View Full Version : Questions about the Import and Exporting Weight Feature

04 April 2010, 04:06 PM
Basically I am wanting to create my rig and animate a full length animation, BEFORE creating and skinning my character onto it. The main reason is the fact I don't want to waste months on creating nice assets before at least seeing the roughly finished animation. (This topic is linked to one in the main rigging forum but its a different more Maya based request for advice)

I will be separating the animation up into multiple scenes and timelines, so I was wanting to inquire about the ease and stability of Maya 2010's importing and exporting weights function.

Basically, for example, for one character she will have three scenes, so there will be three seperate scene files and therefore three (identical) rigs in each. (Of course the rig themselves will be animating in totally unique ways throughout the scenes, but i imagine as long as I key in a T-pose in there in the beginning the rest of the animation wont affect the skinning process)

Once I skin her in one of the scenes, is it a simple excersize to export those weights and apply it to her other two scenes. Again bare in mind both the rig and the mesh will be EXACTLY the same in every way, they will just be in diffent maya scene files.

I hope this is possible and simple, because I really want to get the animation roughly done before spending months creating all the highly detailed assets.

04 April 2010, 10:07 PM
There should be no problem importing weights whenever you want in Maya.
The standard import weights tools is based on texture as long as your UVs are laid out correctly you should be all set.
You don't even need to worry about having the character in a T-pose or anything when you import.
Another good tool is comets save weights...which is based on point order.
This can be a bit more exact in areas where you have a lot of fine weighting.
One last note would be to ask if you have thought about using file referencing? This avoids any need to import weights and all that...and makes updating things a breeze.

Just to put in my two cents on your idea of progressing with animation before you have your deformations in order...
A well deforming character can do wonders for inspiring a characters poses and movements.

You may find that you have to do a bunch of animation changes once you have your skin all setup...just make sure to leave yourself time to make adjustments to your final animation so that your key poses and shapes look as great as possible once things are finalized with the rig.

All the best with it!

04 April 2010, 10:57 PM
thanks for your reply, can i folow up?

can i ask you to explain how file refferencing fully works. i am not a totally newcomer to maya, but im a little rusty and if i had learned about it before i have totally forgotten ;)

also about the skinning before animating problem, i posted a topic asking about it in the main rigging forum and have had some great replies. i think my best route would be to create and skin a proxy mesh (in fact i have a few base meshes i made a while ago i could use for this purpose), this way i don't need to spend weeks in zbrush creating perfectly sculpted characters, but can still play on the actual form of the human while actually animating.

again your follow up would be great :)

thanks so much once again :D

04 April 2010, 02:27 AM
The best way to learn about file referencing is to check out the maya help file...its the second topic under Genera.l
The basic idea of referencing is that it allows you to make changes to an asset (like a rig or set) and have those changes reflected in all of the scenes that are referencing that file.
It can even be used as a way to swap rigs from a fast animation rig to a high res render rig while keeping any long as the controls are named the same.
It also allows you to directly import an object from the reference if needed...which is sometimes good for problem solving the random issues that may arise...though referencing has improved a lot over the years.

If you are all on to start animating, you could bring the lo-res animation rig of yourcharacter into the scene via referencing and start animating. Then, as soon as your full-res skinned rig starts taking shape, you could just swap the file your reference is pointing to (through the Reference Editor) to bring this in and see if your animation is feeling good on your final character. Then just swap back to the lo-res to keep working.

Hopefully this clarifies things a bit...I would definitely recommend give the help docs a read on this topic...there is a lot there...but it's a powerful tool that should really be understood before you start using it.

04 April 2010, 10:27 AM
Thanks a lot :) i will definitely read through it.

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