Red9 releases major update to Red9 ProPack for Maya
Maya tools developer Red9 has released a major update to Red9 ProPack, its suite of tools for streamlining character animation in Maya, adding a new IKFK Casting system for handling IK/FK switching.
Other new features in the update, which shipped last month, include the option to copy and paste transforms, and a “4-5x” speed boost in loading animation data.
Putting AAA developers’ character animation workflows into the hands of smaller studios
Intended to give smaller studios access to the same kind of workflows as AAA game developers, Red9 ProPack is a suite of over 40 custom tools to streamline character rig management and animation in Maya.
Updated 6 July: This story originally described the ProPack as streamlining character rigging, but it doesn’t actually have its own rigging systems: instead, users can connect their own rigs to its MetaData system.
The toolset is an expanded version of Red9 founder – and former Crytek technical animation director – Mark Jackson’s open-source Maya rigging toolkit Red9 Studio Tools.
Red9’s technology has been used on a number of high-profile recent games, including Resident Evil 4 VR,
New in the May 2022 update: IKFK Casting, better WristLocks, and copy-paste support for transforms
Described as “the biggest release of the Red9 ProPack for a long time”, the May 2022 update adds more options for managing character rigs, animation remapping, and improves performance of the existing tools.
Key changes include IKFK Casting, a new method for dealing with IK/FK switching within the Red9 PuppetRig that handles switching between IK and FK in set-ups with soft IK/FK blending.
It caches the end solve of a limb, then switches to the relevant system to match the cached data.
In addition, it is now possible to copy and paste transforms – a quality-of-life feature not available natively in Maya – including in world space and between animation sessions.
Insert a HIK definition into a skeleton on the fly during animation remapping
For users working with motion-capture data, the update makes it possible to insert a definition for HumanIK, Maya’s native IK solver, into a skeleton on the fly during animation remapping.
The change removes the need to generate FBX files containing HIK definitions.
The workflow was originally designed for use with Xsens’ inertial motion-capture systems, a preset for which is included in the update, but it works with animation data from any source.
Performance improvements when loading or saving data
Red9 has also reworked its r9Anim animation format, making loading “around 4-5 times faster”.
Other performance improvements include a “10-fold speed increase in the loading of complex data” with Red9 ProPack’s SkinSaver system.
Pricing and system requirements
Red9 ProPack is compatible with Maya 2017+ running on Windows, Linux and macOS. The software is rental-only, with subscriptions costing £39.50/month (around $48/month) or £450/year ($550/year).