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Multi-Use Character Setup For TD's Vol 01

This is part 1 of a dual video kit geared towards setting up character animation data in Maya that was created elsewhere. 3 hours 22 minutes

Length: 3 Hours 22 Minutes 12 Seconds

Price: $29.95


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This is a dual video kit that details the use of motion capture concepts in cross platform application scenarios. In this courseware we will build a specific character rig, which can accept a custom mocap animation file, and automatically reshape it self to adapt the scale of the imported data. We then will create Import/Export data file utilities for this character, from and to Maya as well as any other 3D program. This will allow users to save animation data, or to export the animation into other 3D programs without the need for any 3rd party plugins. We will showcase this by applying .csm files ( mocap position tracks data file ) on our character, and will rebuild our character to save, import, and export this type of animation data to any other 3D program other than Maya. This is the ultimate masterclass in animation data interoperability. This course is for anyone using animation data to be use for characters, crowds or hero character shots.

Video 01:  Multi-Use Character Setups for TD's

MoCap Character SetUp, Creating Custom Import Animation Utilities

Previously, we built a CSM exporter in 3DS Max to save Match-Mover tracks data into CSM file to use it for Character Studio.

In this video set, we will go deeper into creating the import_ export_ custom character process from scratch to break the walls between different software programs when dealing with animation data.

Importing Custom Animation Data Into Maya

in This section of the video, we will build a CSM ( positional motion capture data ) the same file we usually use as a motion capture file to transfer a positional data as motion capture file for some programs ( max, endorphin .... ) .

why CSM file, because its special, it can enable us directly importing motion data from match_mover tracks of the woman ( which doesn't have rotation data ) to guide a custom rig, exactly like CSM file guides character studio in Max, and that will enable us ( as example between two different programs ) to transferring our character's animation directly ( as we will see ) from Maya into character studio in max and visa versa.

so, we will explain some of MEL ( Maya programing language)  variables, which we will use in the importer script, then we will program a CSM importer to bring positional data into Maya from famous CSM file. 

Custom Universal Maya Rig

( the same as motion builder universal character ):

in This section of the video we will go in the process of building a custom universal character to receive any kind of recorded data, motion capture or even imported from maya or any program FROM scratch, easy and explained, so we will understand the process of applying and extracting animation data usually happened in ready made character such as character studio in Max and characters in Motion builder.


Video 02: 

Custom Stretchy Animation Characters

Topics Discussed

  • Custom Auto Re_targeted Stretchy Universal Character and export animation utilities
  • Building a utility to round numbers we will build a simple utility to round numbers ( decimal values ) in Mel.
  • Building a Custom Animation Data Exporter or a save animation utility (Maya)

Adjusting the Exporter to work with other Programs

( import/Export )

We will try transferring the Maya's character animation into 3Ds Max Character Studio easily, and we will discuss other programs animation extensions. For example, Endorphin. That way we can import and export the animation data between other programs without the need for ready made importers or exporters. 


Custom Auto Re-targeted Stretchy Character

( Character who automatically adapts the scale of imported data )

In this section of the video we will discuss using some simple divide and multiply nodes ( hyper-shade's nodes ) to help us modify our universal character so it will be able to stretch all its parts ( limbs and head and spine ) to Automatically rescale it self to fit the data usually assigned to CSM files from different characters scales. We will then solve missing track data problems which still existed in Max's character studio.


About The Author

Hashem Alshaer is a 34 years old Palestinian VFX supervisor. He studied mathematics and physics in college, then graduated from an electronics engineering university. With more than 10 years of experience in visual effects, he is currently teaching 3D visual effects at Arab European University's Visual Communication department. (If you are located in that area, and are looking for live training, please email us at Hashem started as character specialist, then as technical director, and since 2006 has become a visual effects supervisor. He loves painting and sculpting but developing smart robots is his main passion. Currently, he is working at ArtWare corp as a vfx supervisor primarily for commercials and film effects.  Recently he began work on the company's first feature film.



Motion Capture, Mocap, Autodesk, Maya, 3DS Max, Endorphin, Mel, Data Translator, Animation, Character


Total length of 5 hours and 24 minutes.



Video-on-demand streaming is available through the website to subscribers. In addition, video files are available for download for those who directly purchase individual titles from their cart.

About Hashem Alshaer

Hashem Alshaer

Hashem Alshaer is a 14 year veteran and CG/ VFX Supervisor and Technical director. He studied mathematics and physics in college, then graduated from an electronics engineering university. He started his career as a 3D character specialist, then as FX and Tracking TD. Following that, as a lead technical director migrating finally to CG/ VFX Supervisor. He is teaching visual effects tools at several universities, fine art departments, and virtual engineering field to augment his schedule. His collection of work spans over many films and tv commercials and is working at 3Quarter FZ LLC, as a VFX supervisor and consultant along with other activities in virtual engineering fields.