Craft CameraFx brings layer workflow to Autodesk MotionBuilder

The development team worked closely with Ubisoft Toronto to refine the software for AAA game creation.

Craft Animations today releases CameraFx, a new animation tool designed to simplify the process of creating camera animation in Autodesk MotionBuilder. The software adds a layer-based workflow with the goal of simplifying the process of creating dynamic sequences.

A screenshot from CameraFx from Craft Animations, which works with Autodesk MotionBuilder. (Source: Craft Animations)
A screenshot from CameraFx from Craft Animations, which works with Autodesk MotionBuilder. (Source: Craft Animations)

Craft Animations was founded in 2002 as a spinoff of university research, with the goal of bringing the physics of camera motion into the animation workspace. The software offers new ways to manage cameras in a 3D scene. Instead of stringing together effects from several cameras, CameraFx allows simultaneous layers within the same camera, allowing the user to see changes directly from a set view to streamline the animation process. It is also possible to edit scenes after a sequence has been assembled, eliminating the need for re-staging and re-recording if changes must be made.

Craft Animations co-founder Michael Belin says CameraFx was inspired by the “driving” workflow in their previous product, Craft Director. “Traditional methods like spline animation always come with a stiff workflow,” says Belin. “With CameraFx, it’s simple. Want your camera to shake at a precise moment? Simply add a noise effect. Set the start and end times. Bang.”

Effects in Craft CameraFx exist as small modules within the new layer system. Module movement characteristics are generated in real-time; several modules can be stacked together for scenes that require complex animations. For example, a user might quickly set up a crude path for an object using a rough spline animation or other basic input. Adding one of CameraFx’s offset effects will then smooth out and extend curves on the path without actually modifying the source animation.

The Craft Animation team relied on specifications and requests from the Ubisoft Toronto team during the development of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist in building CameraFx. “We relied on Craft CameraFx to help us achieve realistic camera animations in Splinter Cell Blacklist,” says Randy Yuen, Camera Specialist at Ubisoft Toronto. “We saved time by using this toolset, which helped our team deliver game animations at a very high level of quality.”

Craft CameraFx is priced at $1,995, and is available now for users of MotionBuilder 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. A purchase includes a perpetual license for the specific platform and host version of Craft CameraFx, as well as first tier support from Craft Animations.

Below: A video that introduces the workflow in CameraFx. (Source: Craft Animations)