Question about scenes and characters

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  04 April 2013
Question Question about scenes and characters

First I built, rigged, and animated a character with a walk cycle. The way I did it was FK on the legs controlled by curves, and just animated the bones on the arms and the rest of it. This works for me so far.

Now I want to put this character in a scene (in a different .mb file) so I can animate her climbing on and otherwise interacting with the scene. For organization I've been storing different scenes (like an alley scene, a scene of a section of a quaint town, a scene of a park, and dozens more) in different files, and this keeps the scene file small and running fast.

But I'm not sure how to bring scene and character together for animating. Because if all scenes and all characters are in one file, wouldn't that be too heavy and slow? Should I just Import the scene into the character file, create the animations, and then delete it out? Then if I need to adjust the animation and re-render, just import it again?

I wish I could ghost two files together, so that they could remain independent files but the scene still visible for animating the character.

What do you recommend? Thank you for reading.
  04 April 2013
Usually you have you rig in one file, which you NEVER animate in.

Then you have your set in another file, with no rig in. Just the set.

Then you can do two things,
Open a new maya scene. Reference in the set and reference in the rig.
Then you can start animate

Open the set file and reference in the rig.

It all depends on how complicated your setup needs to be and how much flexibility you need/want.
The cool thing about references is, it basically reads from another file.
So your working file will be small, because the rigs isn't actually in the scene, it is just reading from the rig file and feeding that into the work file (exactly how it works I am sure someone else can elaborate on).
This enables you to continue to make chances in the rig file and have those chances carry on into your animation shot (work file).
Steam Punk Challenge
  04 April 2013
Thanks so much doffer. So now, after I animated in the file that's referencing the set and rig, is that file saved with only the animations in it? So it brings the files together but only saves the animations. And perhaps it saves the references to the other files so that when opening this file again it will auto reference? Or I'm way off! Any case I'm going to see if I can rip the walk-cycle animation out of the rig file without too much damage.
  04 April 2013
First I think you'd want a file that has no animation. You could do that by deleting the animation on the rig file and saving it as a separate set up file to be used for referencing.

Beyond that I am a bit over my head in Maya, but I am sure there are a few solutions to bring in an animation into the file that has the referenced rig such as with Actions or even FBX.

Someone else will have a better answer.
  04 April 2013
There are a bunch of different tools out there for exporting/importing animation data between the same rig.
One of them is called Paie and can be downloaded from creativecrash.

I think AD built a similar system into maya called ATOM which is from 2013 and forward if I am not mistaking. Though I haven't tried it myself, there are some instruction videos online for free about it.

But yes, I would strip the animation from the rig file, and put it onto the referenced rig in another scene instead.
That is a much cleaner workflow
Steam Punk Challenge
  04 April 2013
@cineartist, thank you.

@doffer, Yeah man, thank you. I'll check those out.

@anyone, Another question. I made a change to the set I was referencing, in the original file, not reference file. Okay, so I want to update that change in the reference file. But it didn't change when I hit Reload in the References window. What I did was adjust a bunch of UVs and changed a texture. Shouldn't that update in the reload? How can I update it?
  04 April 2013
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