UNREAL / Maya - character help


Hey everyone.

I’ve tried many times unsuccessfully to export animated characters from Maya to Unreal and never with any luck.
Mind you - my purpose is to use feature-quality rigs (not gaming rigs) in Maya and move them to Unreal in order to skip the rendering. (Unreal is capable of producing some really convincing Arch Viz environments these days)… and I personally think that having the ability of changing camera angles on the fly and rethinking focal points without the need to re-render would be amazing.

BUT - so far - no luck. I’ve tried with rigs from Animation Mentor (I’m a former student), iAnimate (same), Longwinter Studios, etc… and i haven’t found anything that even comes remotely close to working. I’ve tried exporting the mesh, then the skeleton with and without constrains, then the whole scene, then just the animated skeleton and reassign in Unreal, (all via fbx)… tried also (in desperation) to use the “export to Unreal” menu option in Maya 2018, and it pretty much never works.

SO… help! Without having to model and rig my own characters (which is unlikely to happen since I know nothing about rigging, and I’m not there when it comes to organic modeling) - what advice/ tutorials/ etc do you have?

AND if there is anyone here who knows someone from Digital Dimensions (who did just what I’m describing for their TV series named ZAFARI) - I would love a contact in order to pick their brain about this. It’s been 6 months… and I still can’t get the thing to work.

Sleepless in PA. =)


So to be clear, you know nothing about rigging and you’re trying to skip the Unreal rigging process.

You say it’s been six months. In that time, you could have easily just learned the Unreal rigging process! You will feel upset for me saying this, and fairly so, but you’re the one who keeps wasting your own time trying to skip things. Such as skipping rendering by using Unreal? That’s just silly. I know they do it in some cheap, budget studios and that’s fine. I have no problem with that.

But if you’re expecting Maya’s level of control and power in Unreal, you’re in for a really bad time. In six months, you could have already finished your project in Maya/Vray/mental ray/Arnold. Your approach here just seems lazy.


Interesting reply.

The intention was never to cut corners - but to cut costs. Render times always have financial implications and small studios and hobbyists need to constantly streamline costs.
I believe animating in Maya (industry standard) and importing into Unreal for texturing, effects and camera editing would save a ton of time and money when it comes to rendering or dealing with render farms.

Either way - problem solved. From Maya 2018 I took the finished animation and exported the mesh via alembic into unreal. It was really cool to go from finished animation to “rendered” in 15 mins.