Working with MotionBuilder in 3ds Max - Part 5 - CAT Rigs
Once you have characterized your CAT rig and animated it in MotionBuilder, you import the animation back to 3ds Max for rendering. The process is a bit different from what you have learned earlier but easy enough once you understand the workflow.
- Recorded in: Motionbuilder 2011, 3ds Max 2011
- This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2011 or higher.
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Now that you have exported your animation from Motionbuilder,
you will import it to use on your CAT rig in 3ds Max.
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Reopen the original file in 3ds Max. You will start with a clean file.
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The process of importing a Motionbuilder animation onto a CAT rig
is different from what you have seen before.
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It is not enough to "update" the skeleton elements as you have done
with bones and biped skeletons.
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You need to add the animated skeleton to the scene and then "capture"
that animation onto the CAT skeleton.
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Furthermore, there is a very important rule to take into account:
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CAT spines, like back spines and necks, are based on procedural controllers.
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These will not work when using a capture animation workflow.
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For spines to react to FK animated bones, they need to be keyframable.
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If you select a back spine element on your superhero skeleton,
you will notice in the Modify panel that the control is set to Procedural.
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Change that option to Keyframed and then click Yes to dismiss the Warning.
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Select a Neck bone and do the same. If you had additional spines
to your character, you would need to adjust those as well.
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You are now ready to import the animated punch you saved in Motionbuilder.
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Insert the fbx file but do not dismiss the FBX Import dialog just yet.
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So far, you have mostly accepted the defaults when using this tool.
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However, in this case, it is not enough to update the scene elements.
You need to choose the Add to scene option this time around.
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This brings in an additional bones character that contains
the animation data of the punch motion.
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The trick is to retarget your CAT rig
to the Motionbuilder-based bones skeleton.
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This is done by using the CAT Capture Animation tool found
in the Animation menu.
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In the Capture Animation dialog, expand the CATRig Mapping rollout.
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In order to retarget your CAT rig to the skeleton, you need to use it
as a Target object.
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The bones skeleton is your source.
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Click the Source Objects button and select the bones skeleton's pelvis.
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Select the Target Rig button and choose the pelvis on your CAT rig.
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To map the two together, you can try using Auto Map, but you will
probably need to help it a bit.
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Select unassigned Source Nodes and drag them as Target Nodes
in the right pane.
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Do NOT dismiss the dialog just yet.
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At this time, the CAT rig is retargeted to the bones skeleton nicely
but is still dependent on it.
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If you select a CAT bone and go to the Motion Panel, the motion layer
that got created is still based on the source motion capture.
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This becomes evident if you try to turn off that layer.
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To make the animation an integral part of the CAT rig, you need to bake
the animation onto it.
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This is done by clicking the Capture Animation button.
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This creates a new CollapsedLayer motion layer, and this time,
turning off or even deleting the mapping layer doesn't affect the motion.
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Now you can dismiss the Capture Animation dialog.
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You can also get rid of the bones skeleton as you don't need it anymore.
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This leaves you with an animated CAT rig.
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If you need to relocate your character, you can use
the Layer Transform Gizmo to do that.
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If you need to make simple adjustment offsets to the animation,
you can of course use Adjustments Layers.
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With this movie set, you have learned three different workflows
between 3ds Max and Motionbuilder.
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Using a Character Studio Biped is arguably the easiest solution because it's
easy to create in 3ds Max, and its rigging is automated in Motionbuilder.
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A CAT skeleton is certainly easy enough to create in 3ds Max,
but the interoperability with Motionbuilder requires a little more effort.
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Both Biped and CAT allow for simple layer adjustments after
the animation data has been brought back to 3ds Max.
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Working with simple Max bones is the most manual of approaches
as you have to build a skeleton manually,
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and there are no easy ways to adjust the animation in 3ds Max after
you have imported it from Motionbuilder.
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However, you can always go back to Motionbuilder for further adjustments
and bring the animation back to your 3ds Max bones skeleton.
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All these workflows are acceptable and which one you end up using depends
largely on your own choice and personal preference.
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This concludes this 5-part series on Interoperability between 3ds Max
and Motionbuilder. We hope you have enjoyed it.