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v2019 Autodesk MotionBuilder

Review:

Autodesk MotionBuilder
  

3D character animation software

MotionBuilder® 3D character animation software for virtual production helps you to more efficiently manipulate and refine data with greater reliability. Capture, edit, and play back complex character animation in a highly responsive, interactive environment. Work with a display optimized for both animators and directors.


Highlights

Features

Real-time 3D engine – Create realistic human movement with one of the industry's fastest animation tools.

Productivity-geared workflows – Access a unified nondestructive, nonlinear editing environment.

Motion capture editing – Includes production-proven tools to manipulate motion capture data.

Smooth interoperability – Includes a software development kit and FBX data exchange for interoperability with other 3D applications.

Take on demanding, high-volume projects:

  • Support for consumer motion-capture devices
  • Re-create elements of real-world cinematography with advanced camera options for Animatable Depth and Follow Focus
  • Combine, blend, and layer to block out or previsualize scenes in less time with an additional 100 useful character animations
  • Unified nondestructive, nonlinear editing environment
  • Live device support and live data recording to disk
  • Full-body inverse kinematics character technology with animation retargeting
  • Available as a 64-bit executable for the Linux operating system

See the Updates tab for What's New.

Subscription benefits

Technical support
Let us help you resolve issues quickly. Every subscriber has access to:

  • Autodesk support specialists—You can schedule a call, chat online (limited availability), or email us.
  • Remote desktop assistance—Get secure hands-on troubleshooting.
  • Online resources—Access our knowledge base with help documentation, tutorials, training videos, and community support forums.

Access to the latest software
Get instant access to the latest releases and enhancements.

Use software anywhere
Use your software at home or when traveling.

Access previous versions
Download and use previous releases (available for most Autodesk products).

Flexible term lengths
Get exactly the software you need for as long as you need it. Subscribe monthly, annually, or for 3 years.

Administrative tools
Simply and effectively manage software licenses, seats, and usage from your Autodesk Account.

Autodesk® MotionBuilder® 2019 software is supported on the following 64-bit operating systems and at a minimum, requires a system with the following 64-bit hardware:

Software

Operating System 

  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 (SP1) and Windows 10 RS4 (Fall Creators update)
  • Linux® Red Hat® Enterprise 7.3 WS and 7.5 WS operating system
  • CentOS 7.3 and 7.5 operating system

Browser 

Autodesk recommends the latest version of the following web browsers for access to online supplemental content:

  • Apple® Safari®
  • Google Chrome™
  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer®
  • Mozilla® Firefox®


Hardware

CPU 

  • 64-bit Intel® or AMD® multi-core processor

Graphics Hardware 

Refer to the Maya Certified Hardware page for a detailed list of recommended systems and graphics cards

RAM 

  • 8 GB of RAM (16 GB or more recommended)

Disk Space 

  • 4 GB of free disk space for install

Pointing Device 

  • Three-button mouse

What's new in Motionbuilder 2019?

Camera Switcher improvements

The following are improvements and fixes to the Camera Switcher:

  • Improved look and feel: The list of cameras in now displayed in a separate left pane, making it quicker and easier to select cameras.
  • Lock switches: Ctrl-select multiple camera switches, right-click the Switcher timeline, and then select Link Selected Clips to lock the selection together, making it easier to move and edit multiple switches at once.
  • Move camera switches: Drag the selected camera switch(es) to reposition them on the Switcher timeline.

New embedded media settings

New embedded media settings in the Saving preferences let you select a specific location for your media files locally and preserve their original file paths. You can also enable a warning that appears before saving a scene with embedded files.

Reduce file size with Clean Up Scene

A new tool, Clean Up Scene, has been added in the File menu to let you remove empty or unused assets from your scene. This helps you organize your scene and reduce file size.

Translation tool updates

The following improvements have been made to the translation tool:

  • Translate objects in local relative space: You can now move multiple objects in their own respective local space using the translation tool. Instead of applying to all of the selected objects like a global translation, the local translation only applies to the object with the translation handle.
  • Parent Reference Mode: Lets you translate an object along the axes of the object's parent.

