We’re considering migrating our animation pipeline from MotionBuilder to Maya. However our animation team is concerned about losing certain features, most notably takes. I’m curious to know if anyone has experienced a similar shift.
From the technical standpoint, we’re wondering whether we should even consider migrating takes to Maya (for instance, using layers as a replacement for takes).
I remember a GDC talk from a few years ago about this.
I think it was handled pretty well using Maya animLayers (mainly the override and parenting feature). It was supposedly pretty fast, although required a fair amount of work upfront to get the system stable.
Takes as animation layers is a hack solution that works well in limited effect but isn’t a replacement for takes.
The real TAKE system in Maya is inside the Time Editor…that as of 2022 Maya now seems to work faster and is at least usable with additive layers and less speed hit.
The authors of that video have moved their system to the Time Editor last I saw /heard from them.
That said, the biggest issue of going from MotionBuilder to Maya is lack of speed for importing and working with many files and animations, FBX can be fast to load if it is animation only but the HIK bugs in the solver and display refresh and lack of any kind of extra tools like character extentions and missing pose tools means you have to build up a large set of tools custom around it in Maya to get back to what you had. There are some advantages of course but Maya isn’t yet and won’t be for some time a MotionBuilder direct replacement, even after the last 10 years of trying very hard to do so.
Red9 tools from Mark Jackson are really the best set of tools for working with Mocap in Maya so make sure you check them out if you are planing on moving to Maya.
I’ve spent the past couple years working on moving our heavily developed MotionBuilder pipeline to Maya. The Time Editor seemed like a tempting fruit. We rely heavily on the Story window and tracks. We don’t use Takes quite as frequently except for initial retargetting. Both the Time Editor and Anim Layers in Maya have some issues that require a developer to work around without a serious hit to artist time. HIK’s split to body parts is not as simple and smooth as the integration of the Control Rig in MotionBuilder . Animation layers used per body part within the rig requires manual removal of parts if using it on a per part basis if I remember right. HIK is also generally just buggier. Its significantly better than it was a number of years ago but still not the clean tool that the Control Rig in MotionBuilder is. As of Maya 2020, the override and additive features in Time Editor are not the same as MotionBuilder and often result in clashes that clear other anim. The Time Editor itself is significantly slower and loading and unloading clips is a drag in comparison to MotionBuilder. I know that they don’t necessarily want to make one of their software obsolete but at this point so much of MotionBuilder is already in Maya they really need to clean it all up and finish the job. I welcome the day I can cleanly make the full switch, but for my studio it isn’t quite that day.
Thanks for the plug Brad. If you’re looking for MoBu / Maya workflows we’ve been working really hard over the last 7 years on the foundations of our Red9 ProPack pipelines which are now in some of the biggest games studios around. Anim remapping, pose systems, custom anim formats, timecode handlers, full export support, batch file browser and the list goes on. Red9 StudioPack on the Autodesk Exchange App site has fallen behind, primarily as we’ve been concentrating on ProPack and supporting our client asset work.
If you fancy a demo build of ProPack let me know, we’re just about to launch our new website with a proper subscription and license management model integrated.