CAT Overview - Part 3 : Working with CAT data and Crowds

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  • Intermediate

In this third set of tutorials on CAT, i cover how to extact and load data on CAT rig. How to export animations from CAT to FBX, how to load motion capture data or bip animations on CAT rigs and, to finish, how to use 3ds Max's crowd system with CAT rigs.

From CAT to FBX

In this video, learn how to take a CAT rig animation and load it on a similar rig made of regular Max bones. When the animation is on regular bones, you can then export the bones and the animation to what you need. In this video, i'll show how to export the CAT animation to an FBX file. FBX can be used in a wide variety of applications and engines so this process can be quite useful.

Biped and HTR to CAT

Biped animations can be loaded on CAT rigs using the Motion Capture tool of CAT. The same workflow applies for HTR motion capture file. In this video, see the workflow to load character animations on CAT rig that are coming from various sources.

Objects Animations to CAT

If you have objects in a scene that you want to use to drive CAT animations, the regular Max constraints can be used to do that. In this video, see how objects aniamtions can drive body parts of CAT. This worflow can be used with motion capture done with clouds (like TRC) but it applies to much more.

Crowds and CAT

3ds Max crowd system offers a wide variety of tools to generate random and behavior based crowd motions. In the past, crowds were mostly associated to Biped Motion Flows. But, with CAT's procedural walk cycles, you can have a CAT rig follow a standard crowd delegate. In this video, see how to setup a crowd with CAT rigs.

