mGear - Industry acceptance, and do you like it

Hello all,

I’ve been curious about mGear for quite some time, and from someone whose only dabbled in it, I like what I see. Plus it’s open source, it’s code looks tight, it’s constantly updated, it’s available in both Python 2 and 3, rigs resolve in real time lighting quick, support for HIK, etc. But how is the industry accepting it. Are major studios using it? Is it performing well? How do you guys like it?

We’re at a point where we can make big decisions about our pipeline, so I’m looking at all options from all angles so this is useful info.


Overall, mGear is great, but the one small downside of it, is that it requires it’s own custom plugins to work, which can be a bit of a trouble when we work with a few other contractors or external studios.


Yeah, requirement for custom plugins for the finished rig to work has always been a huge red flag for me, both in tools I choose for work, and tools I write myself. No matter how great it is, if it requires animator to install any custom plugins for the rig to work it can be a pain for both sides, even within a studio, not to mention when outsourcing.

For everything good about mGear, I’ve only seen Advanced Skeleton or custom rigs, I’ve never seen a single mGear rig. I can’t, of course, speak for the entire animation industry. Only primarily for gamedev, and just a part of it.

Curious to see more replies in this thread, though. I’m sure it must be used a lot more than that.


I was lucky enough to work with the original author of Gear (the one for XSI), and got to talk to him at length about design philosophy. I can say that Gear was designed for use in a studio setting. Ease of install (though important) would certainly be secondary to flexibility and pipeline integration.

Internally, We use what amounts to “Gear 2.0” named Harbie (with a French accent, it sounds like “R-B” for Rig Builder :fr:). I know that I’m coming in only tangentially (I haven’t personally used mGear), but from what I’m reading the overall structure remains the same. There are certainly technical differences, but that overall structure and philosophy has served us very well in production.

Also, I would be very surprised if mGear and Shifter require custom plugins. The default rig modules may use them, but you are more than free to write your own using vanilla Maya.

You could argue that the defaults shouldn’t require plugins, but I’m not sure I agree with that, specifically in a studio setting where the pipeline already exists to distribute plugins to all the workstations.


Plugin distribution is a non issue with us. We’re already using in-house ones already, and using 3rd party ones isn’t really much different - but yeah, if you’re sharing mGear rigs with clients, you gotta tell them to put these *.mll files in their Maya plugins directory for the rigs to work for sure.