Live Client for MotionBuilder

Brian Genna -

 
After installing Faceware Live Client for MotionBuilder you'll be ready to connect to Live Server and see your real-time facial animation data from Live Server streaming into MotionBuilder.  There's just a few easy steps we need to complete first.
 

*Note - You'll need to be streaming data from Faceware Live Server in order to see animation in MotionBuilder.

Step 1: Character Setup

 

Each character you use will need to have a 'Character Setup' file.  In MotionBuilder, this is an XML file we create with the Faceware Character Setup device.  You only need to build this file once and you'll load it into the Live Client each time you want to stream animation onto this character.

  1. Load your character into your MotionBuilder scene.
  2. From the 'Asset Browser' under the 'Devices' category, drag the 'Faceware Character Setup' device into your scene.
  3. With the device selected, click the 'Character Setup' button to launch the external interface.  The button is located below the Faceware logo in the device.  If successful, this will load up an external window named "Faceware Live - Character Setup".  In the device in MotionBuilder, you should also see a yellow light next to 'Online'.
    *Note - If this light is red it means the device is not connected to the external interface.  Click the red light to attempt to connect again.  If it does not connect you may need to restart the external interface.
  4. With the Character Setup interface open and connected to your MotionBuilder scene, you're now ready to create a Character Setup file for your character.  Please visit this link for a dedicated tutorial on how to do this: Character Setup Walkthrough
    *Note - If you're familiar with Character Setup in Retargeter, the process is exactly the same.

Once you've created and saved your Character Setup XML file, we recommend closing the external interface and deleting the Faceware Character Setup device from your scene.  (Make sure you've saved your file before closing the interface.)

Step 2: Setting Up Your Live Client

Follow the steps below to setup your Live Client device and get started streaming your Live Server data into MotionBuilder.

  1. Load your character into your MotionBuilder scene.
  2. From the 'Asset Browser' under the 'Devices' category, drag the 'Faceware Live' device into your scene.
  3. With the device selected, check to make sure the 'Server Address' and 'Server Port' match the information from the instance of Live Server you'll be connecting to.  It is common to stream multiple instances of Live Server all into the same MotionBuilder scene so it's important to verify you're connecting the right instance to the right character.
    *Note - The IP address that Live Server is streaming from can be found in the Status Bar at the bottom of the Live Server interface.  The Port number can be found in the Toolbar at the top of the interface.
  4. With the device selected, click 'Browse...' to select your Character Setup XML file.
  5. When your Connection info is correct and your Character Setup file is loaded, click the red light next to 'Online' to connect to Live Server.

    If the connection was successful, the light will now be...

    Green - Successfully connected to Live Server and data is being received.  You can see the Sample Rate below (e.g. 30.0 sample(s)/s)
    Yellow - Successfully connected to Live Server but no data is being received yet.  (Check to make sure Live Server is currently tracking.)

    Otherwise if the light remains Red, check to make your connection information is correct and that Live Server is currently 'Streaming Data'.
  6. Lastly, with a Green or Yellow light next to 'Online', click the word 'Live' directly below 'Online' to initialize the animation.  You should now see your character moving in MotionBuilder.  If the you don't, please see Troubleshooting below. 

Step 3: Recording Your Real-time Facial Animation

Facial animation data streaming into MotionBuilder from Faceware Live Server can be recorded in the same way you'd record any motion capture data in MoBu.  Simply enable the 'Recording' button in the Live device and you'll then be able to use MotionBuilder's built-in recording features to record and edit Takes.
 
*Note - The Live device does not use Model Binding.  Our proprietary Character Setup process replaces this. 

Streaming Multiple Characters Simultaneously

It's simple to stream multiple characters simultaneously.  Simply create another instance of the Faceware Live device in MotionBuilder and repeat the instructions above.  There is no inherent limit on how many characters you can stream at once; it's dependent on MotionBuilder and the specifications of your PC.  We have seen six actors streaming in at once with no problems.
 
*Note - It is not recommended to run more than one instance of Live Server on the same PC. 

Troubleshooting

  • I can't connect to Live Server ('Online' light is always RED)
    • Check to make sure the Server Address (IP address) and Port of Live Server are correct.
    • Check to make sure the machines are on the same network and ping each other.
    • Check to make you have loaded a Character Setup file.
    • Restart MotionBuilder to make sure it hasn't crashed.
  • The 'Online' light is GREEN but my character is not moving.
    • Make sure your character's facial animation attributes are 'active'.  The easiest way to do this is to set a keyframe on every attribute that should be animating in real-time.
    • Make sure you've loaded the correct Character Setup file and that the Expressions are checked 'ON' in the file.
  • The Character Setup interface is crashing when I attempt to add or get Rig Controls.
    • In MotionBuilder, make sure the 'Online' light is YELLOW in the Character Setup device.  If it's RED, click 'Online' to connect.

 

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