PSOFT releases CharacterBox for Modo
Originally posted on 2 January 2016. Scroll down for news of the commercial release.
Japanese developer PSOFT has released an interesting sneak peek of its upcoming character animation plugin for Modo – including what looks like a modular rigging system along the lines of 3ds Max’s CAT toolset.
To judge from the video above, the software can generate rigs for pretty much any kind of character semi-automatically: from standard bipeds to bizarre multi-limbed beasties.
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The new tool comes somewhat out of left field, since previously, PSOFT was best known for Pencil+, its non-photorealistic rendering plugin for 3ds Max, and for CelFX, a 2D animation tool for After Effects.
There’s also no information about it on the English version of PSOFT’s website yet, not even confirmation of its name – although to judge from the titles of the dialogs visible in the footage, it may be called CharacterBOX.
However, the demo video shows what looks to be a fairly sophisticated modular rigging system along the lines of 3ds Max’s Character Animation Toolkit.
The plugin provides options to generate readymade biped, quadruped and six-legged rigs, or to create custom set-ups: adding extra arms, legs, tails or spine joints seems to be essentially a one-click process.
Limbs can have fingers or toes; and there are a range of pivot set-ups available for feet.
The rigs generated can be edited manually, and there are a range of built-in curve-based controls to adjust the range of motion possible: both spines and limbs come with squash-and-stretch controls.
With a bit of user input, the plugin can also generate skin weight maps – you can see the workflow at 03:50 in the video – and there even seems to be some kind of built-in muscle system.
Early reactions from Modo users have been positive, as you can read in this thread on The Foundry’s forum.
Updated 30 June 2016: PSOFT has released the plugin, which is indeed called CharacterBox.
As well as the features discussed – the video above shows the muscle system – the plugin comes with the option to copy, paste and mirror poses and motions, enabling users to set up libraries of assets for reuse.
It looks pretty well integrated with Modo – rigs can be extended with the software’s standard channel modifiers – and supports its FBX output, meaning the animations it generates can be used in Unity or Unreal Engine.
You can see a full list of features on the plugin’s new English-language webpage.
CharacterBox is compatible with Modo 902 and above running on Windows 7 and above, and costs ¥58,320 (around $570) for a node-locked licence.