Wings 3D + MotionBuilder Page 1
Wings3D-MotionBuilder Workflow (Aug 2004)
Step 1: Intro to the Workflow
First things first, some of my findings/opinions:
Without expensive software like Maya, Max, XSi, Cinsema4D and LightWave,
MotionBuilder is a pretty dead-end program for creating animated characters for
a 3D game. What I mean is, once it goes in -- it doesn't come out. Truly, MotionBuilder
was designed as a companion program and not a substitute. In fact, I'm not even sure
if MotionBuilder was designed for game animation! But I do know it's really good for
character animation and that animation can be used in games.
Only two formats in MB get exported with animation, BVH and 3DS. But here's the issue:
if you import just a model with no skeletal/rig data, even if you set skeletons up and
skin it with MB's vertex skinning tool, the model exported will be static.
What this means is, you cannot export skinned characters. HOWEVER, you can export
segmented characters to the 3DS format. These work
fine because they are dependant upon transform animation which gets exported nicely
into the 3DS file format. More on this shortly.
Now if you wanted to use MotionBuilder for making sprites for a 2D game, you won't
have any export issues since you are rendering to 2D. So you can make skeletal animation
and not have to worry about export issues. Just import your model, build the skeleton,
skin the model, characterize it, animate the character and render. You can even make
SWF files for Flash games!
Note: I am using MotionBuilder Standard which has fewer features than its $4000
Step 2: Out of Wings
Clean up your model. Export it out of Wings 3D, by clicking File > Export and
choosing either .3DS or .OBJ. If you have the FBX plugin installed, you can export to
.FBX. Switch to MB and import the file you exported (if FBX, just simply open it).
Step 3: Making Bones
Go to the Asset Browser > Templates > Elements > Skeleton Root and drag
a node on screen. Position it where you want to. Now with the Root selected, double click
the Skeleton Node and add the spinal bones.
Work in X-ray mode so you can add bones within the model.
When you are done, right-click to cancel. In the same way, select a spine joint,
double click the Skeleton Node and add bones for the arms. Do the same for the legs and
other parts of the body. I haven't come across a Mirror Bones option in MB. So I usually
recreate the bones or duplicate them. To make sure they line up properly, I compare
the translate values via the Numeric dialog. This can be accessed from
Edit > Transform > Numeric. This is a little grunt work. Standard users
could use some of that there Python scripting.
Don't rotate the bones! Don't forget to name them. More grunt work.
Naming them based on MB's naming convention will ensure quick characterization.
For this tutorial, I'm not making all the finger bones. That would be a lot more grunt work.
All this grunt work foreshadows something even harder!!
Grunt! Skinning!! Up Next!