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bobakabob
12-25-2014, 04:53 PM
Dear All... Help!
I need to export an animated main character mesh from Maya into LW for rendering. Using Geo cache export from Maya and the I/O LW import controls in Layout, the baked *main character mesh* is imported into Layout, assigned mdd and animating OK in LW.

However the eyeballs and teeth of the character are *parented* rather than smooth blinded to the animated Maya skeleton, and unfortunately do not appear to have the same relative baked space time coordinates as the main mesh. Once imported into Layout and assigned mdd files they are floating about independently of the main character.

Can anyone offer suggestions as to how to get all the components working harmoniously together for import into Lightwave Layout?

ernpchan
12-25-2014, 05:19 PM
Does exporting out as FBX help? Sorry, not a Maya expert. I'm supposed that baking the animation doesn't result in world space.

lino.grandi
12-26-2014, 04:07 AM
You could try to "freeze" transformations in Maya for the eyes, then export the cache as a separated MDD.
Or you could try to export the scene in FBX, so you get the whole hierarchy and animation in LW.

bobakabob
12-26-2014, 08:16 AM
Ernest and Lino, many thanks for your replies. The scene is working great in Lightwave now.
As Lino suggested I isolated the eyes and teeth in Maya and exported them as seperate objects. For anyone reading interested in Maya <-> LW workflow, make sure "world" space (+ "float") are ticked rather than "local" on all objects when running Export GeoCache in Maya.
I haven't tried Maya -> LW FBX in any depth yet. Does this allow a complete animated Maya scene to be imported into Lightwave and vice versa? If so, that is an incredible advance. Just upgraded to LW 2015 so excited to see more improvements swapping files between applications :)
Now the animation tools such as Genoma and RHiggit are so advanced, it will be far easier to work directly in LW to make use of the brilliant VPR.

ernpchan
12-26-2014, 08:23 AM
I haven't tried Maya -> LW FBX in any depth yet. Does this allow a complete animated Maya scene to be imported into Lightwave and vice versa?

Not sure everything translates over. I know I've tried to fbx work files and not everything translated over. That may be due to the specific way the Maya team had their animation setup though.

bobakabob
12-26-2014, 02:30 PM
Not sure everything translates over. I know I've tried to fbx work files and not everything translated over. That may be due to the specific way the Maya team had their animation setup though.

No luck, unfortunately, I tried importing the Maya FBX scene - skeleton, character and animation - into Lightwave but it came in as a mass of bones plus multiple blend shape objects. There are so many options in Maya FBX export it's daunting, so a lot to learn. I'll stick to Geo cache for now as it's fast and dependable.

Lino, it would be brilliant to see some FBX workflow tutorials in the near future. :)

ernpchan
12-26-2014, 04:16 PM
The notion that blend shapes still exist as a workflow annoys me.

jasonwestmas
12-26-2014, 04:33 PM
The notion that blend shapes still exist as a workflow annoys me.

Why is that? The blend shape object can be deleted after the blend shape node is created. Granted it's a good idea to create back up files of your morph target objects.

Last time I tried maya Alembic files with LW it worked fine. Is this no longer the case?

ernpchan
12-26-2014, 04:56 PM
Well, last I checked each blend was a unique object versus an embedded morph like LW. So when I'd see notes that a character had to be modified and then hear the Maya team say no cuz of the blend shape workflow, it'd annoy me cuz I know it's an easy fix in LightWave.

jasonwestmas
12-26-2014, 05:27 PM
Well, last I checked each blend was a unique object versus an embedded morph like LW. So when I'd see notes that a character had to be modified and then hear the Maya team say no cuz of the blend shape workflow, it'd annoy me cuz I know it's an easy fix in LightWave.

