are describing. In fact is is a more common workflow. I just included the environment for the sake of the demo but it was not necessary to have it all together in this way. More commonly one would just bring in a simplified version of the env as a visual reference for blocking out the animation. The anim would then be merged with the hires env later back in Maya.
Dave Lock | 7 years ago
Hi. I stumbled upon this excellent 2-part video tutorial. I am very impressed with how MotionBuilder can add efficiency to the workflow. Just a further question though - is it possible to have the assets segregated & bring it all together into a final Maya file? In this demo, the assets came out of the Maya file, were manipulated then that manipulation was fed back into the same Maya file. Is it possible to have a rigged character each in their own Maya file, bring that into MotionBuilder, then feed that further on into the final scene? I think that if it's all based around the same Maya file (as shown in the demo), then workflow bottlenecks can occur. If what I've described is possible, can at least one demo of these 2 tools together touch on that subject please. For a graphical representation of the segregated workflow I'm trying to describe, I knocked up this: Thanks!
Andreas Schmid | 8 years ago
Nice!!! Seems like Motionbuilder and Maya finally work together. Next step is to merge them into one software :o) Thank you very much for the great tutorials on this site! Keep on going!!!
Steven Roselle | 8 years ago
Thanks Brett. Yes as far as I know you should be able to bake animated cameras in the same way I baked the multiple still shots in the demo movie. Have you tried this? Also... I believe Brett means .fbx. Check to see that the Maya plugin is the most recent and try test the scaling issue again.
Brett Ineson | 8 years ago
Dylan you can bake and export your camera switcher data as one camera. Just right click on the camera switcher in the navigator and select Plot to new camera and your good to go. As far as scaling goes, please check the autodesk website to make sure your Maya .fx plugins are up to date. It sounds like you may have a versioning problem. best, Brett
Dylan Kelling | 8 years ago
Again, great tutorial. If you've got animated cameras the cam switcher works, but you can't bake animated cams from the camera switer to a new camera in order to export your animated camera work. If someone knows how to bake several animated cameras to one camera for exporting purposes please tell us. thanks. Also, still no luck with scaling issues between maya and MB. maya characters tiny in motionbuilder, motionbuilder characters huge in maya. fbx scaling options don't work for characters apparently, seems to work for other objects such as camers. tried untold combinations with no luck. not sure how people work with proper scaling between maya and mb.. scaling the character's reference node in maya down .1 seems to kinda work but its a kooky sort of work around. wish I knew how Steven does it so I can actually use the workflow..
Dylan Kelling | 8 years ago
Steven, Thanks for making these tuts, very helpful. An issue I'm having is with scaling, When I export a MotionBuilder character, Mia for example, she's huge in Maya, I tried the different scaling options in the FBX import window in Maya changing my default setting of centemeters to meters, but I always get the same size (huge) character in Maya, seems like the scale conversion is not working, tried Feet as well and characters are the same size, huge.. any suggestions?
Ryan Ochs | 8 years ago
This was very helpful. Thank you for this...................
Brad Clark | 8 years ago
nice job Steven, always glad to see more info on tool data path stuff. Maya with layers now makes the FBIK system really powerful for doing editing work.