Softimage - Motion Builder Pipeline Tutorial

If you have come to this page it is safe to assume that you are a programmer or artist looking for a fun challenge! Rigging a CG creature is not the simplest of technical challenges, but if you follow this tutorial you will get there! You will need Motion Builder and Softimage, for a start. Don't worry about downloading extra software or updating your O2 UK Broadband with Motion Builder and Softimage you are all set! If you have any problems or questions, just get in touch. Good luck!

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Open the “Schematic” window and put together the hierarchy by Alt + Click and dragging the elements to their parents. Use the next figures as a guide on how to build your hierarchy (Figure 09 to Figure 10).

Figure 09.

Figure 10.

After building the hierarchy you can proceed to the enveloping process. Select Mocap Guy’s geometry and press the “Envelope” button under the “Deform” section of the “Animate” tool bar. Click on the bones of the hierarchy and right click to finalize the operation (Figure 11) (To learn more about the enveloping process refer to Softimage’s help documents).

Figure 11.

Exporting to Motion Builder

Now that the geometry has been enveloped we can export the rig to Motion Builder. Access the FBX exportation window by selecting the “Export FBX” option inside the “Crosswalk” section of the File menu. Choose a name and destination for the file and press the OK button. Use figure 12 as a guide on how to populate the” Crosswalk FBX Export” options window (Figure 12).

Figure 12.

In Motion Builder

Open the FBX file in Motion Builder, “Characterize” the rig, transfer some motion capture to it, do layered corrections where needed and finally plot the animation to the “Skeleton” (Figure 13) (To learn more about the characterization process read the “Creating a Character Template” tutorial, to learn more about mapping optical motion capture read the “Transferring Optical Data” tutorial).

Figure 13.

After the animation has been plotted to the skeleton you can clean-up the file by deleting any unnecessary elements from it, leaving only the skeleton and the characterization. Save the file after you clean it (Figure 14).


Figure 14.

Back in Softimage

Open the most updated rig file of Mocap Guy in Softimage. Access the FBX importation window by selecting the “Import FBX” option inside the “Crosswalk” section of the File menu and navigate the place where you stored the Motion Builder file. Use figure 15 as a guide on how to populate the” Crosswalk FBX Import” options window (Figure 15).

Figure 15.


This tutorial has highlighted the main points of a Softimage – Motion Builder pipeline. It has shown you how to take a rig from Softimage to Motion Builder and how to import it back once you applied some motion capture and animation to it.



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