Max to Maya rig conversion - need advice!


hey there,

I´m looking into ways to convert a 3ds max rig into a workable maya rig.
I don´t need the animation transferred, just the rig, so a maya animator could work on the animation and give me back the animated mesh via alembic ( no need to send the rig back to Max).

My most burning questions:

  1. Is it even possible to transfer a custom bone based rig (no Biped or CAT) for animation from max to maya, or can I just transfer animated bones? I´m thinking about all the helpers and constraints usually used to build a custom bone based rig…
  2. Can I just transfer the bones and skin, or is there a way to also transfer control objects with wiring parameters or constraints, WITHOUt baking the (at this point) non-existent animation?
  3. if not…do I still need someone with maya experience to help me with setting up controls for the rig, or is there a workaround for this?
  4. Since I don´t wanna do a bone based facial rig (its probabyl not necessary and also I don´t know how to do that…;)…I should be able to at least transfer all morph targets stored in a morpher modifier and they should come out in maya as blendshapes, right? So all I would need to do is to have someone set up a control system for that as well, right?
  5. Is FBX still ignoring any modifiers above skin? So I won´t be able to use skinmorphs for correcting skinning issues?
    I can probably work around that by either setting up a very basic bone based muscle rig, or simply using mush3D to correct anything after animation on a per shot basis.
  6. Are these all the problems I might encounter or are there other things to consider?

I´m also gonna post this in the maya and 3dsmax forum, just in case anybody is wondering.

If you wanna know why I´m even bothering, I´m happy to tell you the full back story, but I´m mostly interested in the answers to the above questions…:wink:


I looked into FBX a bit more and I don´t think what I want is possible, since its lacking support for IK,

No IK means I could only convert a very limited FK rig from Max to maya and who wants that, eh?

If I´m mistaken, PLEASE correct me, but I guess I´m back at square one…
Deciding which is gonna be harder or more frustrating:

A) Finding a capable rigger to finish the rig in Maya on a zero budget.
B) Finding enough 3ds Max character animators on a zero budget.


Well, you may have found out already, but you are correct that you won’t be able to do a 1 to 1 transfer of the rig from Max to Maya. The file you would be able to pass between would be an FBX, but there are limits what the FBX can hold. It will get bone heirarchies and skinned meshes, and even mesh with morph targets. Nodes that are unique to Max or any type of constraints will not carry over. The best way for you to do this is export the skeleton and skinned mesh and recreate the control rig in maya. If it is a humanoid character you can use Maya’s human IK to quickly rig up the already skinned character. Human IK isn’t the most amazing rig but it can work in a pinch.