Retarget ActorCore Motion in Maya

Feb 24, 2021 at 07:00 am by Warlord720

Last week we looked at retargeting Reallusion’s ActorCore motion capture library to 3DS Max, specifically the CAT rig. This week we’ll look at retargeting in Maya and see if it really is as easy as it seems to be. While I have used Maya in the past, I haven’t used it for much more than file manipulation on shared project assets.

So not being an everyday user of Maya let us see if I can get through retargeting without increasing my vocabulary. This is one of those... “if I can do it... you can do it” things as I’m not even sure if I still remember where everything is in this beast of an application.

I do have fond memories of working with Maya before it became a threat to 3DS Max and Autodesk stepped in, so I look forward to seeing how far I get.

On a side note, one of the wonderful things about Facebook for this author is the ability to connect with like-minded tech people so I’ve been spending time on the platform in a couple of private groups to interact with some users and see what they are looking for in terms of mocap and ActorCore was fresh on the mind.

There was a bit of skepticism as there is with most new services. While I could answer the questions of 3DS Max users I was totally in the dark when it came to interacting with Maya users hence a run through Maya retargeting to at least acquaint myself with the basics of the process.

We’ll start with the ActorCore provided avatar and then transfer that motion to an imported (FBX) Character Creator 3 avatar which matches the profile provided by Reallusion. This saves us from having to manually match up the skeleton bone by bone which, by the way, can be done if you need to use a character that’s outside of the Reallusion ecosphere.

First, make sure you are on the Rigging tabs for the top menu and workspace. To get started we’ll import the ActorCore avatar downloaded with the motion pack. Go to the File menu, select Import then navigate to the location you downloaded the ActorCore motion and avatar. There should be an Avatar and Motion folder. Go into the Avatar folder and select the motion-dummy FBX file.

Next in the Human IK tab select Create Character Definition then select a bone in the avatar. In the menu above the character map select the Load Skeleton Definition popup. From this pop-up select the rolldown and choose Browse. Navigate to the location you downloaded the free ActorCore Maya profile to and select the profile. Press OK to load and your skeleton definition should be green with a green circle holding a checkmark. The character is ready for motions now.

Go to the Windows->Animation Editors->Time Editor selection to open the editor. Drag and drop and ActorCore FBX motion onto the Time Editor. Apply and Close the Rename Namespace popup dialog. Position the Motion in the Time Editor.

Retarget ActorCore to MayaMaya 2020 with ActorCore motion dummy and retargeted ActorCore motions. Follow along with the video for more information.

If you want multiple motions now would the time to drag and drop them to the Time Editor window, then place them in proper order.

From the File menu import the Avatar you want to work with. In this case, it’s a Character Creator 3 character exported in FBX for Maya. This will match the downloaded profile. If you use a character without a profile you will have to match it up bone by bone to get the skeleton to work.

At this point, we want to hide the original ActorCore avatar to get it out of the way (select from Outliner and press H), but we need to keep it in the scene since it holds the animation we will transfer to the new avatar.

Choose none under Character to deselect the ActorCore character and select the Create Character Definition button on the right menu.

With a bone of the character selected press the Load Skeleton Definition button on the menu directly above the character map. Choose the drop down and Browse to the profile location to complete the skeletal setup just like we did on the first character.

Select Character1 as the source using the drop-down box next to the Source label. Your character should assume the pose of the original ActorCore motion character with the animation.

Once again go up to the character menu on the right side and press the drop-down button with the man icon and select Bake then Bake to Skeleton.

That’s it. It couldn’t be much simpler to get character animation from Reallusion’s high-quality motion capture library into your next Maya-based animation project. Coupled with Character Creator 3 you have a vast library of differing characters at your disposal.

ActorCore Homepage:

iClone Unreal Live Link:


M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years.  Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website. 


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