Wednesday, May 6, 2009

CMU 2500-motion database released in 3dsMax-friendly version

I'm pleased to announce a 3dsMax-Biped-friendly BVH release of the Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU) motion database. Last year I released a Motionbuilder-friendly version of the data, but because Motionbuilder tends to be a specialized tool and I recently switched to Max anyway, I decided that instead of having a life, I'd invest some research and programming time to convert the dataset to something easily usable with Biped. I've also recorded a training video to show how to import the files and retarget them to another Max Biped.

In the wake of the initial BVH release of the Motionbuilder-friendly version in 2008, various people have done different types of conversions and published them. So there's now a Poser-capable version, and apparently also versions saved as Collada (.dae), Maya Binary (.mb), iClone (.vns) and more, though I haven't tested any of these. I have links to the various releases on the top-level motion capture page.

The motion data is free and available to use for any project. There is no use license, i.e. the data isn't under Creative Commons or a similar limited-use license.


1. The 3dsMax-friendly BVH release, main page, with download links:

2. The top-level motion capture page:

3. Tutorial video:
OR download the full-size version from the 3dsMax BVH links page mentioned above.

Advantages of this release over the original Carnegie-Mellon data:

- Very easy and fast to use with 3dsMax Biped.

- Joint renaming: As many joints as possible have been renamed to be compatible with 3dsMax's BVH import capability for Biped.

- Easy retargeting: since 3dsMax Biped allows biped-to-biped retargeting even across different Biped skeleton setups, it's now possible to use the CMU motion data with arbitrary Biped skeletons, at least within 3dsMax. This is a huge win, because it means that you don't have to create a skeleton whose bone setup matches that of the original CMU data.

- Base pose modification: 3dsMax requires an unusual skeleton BVH "base pose" aka "zero pose". For the 3dsMax-friendly release I've adjusted the underlying dataset to put the zero pose into the appropriate arms-down position. Numerous adjustments to the keyframes on the arms were then required to handle the change in rotation axes that happens when you shift the underlying BVH zero pose.

- Hand-to-wrist keyframe migration: This 3dsMax-friendly BVH release shifts keyframes from the "hand" joints onto the "wrist" joints, making this data available to Max. 3dsMax BVH import doesn't support both "wrist" and "hand" joints, so without this datashift, the wrist rotations of the original capture would end up lost.

- Index files: The release includes consolidated indices that list the motion filenames and their descriptions. Both spreadsheet and word processor friendly index files are available.


Anonymous said...

Great stuff Bruce, keep it up! I tried to use the Motion Builder files from last year in Max, but it was a real pain. Thanks for your hard work!

Unknown said...

Thanks a million Bruce! In 2008 we figured out how to do the workaround in motionbuilder, but I eventually stopped the hobby project because it was too cumbersome. Now that I have some time, with these new files I'm ready to pick it up again! Great!

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