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3rd Dimentia
04-08-2003, 02:38 AM
Hi, I'm having a problem with smooth skinning a referenced mesh. As soon as I apply Bind Smooth Skin, the mesh turns to wireframe in the viewport and also refuses to render. Anyone shed any light on why this might be happening?

MDuffy
04-08-2003, 09:01 PM
This sounds like a bug that we ran across when trying to attach blendShapes to referenced geometry. The solution is that problem was that when you apply the blendShape, you have to make sure that you go to the Advanced tab in Options and set the Deformation order to "before". Unfortunately you don't have a Deformation order tab in the Smooth Bind options. You could try reordering the deformers, but I don't think that will do it for you. You may want to use the skinCluster command directly to wire in those bones, becaues you can use the -bf flag to set it before.

Hope this helps,
Michael Duffy
mduffy@ionet.net

3rd Dimentia
04-09-2003, 12:14 AM
I got an answer from K Lango for this in the character section. And he mentions that whenever you deform a referenced mesh it seems to lose it connection to the shader. To fix it all I did was reassign the shader connection.

beaker
04-09-2003, 04:42 PM
Just curious, why are you doing character setup work on a reference? A reference is really meant to be exactly that, a reference, not meant to have any work done on it except for animation. Open the original file and do all your setup work in there.

MDuffy
04-09-2003, 07:33 PM
One of the reason we sometimes do setup work on referenced objects is when we need to create a variant of a character loader. Let's say you have your fully rigged character, but for a certain scene you need to put a hat on him. You need to apply a morph target to his hair geometry to squish it down, and then constrain the hat geometry to his head. Ideally you would just reference in the original loader and apply your changes to it, rather than creating an entirely new loader. This is because if you have to make a change to the original loader, you also have to make that change to all the variant loaders (character with baseball cap, character with goggles, characer with headset, etc.)

We've tried to set up loaders before where we referenced in the OrigLoader into a file, made our changes, and then saved it out as a AltLoader. Then we reference the AltLoader into our scenes. But Maya has bugs with this "reference of a reference" situation, and certain nodes stop solving (though typing "dgdirty -a" makes them start solving again sometimes). So now we're exploring the idea of referencing in the OrigLoader to our scenes, referencing in the elements of the alternate loader (hat, goggles, headset, etc.), and then connecting the elements to the referenced character within the scene itself. This avoids the "reference of a reference" situation, but does require that Maya support rigging modifications to a referenced file (which it does, if you know where to step to avoid the landmines like this shader-disconnecting side effect.)

Later,
Michael Duffy
mduffy@ionet.net

beaker
04-09-2003, 08:57 PM
Ok, that makes sense. Very interesting. Learn something new every day. :)

3rd Dimentia
04-10-2003, 12:55 AM
Well, we're newish to maya (usually a max studio) and we've been testing out workflows N pipelines for if we do change over to maya. We were seeing if it was possible for someone to be building the rig at the same time that the model was being built and referenced in. In max we use a LOT of external referencing so that any number of people can be working on a big scene and at the end of the day we don't have to spend hours merging all the seperate parts into the one scene to do the nightly render. Instead, they're all referenced back into a master scene. And when we're animating, if I need to know where something in someone elses scene file is, I just temporarily reference their file into mine and then when I'm done I just delete the reference instead of trying to remember which bits I need to keep (in the case of merging)

MDuffy
04-10-2003, 07:18 PM
The way our pipeline is set up is that an asset has to clear one department before moving on to the next. So first all the assets will be designed (or at the very least put on a list of what is needed), and the storyboards and animatic are created. Then the modeling department creates all the models needed for the episode. After modeling, the texturing and setup departments can work the model at the same time due to the way our pipeline is set up (we bake out our animations for rendering, so as long as the textured object has the same point order as the object used in in the setup rig, then the animations can be applied to the textured object before rendering.) Otherwise we'd find a way to apply textures and UVs from one set of geometry to another set so that we could do texture and setup concurrently. The rig used for animation doesn't need all that texture stuff applied because it will just slow animation down and require more memory.

After setup and layout, scenes go to Layout where standin objects are used to lay out the shot. Then the shot goes to animation where the character standins are replaced by the actual rigs and the scene is animated on the standin set. Then when the scene goes to lighting, you can pull in the textured characters, the full textured set, and light the scene. Test renders are sometimes done locally, with final renders done on the renderfarm.

So as long as you can spread out the different departments so that they can run one after the other, you don't have to worry about trying to set up referenced geometry. And with the way deformers and skinClusters work in Maya, you really couldn't change anything on the model without breaking the rig anyways. If you have to create the rig and model concurrently, I'd say build the rig to the temp geometry, and then hold off on final weighting until the geometry itself is finalized. We've automated our setup process so much with Maya that we've been able to get it down to about a day to rig a biped character (maybe not the entire day, depending on how tough the geometry is to weight or how many secondary controls need to be added). So there's no need for us to try to model and rig at the same time.

Hope this helps,
Michael Duffy
mduffy@ionet.net

gwava
04-12-2003, 02:19 AM
Try Edit Polygons > Normals > Conform ( In response to the initial question...) I've run into something similar where that worked, it's worth a shot. You might also need to reverse the normals after doing this...

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