MotionBuilder 2009

MotionBuilder 2009 is a new version of an Autodesk 3D tool which focuses exclusively on animation and all things animated. It is often used to edit data in motion-capture pipelines for both film effects and videogames, but the extensive toolset is geared toward creating and managing complex character animation.

The newest features seem to focus mainly on physical dynamics calculation to enhance realism of the animator’s work, thus simplifying the process by leaving the grunt work (read: mathematical calculations) to the CPUs and the creative work to the artists. So now, with rigid body dynamics, you can have objects fall on your character and not interpenetrate during collision. Artists can also animate in reaction to colliding objects.

But wait, the physics fun doesn’t stop there: A ‘ragdoll’ has been implemented so that realistic falls and collapses can be calculated utilizing the constraints in the rig to prevent the character’s body from bending in improper ways while he’s been affected by gravity or by falling rigid bodies

The remaining features’and I assure you there’s a laundry list of them’have to do with pipeline development and tools to expand MotionBuilder’s interoperability with its sibling 3D programs in the Autodesk world. Python support and editing tools have be bolstered. FBX file format support has been increased so that models, rigs and animation data can be moved from MB to Maya, Max or other 3D programs that are FBX friendly. And, the code has been opened up to 64-bit for taking advantage of the faster procs.

Lastly, MotionBuilder now has the ubiquitous Steering Wheel and ViewCube’thereby completing its journey to manhood’i.e. becoming an Autodesk product!

Website: www.autodesk.com

Price: Software: $3,995

Upgrade from 7.5: $995