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Old 02-25-2013, 10:11 PM   #1
Sircharlesgraham
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Graham Higgins
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Cinema 4D and Maya intergration

Hopefully Horganovski will see this one, I saw he had some plugins for maya which might be of use, but am wondering as a discussion what kind of intergration one can achieve with Maya and cinema. (being new to cinema)

Can I import maya scenes?

Maya animated characters? Maya rigs, cameras, models?

Im not really liking the cinema modelling tools either so was thinking of maybe modelling my stuff in maya then bringing it in to cinema. As most companies would want the models to be in cinema for them to work on if they needed to at a later date?

Uv'ing as well I've noticed is a real head wreck in cinema bodypaint. (I could be wrong).
Can I uv my model in maya and then import it in.

Lots of questions there sorry, but still learning,

Graham
 
Old 02-25-2013, 10:35 PM   #2
Horganovski
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Brian Horgan
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Heh, I did see it

I work with both apps all the time and find integration pretty painless, especially since C4D R14 which added the Alembic importer/exporter (native in Maya since 2012 SAP/2013).

A few general points :
Rigged characters (as in IK, constraints etc) will not transfer between the two programs as the systems for rigging are completely different.(Same with Max>Maya or any other apps).
What does transfer though is basic skinning and skeletons if you use the FBX format. So for example you can bake the joints of a rig, effectively making it like a mocap file in that it has keys on all joints for each frame, then delete the rig and just export the skeleton and mesh.

Generally though there's no need for that, usually all you really want is the deforming meshes so you can render them, that can be transferred back and forth between the 2 apps via either FBX vertex caches (tutorial on my website) or Alembic (a more straightforward method IMO). I've recently finished work on a short film for a studio in Norway where we did all the animation in Maya and then exported it back to Cinema via Alembic so that the studio could render it (using Maxwell in their case). The materials do have to be rebuilt in the target app to get them finalized though usually (FBX helps but doesn't get it 100% right usually, it doesn't understand shaders like Lamberts for example and will switch on Specular in the C4D material).

Cameras will transfer back and forth fine with both FBX and Alembic, on my own shots recently I've rendered some passes in Cinema and some in Maya and then composited the results in After Effects, everything lined up perfectly so the transfer is seamless.

Regarding UVs, yes the UV tools in Cinema/Bodypaint are pretty poor, but again it's easy to model/UV a mesh in Maya and then export it with the UVs intact via FBX or even OBJ (for quick stuff with just a static mesh I tend to use OBJ myself, FBX does have the advantage that it can bring basic materials across, but of course nothing procedural, those would need to be baked in the source app).

One last tip, if you are regularly bringing in FBX from Maya to Cinema, I'd highly recommend the Cactus Dan FBX plugin, it's cheap and has many more options than the native importer/exporter. One thing it gives for example is the option to set the scale for import/export (generally objects will be 10x too big if you export from Cinema to Maya). It also imports things like Nurbs Curves (aka Splines in Cinema), and even custom attributes (aka Userdata) and constraints (that contradicts my first point above a little, but note these are not the native C4D constraints, they are ones that are part of the Cactus Dan Constraints plugin).

Hope that helps,
Cheers,
Brian

Last edited by Horganovski : 02-25-2013 at 10:40 PM.
 
Old 02-25-2013, 10:52 PM   #3
Sircharlesgraham
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Graham Higgins
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Thats great info Brian, thanks for bringing me up to speed.

I am on R13 here so I hadn't seen that exporter yet, but might do that tutorial on your site to see whats involved.

So static mesh - just export an obj and it comes in all Uv'd etc.
But something with animation needs the Fbx, which presumably has all the keyed information ya?

Id say it might be worth just learning to rig in cinema though, cut out alot of messing.
I don't do alot at the moment but would like to down the road..

Graham
 
Old 02-27-2013, 11:20 PM   #4
Cactus Dan
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Howdy,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horganovski
...One last tip, if you are regularly bringing in FBX from Maya to Cinema, I'd highly recommend the Cactus Dan FBX plugin, it's cheap and has many more options than the native importer/exporter. One thing it gives for example is the option to set the scale for import/export (generally objects will be 10x too big if you export from Cinema to Maya). It also imports things like Nurbs Curves (aka Splines in Cinema), and even custom attributes (aka Userdata) and constraints (that contradicts my first point above a little, but note these are not the native C4D constraints, they are ones that are part of the Cactus Dan Constraints plugin)...


For an example of what the CD FBX Import/Export plugin can transfer to and from Maya, check out this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlqnPnnguOo

Adios,
Cactus Dan
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:20 PM   #5
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