Import from Max

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3ds Max and Motionbuilder Workflow for motion capture (By Albert Gea)


1. Use the “biped” that comes with 3ds Max for rigging; it’s the simplest way and the only workflow that we've figured out so far.

2. Skin and rig your character and remember to leave the biped root (crazy little diamond thing; probably default name “bip001”) out of the skin modifier.

3. Done rigging/skinning? Mesh deforming well? Great! You need to do a couple more things to make Motionbuilder happy: Make sure your character is in a perfect T-pose (arms horizontal), especially if you rigged in any other pose (45 degrees, bent arms, etc.).

4. Now save that MAX file with your biped somewhere where you won’t forget it, and export an FBX version for Motionbuilder to use.

5. Alright, now you can head down to the mocap room. Make sure Organic Motion is working and that everything is calibrated and running (check the Home page under "Start to use motion capture stage.")

6. Now open up Motionbuilder. Make sure it’s a new scene and create an Organic Motion input device.

7. Now “Merge” the FBX of your T-posed character.

8. Alright, make sure your bones are visible. The “Display” mode “X-Ray” will do this (top left of the “Viewer” window). Select one of the bones.

9. Now look in the “Resources” window for the “Asset Browser” tab; under “Templates” look through “Characters”. See the one named “3ds Max Biped Template”? Yes, that is exactly what you need.

10. Drag and drop that template on to the bone you selected. The “Characterize"option should pop up; click it.

11. Nothing will appear to have happened. However, now Motionbuilder understands your rig as a “character”. This is a very important Motionbuilder concept, though you don't have to know it unless you plan to work more with Motionbuilder (Motionbuilder "speaks" in the "language" of "characters"; by characterizing your rig, you've made it so that Motionbuilder can communicate with it).

12. But wait! There’s more! In some other workflows like Maya to Motionbuilder, "characterize" and you’re ready to capture; however, with the 3ds Max biped there’s a little weirdness that you have to sort out.

13. Go up to the “Character Tools” Window in the top right and select the “Characterization Tool” tab. Go down to the “Name Match” tab underneath that. In the hierarchy of bones, under "Body" should be "Base" and under that you should find “Hips”. It is probably assigned to the biped root joint right now (bip001 or whatever you named it); that’s no good.

14. Now to edit that, first you need to “Unlock” the character by clicking on the little yellow lock right above the “Name Match” tab and right below “Characterization Tool”.

15. Now you can select “Hips”: and look down at the properties below that hierarchy list. There is a field for “Bone”, which says “bip001”. Change that to “bip001 Pelvis”; you’re probably going to have to type it in. Click “OK”; Motionbuilder is probably going to ask you if you really want to do that. Tell it to buzz off because you certainly do know what you're doing.

16. Now, the root “bip001” joint is still important to the 3ds Max biped for whole body translation so we do need to do something with that. Look through that hierarchy again; under “Body” is “Special” and under that is “HipsTranslation” which is probably unassigned at this point. Repeat what you just did with "Hips" and "bip001 pelvis" to assign your “bip001” joint to "HipsTranslation".

17. Awesome! “Lock” the character back up using the same button from step #14.

18. In your “Character Controls” tab under “Character Tools” set the source to the “character” where the mocap input is getting mapped to.

19. You should be set at this point. Motion capture and remember to RECORD.