They may have had problems because there needs to be a version of the "neutral pose" mesh that has not been deformed by the smooth skin or other blendshapes in order to model a new blendshape post-skinning. But chances are there is a version of that in another file if they aren't completely incompetent. Then as long as the user creates the blendshape with the "in front of chain" option in the blendshape options box then all is well when applying a new blendshape post-skinning.

ernpchan
12-26-2014, 05:48 PM
Interesting. I'm not 100% familiar with their workflow. It could have just been an excuse to avoid notes/more work which I'm not always a fan of. I'd rather work to get things the way people want versus hide behind technological road blocks.

bobakabob
12-26-2014, 05:50 PM
Must say when learning Maya I was surprised at how clunky and unintuitive the blendshape workflow was compared to simply embedding morphs in LW objects. In Maya, you're copying a character's head, framing it in the scene, manipulating vertices then projecting the morph back onto the original mesh (which might not work if it's not stitched back onto the body in the right way... ). It seems faster to model morphs in Modeler and export FBX into Maya. Voila, all the blendshapes miraculously appear.

Jason, I haven't had success with Alembic, importing Maya scenes into LW. It would be great to see the pros and cons of the various I/O methods in a LW3DG tutorial.

jasonwestmas
12-26-2014, 06:00 PM
What I usually tell people is that a good maya user will give you the most control over a project but it takes a few more steps to do things. I do notice though that some people don't realize that modern maya does have tools to make changes later on in the production if needed. So I would never accept someone telling you that something can't be changed somewhat efficiently in maya, they would be lying, heh.

bobakabob
12-26-2014, 06:20 PM
The Maya referencing system is very good for workflow. It allows you to work on an animation whilst the character models can be updated for rendering. It's not that far removed from LW's split lws and lwo files where you can easily swap animated characters in and out of scenes :)

ernpchan
12-26-2014, 06:25 PM
Yeah if we could get scene referencing that'd be very cool.

jasonwestmas
12-26-2014, 06:37 PM
One of the things I learned in Lightwave was to keyframe all of the animation rig manipulators on frame Zero. I do the same thing in maya and then hide frame zero so it doesn't get changed. That way I can get to the bind pose fast without having to worry about it getting corrupted or whatever. The bind pose is useful if any further tweaks need to be made to the weights, mirror the weights, or I can add more influencing objects, create proxy geometries, copy skin weights etc. I can keep any animation in that same file and view the new influences to the deformations more quickly.

bobakabob
12-26-2014, 07:07 PM
One of the things I learned in Lightwave was to keyframe all of the animation rig manipulators on frame Zero. I do the same thing in maya and then hide frame zero so it doesn't get changed. That way I can get to the bind pose fast without having to worry about it getting corrupted or whatever. The bind pose is useful if any further tweaks need to be made to the weights, mirror the weights, or I can add more influencing objects, create proxy geometries, copy skin weights etc. I can keep any animation in that same file and view the new influences to the deformations more quickly.

Good advice, Jason, without the *exact* original bind pose you can run into difficulties in Maya. Advanced a Skeleton is very good though as one click will take you there if need be. LW is surprisingly forgiving. Today I swapped out an old for new character (using Replace Object) on a skeleton I'd carelessly manipulated on frame 0 without any difficulties.

jeric_synergy
12-27-2014, 11:42 AM
Aside from setting first frame to 1, is there a recommended way to protect frame zero poses? Inevitably I trespass and mess with frame zero settings because I am stupid and undisciplined.

ernpchan
12-27-2014, 11:50 AM
Well I always animate starting at frame 1 because a 10 frame animation would be frames 1-10. So there's no reason to be starting at or messing with 0.

You could try locking the keyframes at 0 in the graph editor. I'm not sure if that locks the values and/or prevents you from deleting them.

jeric_synergy
12-27-2014, 12:41 PM
I had a reason at one time, but now it's just a bad habit I should break.

IIRC, "LW Mot-if-fy" (or whatever the [email protected] name that plugin has, it should be "Delete Key +") does have a "Protect Frame Zero" function, but deleting isn't usually my error.

RebelHill
12-28-2014, 06:22 AM
Advanced a Skeleton is very good though as one click will take you there if need be.

RHiggit does this in LW too... select the rig, hit reset in the animation toolbox... bind pose restored.