Alembic from C4D.. missing from scene on other machines

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Old 05 May 2013   #1
Alembic from C4D.. missing from scene on other machines

So I exported a C4D scene to an Alembic, and imported into Maya.. namely for these curves, which are somehow growing across the screen with no input/output/history, no idea how it works, but it does, and that's great, I extruded polys down them as needed and have my scene working as it should..

But I want to render it on my home machine too as the bloody macs at work can barely handle their own operating systems, but I seem to be having some trouble.

Now I have never use Alembics before and am never sure how to see just what the hell is going on behind the scenes in Maya, the hypergraph never makes much sense to me with these things, but I don't see any file references, so I assumed the data is just in my scene file..
I copied the project directory over to Dropbox and have set the project on my PC, only to find that anything I imported from the Alembic, exists now only as nulls within the outliner, no geometry, but more importantly, those curves are gone.

This is after setting the project to the directory in my Dropbox from the Mac, and actually saving the scene there properly, and making sure all other folders in the project have been copied over..
I even tried copying the original Alembic and C4D files over and putting them in the correct directory names in relation to the location of the project, though of course drive names and higher directory names are different.
I mean how far should I have to take this? If renaming my drives will make the file work, OK, I'll do it, but not as a likely to be unsuccessful experiment when there must be a far easier solution.. would anyone happen to know what that is?

Cheers! =)
 
Old 05 May 2013   #2
The Alembic format is a cache file, that's external to your Maya scene and is read in on each frame as the timeline updates, so the path does need to match so that Maya can find that file.

To change the path you can either select the object that's being driven by the cache, go to it's inputs where you'll see an Alembic Cache node, select that and in the Attribute Editor change the path, or just go to the Pipeline Cache menu and use the Replace Cache command to navigate to the new one.

There is a way to avoid this in future BTW :
If you used the default project layout for your files Maya would have a cache folder in there where you could put the cache, then when the entire project was moved to another machine it would still find it as rather than using the full drive path it would be something like 'myProject>caches>myAlembicFile. The project management in C4D is very poor (almost non-existent really) so when you export Alembic from it you would need to move the cache to that correct Maya folder manually (or just save it there from the C4D file dialogue when exporting the cache).

Cheers,
Brian
 
Old 05 May 2013   #3
Thanks Brian,

I've tried what you suggested, however, using the Replace Alembic function after moving the .abc to the cache directory simply functions the same as re-importing the alembic..
things I'd done to the scene since are not there, items I'd deleted from it re-appear etc., everything I've done to it since originally importing it is just ignored.

I tried reloading to previous to doing this, then fixing the directory fin the Alembic nodes, which I found in both the curves and the camera now, thanks for pointing that out, however this has no effect at all, and I've tried scrubbing the timeline.

Woah, fixed! All I had to do was save and re-open, not sure if it's putting it in the right folder, or re-directing a single node afterwards, but it's figured it out now. Cheers! =)
 
Old 05 May 2013   #4
The Replace Alembic command can work with some changes, but you need to add some additional commands than the default behavior. Type AbcImport -help in the command line to get a list of flags that you can use to import in the script editor. You might just want to make your own little command (Super easy!) Something like this:
AbcImport -mode replace -ct "test_GEP" -crt -rm "/file/path/alembic_v003.abc";

In your case though, it sounds like you are making some serious changes, which isn't really the best way to use Alembic caches...but if it works for you I guess that is cool.
The "Fix" you found is really the most surefire way to replace Alembic caches, though I really wish you didn't have to reload the scene. You can change the file on the cache node, save your scene. And then re-open the scene (In some rare case you may need to start a new scene first (Or even restart Maya)). Again, not ideal, but it seems to be the best way to update a cache if you have made changes.
 
Old 05 May 2013   #5
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