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3ds Max CAT

Distinguished Mentor
Posts: 6,640
Registered: ‎11-08-2006

How is CAT working for you?

81 Views, 17 Replies
12-15-2010 01:24 PM
I just want some opinions and feedback of your experiences with using CAT in Max.
Personally, after the initial excitement about the addition of this apparently great animation plugin, it soon turned to dissapointment due to it's poor stabillity. After seeing some tutorials and having a play around with CAT, I did once attempt a real production job with multiple characters and decided to give CAT a go. Then vowed never again, at least untill they fix it. It was unstable to the point of being unusable.
When you reach the point where you spend more time dealing with bugs, crashes, system freezes, and inventing workarounds to avoid them, it's time to call it a day. Execpt I had to finish the job first...
On the other hand, I know that CAT is a much loved plugin and has many happy users, and I've seen some impressive work done with it. The thing is I do want to be happy with using CAT. On the face of it, it does seem like a good system, way better than the ancient CS, faster and easier than handmade bone rigs, but let down by stability, making it more of a hinderance than a helper in my animation workflow.
One thing I have noticed reading threads here is that CAT is apparently more stable in 32 bits than 64. I'm using Max on a 64 bit system. What I want to know is, is it true that CAT is stable on 32 bit? Is it stable on Max 32 running on 64 bit Windows? Or must you run it on 32 bit Windows to get this stabillity, if indeed the stabillity does exist?
My paln is, if you can convince me that CAT is stable on 32 bit, to use Max 32 bit for CAT work. If that means I must use 32 bit Windows, I do have a dual boot system with both XP 32 and 64 on. But my Max license in on the 64, so I would have to export my license for 2010 to XP32, and keep Max 2011 on XP64. Thankfully 2011 can save as 2010.
Also I've head of some people who accept CAT's bugs and get by with it. I'm a bit sceptical about that though, but if you have any bulletproof workarounds that make it barable, please share.
So, does CAT work for you? What Max/OS version?
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Distinguished Contributor
Posts: 118
Registered: ‎03-12-2010

Re: How is CAT working for you?

12-15-2010 03:17 PM in reply to: samab
English is actually my third language, so, I apologize for my "accent". That said, here's my view:

We've been using CAT since a while, and I agree, there are bugs everywhere.
Animators in my team prefers to work with CAT instead of CS, ant that's the main reason why we've switched. As TD and rigger of my team, I had to deal with it, and it seems that we've getting to a point where is not that bad, and we're learning the hard way what workflows to avoid to keep things from explode. It's kinda driving me crazy, but what the F@!!, I like challenges!

I've noticed that a lot of plugins makes CAT even more unstable. e.g.: if you have phoenix FD installed (the fire simulator from Chaos Group) it makes that you can't change the number of fingers of a CAT rig. Weird, but true. Chaos group is aware of the bug, but they say that is a CAT issue. Another example; nVidia physX makes impossible to mirror a bone of a CAT rig, unless you kill all callbacks installed by the plugin. It seems to be a physX issue, but the problem is still there.

I have Max2010 and 2011 64bits in my workstation (recently switched from XP-64 to W7-64). I've noticed that CAT is a little more stable in the 2011 version.
Since I have a couple of plugins including the two mentioned before, I've decided to install a fresh Max2011 32 bits to give it a try. No dual boot, it runs on W7-64. That worked fine for me. Since then, I can use the CatMotion dialog without crashing, mirroring bones is not a problem, adding extra bones to a rig works just fine, and doing some "dangerous" things, like assigning different controllers to parts of the rigs seems to work fine until now. And I had a nice surprise finding that I can mirror CAT muscle strands, that I've never been able to do in Max64. Using CAT muscles is a little more tricky, but I'm using it in some cases.

I remember the first days of CS, and it was bugged as hell, but no that much as CAT though. I'm giving a chance to CAT, and I'm hoping that people at Autodesk will fix is, because it's waaaay better than CS for animators and riggers.

So the answer is yes; CAT is way more stable in Max 32 bits, and there's no need to use a 32 bits version of windows, at least in my case.

cheers, I hope it helps.