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46 Comments
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| 10 years ago
This tutorials are the best....keep the good work man.
| 10 years ago
Louis - Very cool - thank you very much. -John
| 10 years ago
Super--Cool---It is very cool..tutorials...may if you have some time off. you could make a tutorials on The CAT muscle system..please:-)---)
| 10 years ago
killer videos, louis. i'm sure the TDs at studios using other apps besides 3ds Max will freak over this. skaale, there are some short videos on CAT muscle here; http://www.autodesk.com/us/3dsmax/CAT-how-to-movies/index.html //gD
| 10 years ago
very cool.....thanks .......Anup
| 10 years ago
Merci Louis, I know that you understand French language ;~) But i'll continue in English to be understood by the others. You helped me a lot with the firsts series on CAT and i founded a lot of helpful tricks that helped me on my Scolarchip Short. I had some Skinning issues but im sure that if i concentrate on CAT muscles, with the help of Josh Purple who does a great job on the forum, i'll found the perfect combinaison between CAT animation and CAT Muscles. Have you some tricks to show us about CAT Muscle (in videos), there is nothing on the web but the official Max 2010 features videos on CAT ? My last Words will be in French, and just for you ... Un grand merci tout particulier a toi, on dit souvent que le savoir se partage, tu en es un excellent exemple !!! A très bientôt pour de futurs partages. Encore Merci...
| 10 years ago
Very COOOL !!!
| 10 years ago
Nice and useful but... Saving an animation from cat rig make 3dsMax Crash... Any idea?
| 10 years ago
Greate sereies of tutorials. Well done. I've got one small question to the author. Could you please show us how to use CAT mussles in skinning process?? CAT mussles are quite easy to set up, but I have no clue how to combine it with Skin modifier. Thanks.
| 10 years ago
can i dowload this tutorial video
Hi Louis, thanks a lot for this series of tutorials they have been of great help. I agree with pierzak, it would be great if you could show us CAT Mussles. Also i have a small request, if it´s not a problem, it would be nice if you could show us how to set controllers for controlling a CAT Rig just like the default Marine. Thanks again.
| 10 years ago
Thank You Louis, You really help us...the freelancers. I haven't seen any CAT tutorials on the Net or at least some with very basic explanation. Yours are all Great! Thanks! by the way muscles would be cool... to janickbelley: Yes, saving anim from CAT makes 3ds Max crash...same expirience. Don't know what is it.
| 10 years ago
Thanks very much,Louis
| 10 years ago
Great post ...thank you...
| 10 years ago
I cannot get "Objects Animations to CAT" to play, is there a reason? Terrific tutorials by the way, you've really helped me grow in my profession in many areas; thanks.
| 10 years ago
I cannot get "Objects Animations to CAT" to play, is there a reason? Terrific tutorials by the way, you've really helped me grow in my profession in many areas; thanks.
| 10 years ago
Hello, I just "watched" the Virtual Conference by Autodesk today. I was totally unaware of the CAT process. I was impressed with what you did there and what you demonstrated here! I was hoping these demonstrations could be downloaded for closer review. It is difficult to follow when everything moves so fast. Maybe you can talk to Autodesk and they will make these available online. Until I saw your final presentation with the monkey and the baboon?, I thought it was "nice, but....." When I realized it was possible to put a character on the animation, I really took note. Is it possible to get a link to that animation with those characters? Seeing that as a goal would help motivate someone to be able to attain something like that. Thanks so much!
| 10 years ago
super tutorial! Thank You!
| 10 years ago
Love your tutorials! I have put a .bip onto a cat rig successfully.... but now I need to attach it to my mesh character. How do I do that? My character is in the standard "T "pose. Now that my cat rig has the animation/motion downloaded I can't get the two to line up properly so I can add the bones of the cat rig to the mesh. Help!
| 10 years ago
Very nice tutorials series. Now we understand CAT better. Please do a tutorial on mixing different animations into a final composition, so that we better understand how to mix animations, like we do in Motion Mixer.
| 10 years ago
Hi Louis. The CAT and Crow tutorial is really great, but i wonder if you can explain how to mix different animations using the crowd system so when a character is running he will use the run cat motion layer, when it's walking the walk catmotion layer and when it is waiting for the bus he can use the "wait for the bus loop layer". Thanks for the tutorials.
| 10 years ago
juang3d - Itotally agree with your thoughts. It would be absolutely fantastic to control the delegates via a layer or script. Amore indepth tutorial for CAT and Crowd is needed.
| 10 years ago
Nice tutorials. What about the MuscleStrand and Cat Muscle? Hope they come next.
| 9 years ago
Could I ask how to make a simple Scale animation ? example a tiny human grow up to a giant ... I've tried many times but it doesn't work correctly . hope you have a great resolution . thank you.
| 9 years ago
Salut Louis! The glitch on the rotation of the bones (first video), I think that is related to the rotation controller of the bones. You don't see it scrubbing the timeslider, because you're jumping from one keyframe to another. I think that if you change the time properties to scrub through ticks instead of frames, you'll notice the glitch too. It reminds me the glitch that reactor makes when the rotation controller of the simulated objects is set to eulerXYZ. Changing the controller to TCB worked fine with reactor... could it be the problem? sorry 'bout my english, moi aussi je suis francophon
| 9 years ago
