Referencing problem - similar rigs sometimes transfer specific attributes?

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  10 October 2013
Referencing problem - similar rigs sometimes transfer specific attributes?

Hey guys,

We're using Maya's referencing pretty heavily in our pipeline and for the most part its working great. There are a few quirks but its mostly smooth sailing.

However there is one issue I can't seem to solve consistently.

When importing multiple characters that share a similar skeleton / control rig structure, occasionally certain attributes will get confused and transfer to the wrong bone / controller.

For instance.

- Character A and B are animating together. They share the same basic rig setup and naming, however they're nicely tucked away in groups/layers etc.

- We animate the ears on Character A. Everything looks good. Save the file and close.

- Upon re-opening the file, the animation from Character A's ear has been transferred to Character B. (This sometimes happens with things like the visiblity flag, or other random attributes as well)

This is the problem. A few additional notes.

- There is nothing "special" about the occasional control this happens to that we can see. It is however always consistent within the given file.
- The rigs we use are pretty much global. All names of basic bones and controls are shared. This has not been a probelm 99.9% of the time, and our pipeline pretty much requires it.
- We do not and can not use namespaces, which I realize could potentially help with the problem, so I haven't bothered to test this out.
- Doing the following "fixes" the problem - Open the bad the file, unload the reference to character B, save/close/re-open. Animation is back on Character A's ear.
- If you then reload Character B, save/close/re-open, the problem returns. Always on the exact same controller/bone/attribute.

What I imagine is happening is that somehow the scene is confusing the order of these controllers when it loads, and just applying the data it knows belongs to C_LEar to the first C_LEar it finds, and for whatever reason isn't using the long name to save off the key.

Any one have any thoughts?

- Dan
  10 October 2013
Namespaces are the issue, or rather lack of. The whole of Maya's referencing pipeline really relies on namespaces to partition the data, or rather to virtually partition the data. Are you also running characterSets?

If you look in the edits for any reference you'll see they're just connectAttr(a,b) strings, referencing is basically just one big macro that runs. So without safe namespaces these connects will no doubt get confused.

Why do you say you can't use namespaces?
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  10 October 2013
Yup.. namespaces you must use them or this kind of thing will happen. There is no getting around it unless you want to prefix all your files before referencing them or import your files both of which cause worse problems than dealing with namespaces.
blah blah blah
  10 October 2013
regarding Namespaces - I was afraid of that. I was hoping there was a way I could force the connections to look at the long names for the curves with just a quick startup script or something.

We're not using them at the moment just because our pipeline isn't set up to support them at all, and they do bad things in several areas of our current process.

Theoretically we can support them, we'll just have to spend more time on it than I was hoping. That and retroactively having to figure out what to do with the hundreds of anims we have already.

Thanks for the input.
- D
  10 October 2013
I've seen prefixes mentioned as an alternative to namespaces. I've never used prefixes before, thought it might be worth a mention.
  10 October 2013
Originally Posted by fleabay: I've seen prefixes mentioned as an alternative to namespaces. I've never used prefixes before, thought it might be worth a mention.

Yeah it would mean for every instance of a duplicate rig you want to use that you'd have to create and reference a separate file with the prefix on all the nodes. It's hardly ideal considering there are namespaces that solve that problem. In either case adopting either of these solutions will not fix the current problem of broken animation scenes.

In theory if your animation scenes are ascii you might beable to hack at them to use longnames.. but you might as well just fix all your tools to work with namespaces.

Not using namespaces is so like ten years ago.
blah blah blah
  10 October 2013
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