View Full Version : Maya character animation to LightWave - problem with cache

02-12-2015, 07:07 AM
I've got an animated character I'd like to render in LightWave.

The character has these meshes
- Body
- Eye glass (L and R)
- Eyeball (L and R)
- Lower gum
- Upper gum
- Tongue

I've saved each of these as .obj files as mentioned in some other thread here on the forums.

When I export a cache file, weird stuff starts happening. :(

This is how it's supposed to be.

And how LightWave translates it.

I have checked all different export from maya/md reader settings in LW. Subpatches is set to last. If I set it to first the cache won't move a single vertex.

I tried using Alembic - but where on earth does those files end up after import? Couldn't see anything in the manual about it. Hopefully I'm just blind.
The objects that came in through alembic import also lost their motion when I subpatched them.

02-12-2015, 07:22 AM
Can you share the file? There are several things that can go wrong in settings. Which version of lightwave and maya are you using?

02-12-2015, 07:37 AM
Maya 2015 sp3, LightWave 2015.1

Which would files would you be looking for? Maya scene? Alembic?

02-12-2015, 07:41 AM
The maya files. Then I can tell you if things are working correctly in Maya SP5. I would try that version if you get the chance to install it.

note I won't be able to check it out till tonight. :(

02-12-2015, 07:42 AM
Have a look.

stiff paper
02-12-2015, 09:36 AM
Did you model the character in LightWave originally and export it to Maya for animation? Your result looks like it could be a point order problem.

If you did export the model from LW to Maya to start with, check that the LW model before export doesn't have any 1 or 2 point polys. If it does, the fix is to delete the 1 and 2 pointers and re-export the model to Maya, replace the current one in Maya then try exporting the animation again. What happens is that the illegal polys get dropped on import to Maya, and then the point order no longer matches between LW/Maya.

I no longer have Maya, so I can't look at the files...

Edit: Actually read your post again and I see you're exporting objs. Sorry. Hmm. Then I don't know...

02-12-2015, 11:20 AM
The objects haven't touched LW at all until I wanted to get them over there for render.
The thing is we're beings taught Maya at the a school but I can't stand Maya's camera stuff and mental Ray. I rather want to animate the camera in LW and use Octane for LW. Yes I could probably get octane for Maya, but I don't see myself getting my own license for Maya, thus in not getting Octane for Maya either.

02-12-2015, 12:30 PM
Geocache works fine between the apps. I'm using Maya 2014 and LW 2015. Haven't tried alembic yet but no need. Like you, I prefer to render in Layout.

Main thing is to save a copy of your Maya scene. Then select and *Combine* all your seperate meshes and go to Geocache Export.

Make sure *world space*'is activated in the panel.

Export your combined mesh as an obj and apply the cache file in LW. "Jobs a good 'un" as we say in Sheffield.

02-12-2015, 12:45 PM
Thanks! I'm not home at the moment. Will give it a shot when I'm back.
The animated scene is working with referenced objects. I'm not so familiar with Maya, but I hope I can combine the mesh anyway?

02-12-2015, 02:17 PM
Wasn't there an .obj import option that had to be enabled or disabled to preserve point order? I think it used be called ZBrush mode or something like that but it's called something else now since this issue isn't specific to ZBrush. Or is that even relevant anymore? Just a thought....it's been a while since I've run into this issue.

Like JasonWestmas, I mainly use FBX now. I really only use .obj if I need to bring an object into UVLayout or Balancer nPro because they don't support FBX.


02-12-2015, 03:34 PM
One issue I've had bringing fbx into LW is that multiple copies of your model pop up if you've created blend shapes in Maya. Bizarrely I once ended up with a colossal 20gb file from a single character. There must be a way of switching this off in Maya. Otherwise fbx is brilliant if you've created morphs in Modeler (much quicker than the Maya workflow) and want them importing as blendshapes. It just works!

Not had any issues with point order LW -> Maya -> LW.

No problems either with referenced meshes in Maya. Just select, combine, create export geocache and export obj. But make a backup of your scene just in case there are issues.

02-12-2015, 03:35 PM
Oh man! Can't believe I didn't think of exporting the objects as FBX.. Feel stupid! The Alien finally came through without problems and I'm working on the UFO now. Hopefully I'll have a nice render going soon, and deliver the animation task within the deadline of feb 23rd!

Thanks a billion guys.

02-12-2015, 03:52 PM
Cool! Glad you got that solved.


02-12-2015, 04:00 PM
One more question; do you think point order will depend on which sequence an object is selected before I combine?
Let's say I make a combined version of the alien mesh for the FBX. But in the animated scenes select say, the eyes in a different order, combine and export a geo cache.. Would I be begging for trouble?

02-12-2015, 04:08 PM
No, just combine the mesh by going to View in Maya, tick geometry only and select all the meshes in one go by drawing a rectangular selection plane over them. Then combine. FBX -> LW works well but there shouldn't be problems with obj either.

02-12-2015, 04:43 PM
Just for the kicks, thought I could share the non-rendered version. It'll be about a 60 sec sequence if I manage to get it all done the coming week, all though I'll be busy with an internship at an animation studio all week. The setting is the Roswell incident and what 'really' happened when the UFO crashed.. :)


02-12-2015, 05:04 PM
The same technique doesn't seem to work on the UFO so far.
- Combine all geo
- Export FBX

- Combine geo in animated scene
- Export geo cache

Get the same problem as with the alien character in the first place. Not sure why. Still testing.

02-12-2015, 05:09 PM
Do you need point displacement for the UFO? For rigid items, normally I just use the animation data from program to program. Just a thought.


02-12-2015, 05:10 PM
Probably not. Ha! I'm a novice at passing animation between Maya and LightWave. I do however have a compressed cussion/spring-like rubber part under the chair which is dynamically being animated with a lattice deformer depending on the angle of the chair.

Not sure how I can bring the 'animation data' from Maya to LW without a cache?
I see there's an option to export FBX and checkmark "animation", but nothing comes through, not even geometry.

02-12-2015, 05:16 PM
Ah, I see. Yeah, for any dynamics, you'll want to use a point cache or mdd displacement.

Regular keyframed animation, however, should just come through in the FBX. It's usually a good idea to bake animation curves first but I think that can be done in the exporter. (Sorry, it's been a couple of years since I last used Maya so I'm kinda guessing.)


02-12-2015, 05:19 PM
Thanks. I'll give it some more thought and testing.

02-12-2015, 05:27 PM
Success! I can't understand why it worked, but it finally did. I've tried several things, and tried the same as before, once again;

- combine geo, export fbx
- combine geo in animated scene, export geo cache

Apply in LW. It worked. What the..

02-12-2015, 05:45 PM
Lightwave (and probably Maya too,) likes to tease when it suspects you're new to something.

I'm learning the same lesson about After Effects. Yesterday, I ran into a problem when the expressions applied to certain limbs of a character rig I was animating suddenly stopped working. I messed with the rig for a couple of hours trying to fix it before I noticed that disabling the expressions on only those layers enabled them again. Augh! Cruel, After Effects, so cruel. :p


02-12-2015, 05:59 PM
Glad you got it working. Maya is really finicky, if you don't do something just right exporting stuff is really tough.