Importing animation into blender from Maya or Motionbuilder

I have spent the last several days looking into ways to import animation into blender from Maya or Motionbuilder. Does anyone know of a way to do so? If you don’t know of a way to import animation specifically from Maya or Motionbuilder, what ways in general are there to import animation into Blender? If there are currently no ways to do this, is this something that can be done with some coding work?

Here are some formats that I’ve been looking at using:
.bvh, .3ds, .fbx, .md2, .md3, .md5

Bob Holcomb has is working on scripts for many of these. (See
Unfortunately from what I can tell and from what he said in an email to me, it doesn’t look like any of them import animation into blender as of yet.

I cannot find an import script for .fbx. This link suggests that using .fbx as an exchange format between Motionbuilder and Blender is not possible yet.

There is a .bvh script here but I have seen posts that indicate that this is not a usable format for my purposes. That would be too bad, as it seemed to be my best hope. Does anyone know if it could serve as an exchange format from Maya or Motionbuilder?


Zach Stephens

umm, why not simply try it? this way you can judge for yourself and don’t need to rely on opinions.

actuyll i think bvh is your best bet. unfortunately, you’ll need to assign vertex groups and such by hand (“skinning”).


There is a BVH importer included with Blender 2.34 in the File->Import menu. Have you tried that one?

Thanks broken and solmax.

I’ll play around with the .bvh importer. My main worry has been that the process parenting the armature to the mesh and assigning setting up the vertex groups may be a bottleneck in the animation pipeline.

However in an email today Bob Holcomb has just suggested to me that this could be very easily scripted.

Zach Stephens

Hello everybody,

I’m pleased to announce the recent release of a brand new BVH tool for blender
It is a script which create an armature based on a heap of empties and
it makes this armature’s bone follow the empties…

There’s neither parent-children relationship between bones nor TrackTo constraint on bones
in order to avoid deformation

You can download this script here

To use it:

  • Import a BVH file into Blender (File->Import->BVH)

  • Initialize 3 variables (which are at the beginning of the script)
    startframe : the number of the first frame of your anim
    endframe : the number of the last frame of your anim
    hipbonename : the name of the root empty

  • run the script (Alt-P)


PS: Sorry for my poor english …

i hope you got fbx working… and what happened to your site… did it move?

An x importer into Blender would open the field already to Maya(FREE working x exporter available), Lightwave(same), XSI 4(same), 3ds MAx(same), Hashs AM(cheap x exporter available), 3d Canvas(native x export), Character Fx(native x export), (probably soon cinema4d) , GameSpace(native), Truespace(cheap comercial plugin) .

That is, in a single script, support to import character bone and weighted animations from all those packages… It’s done so for many game engines, using converters like Deep Exploration(greatest, quite expensive) or Ultimate Unwrap(has some problems) —> game engines or other 3d packages. Or other even more expensive -and also windows based- like Okino Polytrans or Nugraph.

having just one importer will also make Blender serve as a converter to all the engines already supported (many. Thanks to md5, md2, md3,cal3d, torque, etc, exporters. )

But mainly would allow to make char anims in those highend packages and integrate and import into blender. Sounds really great.

just in case some one takes the chance…Sure is not easy.