Motion capture Workflow – Vicon, Maya & Motionbuilder, HumanIK

vicon blade > Motion builder > Maya > Motion builder > Maya

Update: looks like this page is getting quiet a few hits, hope the workflow helps you in some way, if you are after professional help, don’t forget I am available for hire šŸ™‚

If that looks confusing, you should try actually doing it :p my brain is going to explode soon and this flu I have is not helping, but I think I’ve nailed done the basic pipeline for mo-cap for Anomaly. Needs optimising of course but for now it works.

  1. motion capture day with Blade, doing at least 3 ROM takes to audition the best labeling
  2. process ROM, check settings
  3. Create new character and TposeLabel character while in position. Adjust setting as needed for best results.
  4. autolabel ROM
  5. Calibrate Character
  6. Save Character if solve is good, and re-use for main takes
  7. Load characters
  8. Use Post processing tab to label and solve motion for takes, check settings
  9. Export clean motion as c3d and FBX
  10. import motion into Motionbuilder
  11. create actor and map optical data to actor
  12. Clean up data using rigid bodies and smoothing, follow autodesk masterclass tut. Linear auto rigid works best to fix small jitters.
  13. Save as FBX
  14. use story mode to slice up any in betweens
  15. insert character animation track
  16. right click – razor to slice timeline
  17. to bake a sequence, create a new take, than right click in story timeline ‘ plot whole scene to current take’
  18. export motion as needed.
  19. NOTE if joints break after plotting, try turning on “Automatic Regenerate in Optical Settings than untick.

Character creation maya >mb > maya

    1. In maya make sure geo is clean and ready to be rigged.
    2. load humanIK plugin in animation ( check working unit is in CM )
    3. use the skeleton generator to create a basic rig (fkik rig will be made in motion builder)
    4. move the joints centre joints
    5. move the left joints
    6. Use skeleton mirror joints ( rename left to right etc )
    7. REMEMBER TO “SAVE EDIT” saving the scene won’t save the rig edits.. :/
    8. dont characterize in Maya
    9. Bind skin smooth
    10. IF USING REFERENCE JOINT ( global move/scale/rotate ) , make sure that, NO WEIGHTS are painted on it in maya.
    11. Alternatively just create an empty null group node and use that as the reference joint. remember to use the naming convention of HIK

Add a Reference joint. You can use any object parented above your character joint hierarchy to put in the Reference field. MotionBuilder uses this node to translate, rotate and scale the entire character in the scene.

Characterizing in Motionbuilder

  1. Export as FBX
  2. merge into motionbuilder
  3. NOTE: if the merge throws up any strange errors or your model breaks check that the GEOMETRY in maya have their transforms FROZEN ( select hirachy – free transform )
  4. drag new character asset onto the JOINT of the creature
  5. it should auto name as the joints were made in maya using humanik format
  6. Note: If things break try – Delete the old Character imported from Maya, make sure you DONT click “extract naming template”
  7. tick characteristic
  8. character defination > control rig > create
  9. character settings > active
  10. hide FK and skeleton in actor controls
  11. test IK handle rig, should be moving
  12. IF USING REFERENCE JOINT ( gobal move ) , make sure that, NO WEIGHTS are painted on it, in maya
  13. In character settings, turn ON ‘ CONSTRAIN REFERENCES’
  14. save new version, chracter is now ready for retargeting.
Characterizing in Maya
Same as the process above for motionbuilder
NOTES ON 1 CLICK INTEROP 2012+ ( things to try )
  • Make sure control rig is switched “off” whenĀ transferring. For some reason if you leave it on, things will break!
  • In Maya turn on Control Rig > Align After time change, if you have interop issues.
  • If using interop – JUST SELECT the control rig when sending, no need to send the whole scene to Mobu, since it doesnt support all of mayas nodes.

Update: Just installed Maya and Motionbuilder 2012, still testing things, but looks like the 1 click inter-op is performing admirably so far, more on this soon.

references –


  1. hi, nice to meet u.
    im new in MB, and facing a lot problems, im using 2012, i am using the MB match up the model with the data then send back to maya, first is the refferences problem, if the model not final yet but i add MC data inside the model aready and also send back to maya, izit possible to update the latest model to the earlier model with MC?


    1. hi, not sure what problem you are having, but if you are using HumanIK you can rebind your new mesh onto the rig in Maya then remap the motioncapture data from your old rig to the new one. As long as you are using HumanIK


      1. hi, thank you much.

        now i have MC data(FBX), and model in maya file.
        we want render in maya.

        what i did is,

        1. open model in maya and file-send to motion builder.

        2. in motion builder, import motion file, and plot it.then send to maya.

        3. clean up animation in maya.

        is tat the right way to do it? or izzit has another method?


  2. Hi.

    Thank you very much for this info! It’s very useful. I already had the process in my head but having it breakdown it’s much better.


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