Story Window improvements

The following updates and fixes improve the overall performance of the Story window:

  • Ripple Manipulator: The new ripple manipulator lets you scale a clip and move the position of all subsequent clips at the same time. The change in one clip's duration moves all subsequent clips later on the timeline. To see the manipulator, extend the clip length and track height. See Scaling Clips.
  • Sync Shot and Shot Clip Lengths: You can now sync the lengths of a shot and its associated shot clip when stretching one or the other, instead of creating loops. To enable this new mode, click motionbuilder icon in the Story window controls or turn on Maintain Shot and Shot Clip Lengths Synced from the Story context menu. This mode only affects shots and shots clips and does not affect other types of clips (animation, audio, video). Before using this mode, Time Discontinuity and Loop mode must be turned on.
  • Show or hide a clip's text: The following new options can be used to hide a story clip's text during playback and manipulation, improving performance in scenes that have many clips:
    • Disable motionbuilder icon in the Story window controls to hide text.
    • Turn on Settings > Preferences > Story > Remove Clips' Texts During Playback & Manipulation to hide text.
  • Shot display: Shots are now displayed on multiple tracks, making it easier to manipulate them.
  • Matching shot and shot clip colors: In previous versions, shots were always red, now a shot is the same color as its corresponding shot clip.
  • Show or hide shots: By default, a shot is hidden if its associated shot track is minimized or collapsed. Turn on the new preference Settings > Preferences > Story > Display Minimized Action Shot Clips to display shots belonging to shot tracks that are minimized or collapsed.

Play all takes consecutively

A new option in the Transport Controls lets you playback all takes consecutively. To enable this option, click the motionbuilder icon button until motionbuilder icon appears. When this option is active and the time cursor reaches the end of the first take, the next take plays automatically. Playback stops once the end of the last take is reached.
Note: If reverse playback is enabled, playback stops once the beginning of the first take is reached.

FCurves Preferences

The following options are now available in the FCurves preferences:

  • Detect Invalid Keys: An invalid FCurve key can be inserted in a curve following a computation error. When enabled, this new preference detects when an invalid key is inserted, and displays an error message if needed. The problematic key value is automatically reset to 0 and can be fixed manually.
  • Force New Keys on Ordinal Property to Step: When enabled (default), keying an ordinal property generates a Step key.

Character Controls: Pinning Presets

A new Pinning Presets icon motionbuilder icon in the Controls tab of the Character Controls window lets animators save frequently used pinning setups. It is now possible to save Translation and Rotation pinning values into a unique preset file, and multiple preset files can be saved with different pinning values. Presets can be loaded at any time, eliminating the need to pin and unpin the same effectors repeatedly.

Baking Improvements

The following new options are now available in the Plot All Properties window:

  • Plot Aux Effectors: When turned off, this option prevents auxiliary effectors from snapping their position onto their related effectors when plotting to the Control Rig.
  • Evaluate Deformation: When turned on, allows deformation during the baking process.

Control automatic popup of Character Controls

A new option in the Application.txt config file lets you control when the Character Controls opens. By default, the Character Contols opens automatically when a new character or actor is loaded. Set the new PopUpCharachterControlonce option to No to disable this behavior.

Control Human Finger Limits default value

A new Human Finger Limits preference (Settings > Preferences > Character) has been added to control the default value of the Character's HumanFingerLimits property value when creating a new character. The preference is turned off by default.

FBX Version 2019.5

MotionBuilder 2019 picks up the latest version of FBX (2019.5), which provides various bug fixes.

Support for DDS bc6 and bc7 video formats

It is now possible to open a DDS image file compressed with the bc6 or bc7 format natively in MotionBuilder.

LTC device support

The LTC device is now available if you are running MotionBuilder on Linux.

Run MotionBuilder in batch mode

MotionBuilder can now be run in batch mode, letting you execute commands without the interface. To do so, the -batch flag must be used when starting MotionBuilder. The batch flag is usually used for executing a Python script, which can be set with the -F flag.
Note: The -batch command is not used for batch rendering.

Time precision improvements

MotionBuilder 2019 introduces a more accurate tick rate, and the precision of the working rate has been adjusted to match Maya. While working the new rate is used, but while saving the legacy rate is used. This results in greater precision while working, but the same precision as the past while saving.

Set variables in Python console during start up

The Python Editor now reads the content of the C:Users[username]DocumentsMB[version]-x64configPythonpythonidelib_init.py file, allowing users to execute specific code on startup, like shortcut variables. If the file doesn't exist, MotionBuilder creates it. For example, after scn = FBSystem().Scene is added to pythonidelib_init.py, the shortcut variable scn can be used in the Python Editor each time the editor is launched.

SDK Help improvements

You can access SDK Help topics directly from the MotionBuilder Help table of contents as well as use the help system's improved search feature.

View Bug Fixes here

Creating a Walk Cycle in Maya

In 2015 I wrote an article about how to create a walk cycle with several tutorials and examples, plus, some animals, not just people! This article is a follow up, focused on Maya. Yes, we missed Maya Monday due to the holiday yesterday, but we’ll do it like the garbage man, and bump things back a day!

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