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Make Human Workflow


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@Michael, So far so good. The FBX export from MakeHuman imports nicer than the FBX from Blender. All the controllers come in at a reasonable size.


@NNois: The import is a FBX bone rig with controllers. The weights are nice but it is an all FK rig. MakeHuman also kicks out diffuse and normal maps that you can assign to image slots in a MantraShader. I have not figured out how to drive the rig with mocap data yet, however, you can pass the rig through Blender which has a BVH mocap re-targeting system. From Blender you can re-export the FBX rig and bring the animation in that way. It would be nice to avoid that round trip task.

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Here is a little more information about MakeHuman -> Houdini workflow.


1.) Don't use the official version from the download page, click on the Nightly Build version and use that one, it has many more features.

2.) Install the additional rigs found here. (How To Install The Additional RIGs)

3.) Use the Motionbuilder Rig, from the additional rigs, when exporting your FBX so you get facial bones as well as the complex hand and toes.


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The MakeHuman exporter seems to work Ok. What would be nice would be some more import options on the Houdini side, for example...


Here is a short Python script that colorizes the controllers based upon the node names. Left is BLUE, Right is RED. The Spine is GREEN and the Head is CYAN. I threw in some other colors as well as a slider control to scale the controllers to a usable size. I detect major bones for animating and scale those up a bit more. The script is only adjusting the dcolor and geoscale of the NULLs.


This script references bone names for the MotionBuilder Advanced RIG, which seems to be the most comprehensive rig that MakeHuman can export at this time. From a Houdini standpoint, it is still a basic FK FBX import.


I am attaching an example HIP file with the BONES ONLY for the MotionBuilder rig for anyone to try out the script. Because MakeHuman is open source anyone can kick out their own characters and place this python script at the top of the skeleton chain to achieve the colorization and controller scale.


NOTE: This script can not control geoscale if it is keyframed so remember to uncheck Animation on the FBX import or delete those geoscale keyframes on the nulls after import.


@Michael: I'm not sure if geoscale really needs to be keyframed on import even if Animation is checked? That could be a small tweak to the Houdini FBX importer as well.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I just completed a 1st draft of auto walk for MakeHuman FBX imports.
Generous leg lift and arm swing settings for the diabetic type-2 African female MakeHuman model.





The auto walk also adjusts posture in subtle ways, with hip, spine and neck tilt.




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  • 7 months later...

I have made some progress on using BVH mocap applied to a Make Human character with clothes.

Using my current solution I import my Make Human mesh into Houdini and just directly bind that mesh to the BVH bones in t-pose. Then I adjust the bone weights as needed, At this point I export a MDD file from Houdini. I return to Marvelous Designer and import that same Make Human source mesh. So each program get the same input mesh. I design and drape my garment on that imported avatar. Now I import the Houdini MDD file into Marvelous Designer. I simulate the animation then kick out the garment as an OBJ sequence (all other export formats crash MD for me).

I noticed the cloth animation was one frame off compared to the internal Houdini animation. I corrected this with a padzero offset on the filename.


At this point I have a simulated cloth OBJ sequence that matches the movements of my Make Human mesh inside of Houdini.


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