3D Studio R1 (DOS) -> 3DS Max 2012
from Montreal, QC - home of 3ds max :smileyhappy:
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Valued Contributor
Posts: 63
Registered: ‎11-24-2006

Re: How is CAT working for you?

12-15-2010 05:47 PM in reply to: samab
I agree, CAT is more stable in 3dsmax 32bits on Win7 64bits, all work together, but not containers.
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Distinguished Mentor
Posts: 6,640
Registered: ‎11-08-2006

Re: How is CAT working for you?

12-16-2010 03:23 AM in reply to: samab
Thanks for the input. Perhaps I could run a vanilla install of Max 32 exclusivly for CAT work, and keep Max 64, with any plugins I need for everything else.
Running in XP64 will be more convinient since I won't have to reboot, and won't have to export my 2010 license for this purpose. And as you said, CAT is a little better in 2011 than 2010.
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Valued Contributor
Posts: 68
Registered: ‎04-07-2009

Re: How is CAT working for you?

12-17-2010 02:51 AM in reply to: samab
with CAT and CS, Max have now two buggy character systems. Its so frustrating that no hotfix fixes the Motion layer bug and all the other stuff which is here discussed.

Samab discussed the most Bugs here in the Area...i hope somebody will read it and fix it asap.

Remember how AD anounced the "new" CAT tools in why they dont push this forward....Is the Cat department still programming usless Ipad fluid stuff....

so on....
Happy Holidays...

::Wild Style::
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Valued Contributor
Posts: 60
Registered: ‎01-10-2007

Re: How is CAT working for you?

12-19-2010 03:27 AM in reply to: samab
Worst thing on CAT is how it's great potential is constantly beaten down by it's bugs and random small features not working (always in different max versions or at random encounters).

With that said, in our team where we don't have dedicated rigger, CAT is doing great job for a few years already (while here and there we rip of a few hairs or release a tear of anger). We now know which stuff is too sensitive to touch, made and modified a few scripts for workarounds, but still we use it rather then custom bone rigs or biped.

For future development of CAT I would wish for NO new feature, just fixing current bugs, making work everything that's already there for a few years. After we have stable CAT, then bring in (carefully) some new features.
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Distinguished Contributor
Posts: 183
Registered: ‎05-22-2007

Re: How is CAT working for you?

12-19-2010 05:23 AM in reply to: samab
Well, 3dsMax is a collection of plugins and it shows. This software is so old that it lives on artificial life support and I cringe each time I have to work with it. I'm afraid that what makes 3dsMax still usable is not Autodesk but 3rd party plugins and this is ironically because these plugins also makes 3dsMax unstable. So yeah, that's a hell of way to compromise.
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Distinguished Contributor
Posts: 228
Registered: ‎08-19-2006

Re: How is CAT working for you?

12-21-2010 01:43 AM in reply to: samab
Wow CAT is working? I did not notice. :smileyhappy:
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Posts: 713
Registered: ‎09-05-2010

Re: How is CAT working for you?

12-26-2010 08:44 AM in reply to: samab
My experience has been the dreaded Catmotion Freeze. I'm only using Win 7 64bit with all systems using Max 2011 64bit. It's such a tragedy that CAT doesn't work. Of course I do have a load of Plugins installed on all the systems... so maybe that plays some role. But most are from Autodesk certified developers... so you'd hope that would help. It could be a plugin interfering... but my feeling is that isn't a good excuse. In the last couple of years I've had almost no crashes in Max. The crashes I have had have been directly related to using CAT (and lately when testing out Vue 9). No other plugins or features are crashing my system... so I'm putting the blame squarely on CAT.
Shawn Olson

Developer of Wall Worm - the 3ds Max Pipeline for the Source Game Engine
CorVex Level Design Plugin

3ds Max 4/Gmax - 3ds Max 2015 SP1
Mudbox 2009-2015

Windows 7 x64
i7 930
Geforce 480x2
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Distinguished Mentor
Posts: 6,640
Registered: ‎11-08-2006

Re: How is CAT working for you?

01-04-2011 05:47 AM in reply to: samab
I've only just started testing, but this problem is still there using CAT in Max 32.
I'll keep posting if I find anything else, good or bad.
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