MotionBuilder Fundamentals:

Pipeline Setup

My Complete Guide to Building and Testing a MotionBuilder Character Pipeline


What are the 4 essential steps every successful MotionBuilder project needs to start with?

1. Export your Character into MotionBuilder.
2. Accurately align it in a T-Pose and Characterize.
3. Transfer the Motion Capture Data cleanly and precisely.
4. Import the finished animation back onto your Character.
Get them right and not only will it save you time, money, and frustration...
But, you’ll also have more time to focus on transforming your motion capture into believable, life-like character animation.

Hi, I’m Simon Kay

During my 20-year career in motion capture I’ve used MotionBuilder at some of the leading video game, motion capture and visual effects studios.

I’ve used it creatively and technically in every step of the production process: prototyping individual character actions and shot layout; on shoots for real-time playback of single characters and entire sequences; for the final post processing, clean-up and editing of thousands of mocap files; integrating MotionBuilder and Motion Capture into new and existing pipelines; planning and directing motion capture shoots; and writing the tools and scripts that have help me operate an entire department single-handedly for over 10 years.

Enter, MotionBuilder... 

One of the first projects I worked on was a PlayStation 2 game based on the TV series Alias. To make the game more “NextGen”, the character’s movements needed to be as lifelike as possible, so we decided to use motion capture.

As the lead (actually, only) animator on the project, I needed to find the best software for working with this type of data.

Enter, MotionBuilder... or Kaydara FilmBoX as it was called back then.

Now all I had to do was learn how to use the software… while using it to create all the in-game animations… on a project that had already started… before we went on our first mocap shoot...

Suddenly I had a LOT of questions:

  • How do you rig a character for motion capture?
  • How do you get that character into MotionBuilder?
  • How and when do you transfer the mocap to it?
  • Why doesn’t it look right when you do?
  • How do you get the animation back onto your character?
  • And where does all this even fit into your pipeline?

When Alias shipped in 2004, I’d used MotionBuilder to create over 1,000 in-game animations. I learned a lot about how it works and what you can and can’t do with motion capture

Since then I’ve use MotionBuilder on hundreds of different projects at some of the leading video game, motion capture and visual effects studios.

This experience has given me a unique insight into what makes a reliable and efficient workflow that will transfer motion capture onto a character cleanly and accurately, on any sized project in any industry.

And this is the workflow I want to share with you today...


MotionBuilder Fundamentals:

Pipeline Setup

Get a step-by-step, behind the scenes look as I walk you through a complete project: from exporting your character into MotionBuilder, to importing the finished animation back onto your character - exactly as you would in a professional studio.

Each lesson is packed with all the production tested tips, tricks, shortcuts, and workarounds you will need to help you overcome the challenges you’ll face – even if you’ve never used MotionBuilder before!

  • How to organise your character to make it easier to work with. 
  • The export settings you’ll need to get it into MotionBuilder.
  • The secret to creating a simple and efficient character set up.
  • How to correctly align your character in the perfect T-Pose
  • How to characterize it, even when you’re not using MotionBuilder joint naming convention
  • …and how to do it again automatically.
  • How to transfer optical and skeleton motion capture data onto your character
  • The tools and techniques you’ll need to refine the results
  • How to avoid that motionless character when you import the finished animation

Course Curriculum

Available in days
days after you enroll
  Step 01: Prepare and Export to MotionBuilder
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Step 02: T-Pose and Characterize
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Step 03a: Transfer Skeleton Mocap
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Step 03b: Transfer Optical Mocap
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Step 04: Plot and Export from MotionBuilder
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Bonus: Working With IK Rigs
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Bonus: Working With Motion Capture
Available in days
days after you enroll
The course also includes everything you need to follow along, so you can start learning TODAY!
How to Rig a Character for MotionBuilder PDF
30 page downloadable guide to rigging your own character.

3 FBX versions of Jess
  • non-characterized,
  • characterized,
  • IK,
Optical and Skeleton Motion Capture Data

The same professional quality "Range of Motion" and "Walk" mocap used in the videos.

Basically, everything you need to build and test your MotionBuilder character pipeline.

All at your fingertips - recorded, transcribed and ready to refer to whenever you need it.

This goal of this course isn’t to give you a list of steps to follow that only work for one example.

The goal is to give you a framework you can adapt to any MotionBuilder project, so you can spend less time worrying about how to get the character into MotionBuilder… which software it was rigged in… what the skeleton joints are called… what type of system was used to capture the data… how to transfer the data to your character…

And more time focusing on transforming your motion capture data into believable, life-like character animation.

This course is for you if…

  • You’ve been using Max or Maya and want to add MotionBuilder to your work workflow.
  • You’re planning to use MotionBuilder on your next project, but aren’t sure how it fits in.
  • You’d like to see how MotionBuilder is used in the games or film industry.
  • MotionBuilder has been recommended to you, but you don’t know where to start.
  • You have some motion capture you want to use to animate your character.
  • Your mocap data looks great, but somehow feels like it’s losing something in MotionBuilder.
  • Your character stays still when you import the mocap from MotionBuilder.
  • You don’t want to use the MotionBuilder naming convention for your character rig.
  • You feel like MotionBuilder’s workflow is so abstract you’re struggling with everything you’ve tried so far.
You need to get this done As Soon As Possible!

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?

The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.

How long do I have access to the course?

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.

What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Will this work with other software than Maya?

Yes. Although I'm using Maya, the FBX Exporter is the same in all 3D software. The Import and Export settings should work exactly the same

Start Animating Your Character with Motion Capture today


One-Time Payment of $299

3 payments of $100/month

Spread the cost over 3 months