Retargeter - Quick Start (Character/Expression Setup & Autosolving)

Brian Genna -

Welcome to your Faceware Retargeter trial. This article is going to quickly guide you through the process of creating basic animation using the Autosolve functionality of Retargeter. This functionality is available in both the Lite and Pro versions of Retargeter, though Pro offers more features related to improving your animation with user-created poses.

*Note - Please make sure you have installed Retargeter and are able to open the plugin in the Autodesk application that you are using. If you are unsure of how, please see the Installing Retargeter article for more information on installing and loading the plugin.

*Note - For demonstration purposes, we will be primarily using the Maya version of Retargeter. The methods do not differ between the various Autodesk products, so the same basic instructions will apply to each different version.

 

Step 1: Loading the Plugin

Maya

In Maya, Retargeter is loaded through the Plug-in Manager. Once the software is installed you will see the plug-in titled "ImRetargetMaya.mll" in Maya's plug-in list. To load the plug-in, find it in the list and click on the check box to the right of it's name marked, "Load". If you wish to have the plug-in load automatically when Maya starts, optionally you can click the second box marked, "Auto Load".

3DS Max

The Retargeter is loaded in 3DS Max through the Utility Panel. By clicking the "More..." button, you can select 'FACEWARE' from the list of plug-ins.

MotionBuilder

Loading Retargeter in MoBu is slightly different than the other apps as it's loaded as a "Device" and needs to be opened externally.

To launch Retargeter from MotionBuilder:

  1. Open the 'Devices' menu in the 'Asset Browser'
  2. Click and drag 'Faceware Retargeter' ('IM Retargeting' in older versions) into your viewport
  3. In your Retargeter installation directory for MotionBuilder, you'll find "FacewareRetargeter_GUI.exe" - Run this file and it will be connected to MotionBuilder

Softimage

In Softimage, you can open Retargeter through the 'Faceware' menu.

 

Step 2: Character Setup in Retargeter

The first step to getting animation is to set up your character rig in Retargeter. In essence, this is the process of adding your rig controls to Retargeter so that they are recognized by the plugin. This allows the software to correctly apply the data from the .fwr that was created in Analyzer to the proper areas of the face. This step needs to be done only once per character. The link below will take you to the Character Setup walkthrough and get you going.

Faceware Retargeter Character Setup Walkthrough

 

Step 3: Expression Set Creation

Next, we need to create an Expression Set for your character. This is also done through the Character Setup dialog, in the Expression Set tab. An Expression Set is a group of specific facial expressions that the user creates to tell Retargeter how to apply animation using Autosolve. Like Character Setup, this process only needs to be done once per character rig.

Faceware Retargeter Expression Set Walkthrough

 

Step 4: Loading and Autosolving a Performance File (.fwr)

Now that your character is setup for use with Retargeter, we can load a performance and generate some animation. You will be using a performance file (.fwr) created in Faceware Analyzer.

  1. In the Autodesk application of your choice, load the scene containing your rig.
  2. Open the Retargeter plugin. If you need to find how to load the plugin in your application, please refer to this article: Installing Retargeter
  3. In the Retargeter plugin, go to the Performance menu and select "Open"
  4. We now need to select the appropriate files and options in the Open Performance dialog. First, select your .fwr file in the Performance File field.
  5. In the Character Setup field, select the character setup xml that you created earlier. It must contain a completed Expression Set for Autosolve to work.
  6. Next, check on all of the boxes in the Options area.
  7. Finally, check on the Generate AutoSolve box. Your dialog should look similar to this:
  8. Once you are ready, hit "OK" and Retargeter will load the performance and Autosolve the animation from the .fwr file.

    *Note - If you are using 3dsMax, make sure Autokey is turned on before hitting OK, otherwise animation will not be applied to your rig.

 

Congratulations, you should now have a properly AutoSolved animation. You can scrub through or play it back and see how it looks. If you have more .fwr files to use with this character, you can repeat Step 3 as many times as you like without going back into Character Setup.

 

*Note - Retargeter Pro offers the same features as Lite, but also allows for the user to modify the animation using created poses to increase accuracy of the animation and allow the animator to make artistic choices to the data. Find out more about Pro retargeting here: Retargeter Pro Workflow

 

*Note - This article only demonstrates the most basic functionality of Retargeter to get new users up to speed on the plugin's basic capabilities. For more in-depth information on all of Retargeter's features, please visit the Retargeter section of our knowledge base.

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