Hi there A really usefull tutorial! Works fine for rotations and translations. Unfortunately it transfers no scale animation that way.. or I doing something wrong. I use a pretty simple rigg, just a pelvis and a spine on top. But I use stretchy bones and also animated the scale of the cat hubs. I guess it doesn't matter, that the bones stretchyness don't translate to the mesh rigg. But it would be great, if I could also transfer animated scale to the new rigg. Is there a way to do so? Many thanks in advance Marc
| 9 years ago
Thank you Louis. Your tutorials are fantastic - no one else explains CAT as well as you do. On that note, I'd like to echo what tuky666 said: it would be fantastic if you could create some tutorials focusing on CAT muscle and CAT muscle strands. In particular if you could show how one could achieve believable results for, say a shoulder, arm and forearm WITH skinning, it would be great. Personally I have a huge problem getting the skin to play nicely with CAT muscle strands. I can't seem to create interactions using multiple muscles that work (for example, deltoid, triceps). Generally my muscle strands don't push the skin out the way I'd like no matter how much I tweak parameters. As a note I use BonesPro because its a lot easier to get good initial results than with the skin modifier. Thanks in advance!
| 9 years ago
I really hope a lot more tutorials are coming up soon! :) Thank you from france!
| 8 years ago
i watched all 3 parts and its all nice... but something that would also be nice is an part where u learn us how to realy use the skin in a good way. couse ive tried but its realy hard to get it right :/
| 8 years ago
So I have a Biped with data on it. (this also happens with bvh). I set the source to the BipPelvis and the target to the Clown CAT rig. When I click on automap in the Capture Animation window I receive the following error: "Unknown system exception" and the Maxscript editor opens the CaptureAnimation.ms file with it highlighting line 255 "local liindex = FindCATNode catNode;" It is not able to auto map. So try to drag the hips from the bvh source file in the left column onto any of the items on the right side and it does not map. Any fixes? Where do I post a bug?
| 8 years ago
I'm sorry, as you can download these files
| 8 years ago
how to download?
| 8 years ago
Thank u I watched all 3 parts and I really like that:) but I`m missing some tutorial about cat muscles
| 8 years ago
very usefull tutos, thx
| 8 years ago
""""""""""""""""So I have a Biped with data on it. (this also happens with bvh). I set the source to the BipPelvis and the target to the Clown CAT rig. When I click on automap in the Capture Animation window I receive the following error: "Unknown system exception" and the Maxscript editor opens the CaptureAnimation.ms file with it highlighting line 255 "local liindex = FindCATNode catNode;" It is not able to auto map. So try to drag the hips from the bvh source file in the left column onto any of the items on the right side and it does not map. Any fixes? Where do I post a bug? """"""""""""" me to how can solve this problem pls help me soo now
| 8 years ago
Are you updated to 2012 sp whatever they are on now? When I updated my service packs it seemed to fix that issue with bvh and capture animations.
| 7 years ago
Hi, First of all, i'd like to thank you for the excellent tutorials on this site. I'm currently trying to get an animated character in XNA. I made a custom catrig and did all the steps necessary to convert it to a valiable fbx format. With this, I can get the animated rig into XNA without problems (with the snapshot and mapping method). However, when I skin my character to the new rig (the one i export) and export it again together with the skin modifier; XNA tells me he can't find the skeleton (which is weird, because he does find it when i don't skin a character to it). Any idea what might cause this problem? I've searched the internet but there aren't many similar problems out there apparently :s. thanks in advance, Hendrik
| 7 years ago
Thank you for tutorials!
| 7 years ago
Thank for the tutorials. The 'From CAT to FBX' tutorial help me much. Many thanks. This is my new problem. After follow the "From CAT to FBX" and import my fbx file in XNA, there is error message when loading: "Error normalizing vertex bone weights. BoneWeightCollection does not contain any weighting values." I edit the fbx file and found that, the objects that should be bones (the cloned rig geometries from the tutorial), are stated as "Mesh" instead of "LimbNode". Am I missed something? And, is there any quick way to fix it?
| 7 years ago
Hey Charles, I had a similar problem. If you want to export animations to xna when following this tutorial; you have to add a few steps. the most important one (when working with fbx) is the conversion to bones. I wrote a quick tutorial about it for my class; maybe it can be useful: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16508230/xna%20animation%20tutorial.jpg Your problem sounds like the first issue I adress in the tutorial. when exporting using fbx; the meshes aren't automatically converted to bones. Xna recognizes the skin, but not the bones. It's easily fixable: go to bone tools in the animation tab, select the new rig and activate the bone on option. Hope that helps, cheers
| 7 years ago
Thank Crowdsmurf. My character's bones are there again. However, the bone weights problem still there. I found some suggestion about it, is because of edge loop and T-vertex. I trying to figure it out. BTW, your robotman looking quite smart ;)
| 7 years ago
Thank youuuuuu for tutorials
| 7 years ago
I have to add my thanks because they are enormous :) Thanks very much Charles.
| 7 years ago
Félicitations, vous êtes un maître. Vos didacticiels sont courts et vont directement à l'essentiel. On voit que vous maîtrisez le logiciel. Dommage que ce ne soit pas en français. Merci.
| 6 years ago
Hi can you show us how to use the CAT rig with motion capture data. I'm trying to learn the CAT and I want to know the basic use of layer animation using MOCAP files.
| 5 years ago
Thanks alot , super good , it s incredible how good it s well explain
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