Review: Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate 2013
HUD elements can contain static or dynamic data: text fields, bitmaps, and aspect ratio masks are all supported. Artists can choose from a number of presets (among those offered are: scene name, take name, camera name, frame rate, and camera focal length), or add a property reference or relationship constraint from within the scene simply by dragging and dropping it; animated values will update as the scene plays back.
So here is what I like:
- Customizable Character UI including tweakable graphics so you can fix the pinning icons to be readable now and adjust any other colors you like.
- Better contrast and easier to read UI feedback and shared between Maya and MotionBuilder.
- Character UI got streamlined and the stance pose button was added making it fast to get back to a T stance without switching inputs.
- Heads up display has the potential to create some very powerful displays and makes it much easier when dealing with rendered content for Film dailies and virtual productions. Making it easy to add information important to production to the view and you can even do crazy things like add Flash .SWF files in to the HUD.
- In particular, scene load time, merging assets from multiple scenes, and selecting objects in a scene with many nodes are now significantly faster.
- Retiming tool for the Suites is a nice addition and has some good features but is lacking fine control via frame number type in.
- Story improvement
- Summary clips finally allow for easy moving of complex sets of edits or of edits like character and prop or two man edits but fall short of being useful for actual editing since razor and numeric control are missing from the summary track.
- Filter selection is a nice improvement for working with a deep story track since it makes for quick viewing of story clips and tracks related to the selected object especially with large crowd scenes.
- Roll bones went through a major over haul and will require a small adjustment to get used to but I find it to improve the usability and control over the rig and it should be a welcome change for any new users that had trouble understanding how the old roll extraction worked.
- Previously the Control rig “reach” settings were another area of confusion for animators and users new to MotionBuilder. In 2013 Autodesk renamed the controls “IK Blend” to better match with what the settings actually do. It is a seemingly small change but with the amount of confusion these settings caused it potentially could have a big impact.
- Much better Audio support and control over the audio.
What I found to be a problem or lacking in the release:
- The timeline remains nonadjustable from the previous version due to a QT limitation making it frustrating when working with the visual keyframes.
- AMC file import has been broken once more leaving any users of GIANT mocap data unable to upgrade.
- HIK solver is still buggy and the shoulder solving is now broken for both shoulders when retargeting.
- No real editing improvements like updates to the Actor, squash and stretch support for HIK, lacking path editing tools for redirecting motion based on spline curves like XSI and CAT have had for years.
- Story clips don't save out their time correctly and so externalizing files for looping or to share between scenes becomes a headache.
- Pose tools still don't offer a way to externalize them so large file size and locked down pose libraries are still a problem.
- Loading character animation with layer animation can corrupt control rig animation. Workaround: Merge layers is not a workaround if it forces you to blow away previously created work.
- Creating new animation layer resets non-keyed modifications to object and control rig poses. The recommended workaround is to create new layer before posing character or store the pose through the pose controls before creating the layer.
- Problem with Parent Child constraint when Rotation Y = 180 so use position and orient for now
Overall a great looking update but clearly the focus on actual motion capture editing has fallen to the side in favor of virtual cinema tools.