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How to import anything from maya to Second Life

Georgina Darkwatch

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I know that a lot of you are probably sick of answering questions about this, but, I've recently taken up to modeling on 3D using Autodesk Maya 2011. I'm getting the hang of modeling, and I'm now trying to use my creations in Second Life, but waving the chance of sounding like a total newbie (Witch I am I guess) I just cant find the way to import either in mesh or as a sculpt. I have been looking online, and found a lot of information but I became overwhelmed and just completely lost as to where to even start. I would appreciate any nudge on the right direction and any advice or recommendation to what to look for, search or otherwise, that anyone could have. Than you in advance!
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this is a erepost from another Threaed, but this shouold help for non rigge mesh as well> make sure yoou are uising OpenCollada, rather than the FBX/DAE exporter.  But here

Well I figured out the problem with my Maya files. I received a bad skeleton. So Maya users, if you do not get a  export skin weights button, it's probably because the skeleton file is bad. The legends  of the SL skeleton being finicky are indeed true. Once I used a clean skeleton from a source no longer available,  the weighting was exportable, and thus began a day long task of painting skin weights.  Then I discovered, and fixed a second problem.
The initial skin bind looked bad around the knees, I was informed that one could "move" the joints, but never rotate them. So I "corrected: the position of the knee joints by moving to where they were indicated on the mesh. It was true that you could move them and still obtain a valid export of a weighted mesh, but the knees no matter how they were weighted, they would not  be fixed. 
For this to work, you cannot move, rotate, or modify the skeleton in any way to obtain a good skin bind. I ended up using scales, and mesh deformers to push the geometry and push the Mesh so the mesh lined up with the joints. Then I deleted the history and bound the skin, and proceeded as normal.
here is that "good" skeleton file, On generated for Maya users from the days of the Mesh Beta.
WARNING:  This files units are in centimeters, unfortunately, and I hesitate to rescale the skeleton, so  in binding you need to export yoru weighted mesh at a scale factor of 100 (100 centimeters  = 1 Meter), and because the scale factor only applies to the mesh, It doesn't support bone offsets, so leave that unchecked or your mesh when worn ill looked like a crumpled up tissues, pulsing with a hideous parody of live and movement.
Maya Procedure:
1.) Open the above file, and immediately rename it as something else and save it.
2.) Import your mesh into the scene.
3.) Scale the mesh, and deform it to match the bones. Delete History on the mesh.
4.) Select the Mesh and then select the root nose (Pelvis) and choose "Bind Smooth Skin". Leave "removed unused influences" check box unchecked.
5.) You now have a  bound skinned mesh, now.
6.) Save your file as a  copy, renames it as something else.
7.)  This new file is specifically to animate the skeleton to test skin weighting and edit it.  Animate the  skeleton , including into the porn poses so as to give you  an idea of how the mesh will behave once its in the grid.
8.) Using the "Paint skin weights" tool,  and the animation slider,  scrub the animation to a certain point and then use the brush to modify the shape of the mesh into the proper  form in that particular pose.Use low opacity settings on the brush (or a tablet where the stylus us set to control opacity with pressure).
9.) A day Later, once you have made good skin weights, go to "Skin -> Edit Smooth Skin -> Export Skin weights.-> [ ] "(Click on the box). When the dialogue box comes up choose a place to save the weight maps (note this only works on a mesh where the UV Maps are  completed) name them.  Maya will ask if it's okay to write 26 files to disk? Accept that and sit back.
10.) Go back to your first copy file, the one you made the initial skin weight on, and select the mesh, and  go ""Skin -> Edit Smooth Skin ->Import Skin Weights. A dialogue box will pop up and ask you ti find the weight maps. Go to where you saved the export from the above step and there will be a file named "[File name]_weightmap".  Click on that and select open.  Maya will perform it's magic (rezzing points from 0,0,0, making the mesh look like it's transporting in from Star Trek.). If you do not get the transporter effect, and Maya appears to do nothing, that is because there is a change in the mesh itself (not the binding) between the first copy and the second copy, and you will have to start over from Step 5.
11.) Once Maya completes is magic,  click the skin, then click the Skeleton (on the root node), and select Export, and export the file as a Collada DAE File. Import with the above caveats taken into account and you should have a nicely skinned mesh in SL to wear.
Hope this Helps.

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  • 4 months later...

Here's some new information that probably many don't know. I use maya 2012 and i use the fbx export 2011 in it(not the dae one). then i convert it to dae with 2011.3 converted found from autodesk website. Easiest to find is by just googling it.

Some of the info i give here i wont explain deeply cos you can find info about them easily just by googling a bit.

I made my own base skeleton using the info inside the avatar_skeleton.xml file that you can find in second life install folder. just search it from there. The file shows the hierarchy structure, names, rotations, position and scales of the joints. Thats all you need to build it.

Now comes the new stuff.

display Local rotation axis of all the joints. All of them need to be facing the same way. Now if you try to move a joint check what happens. the local rotation axis flips pointing at its parent joint. This is probably what messes up the possibility to move joints. You can disable auto orient joints from translate tool settings. Also there is orient joint tool in the skeleton menu. You can also manually rotate the local rotation axis of the joints by going to component mode and selecting all of the local rotation axis components and using command:   rotate -sw 0 0 0;

This way you can move your joints however you want and you are not stuck with the default avatar pose. you could even make a dog or whatever.

Trick to scale your skeleton in scene if you made the mistake that you built it in centimeters. Select your skeleton root. then group it(ctrl + g) now scale the group however you want. then just freeze the groups translations and the scales will be baked into the skeleton. Then just ungroup the skeleton after. Make sure you dont have any connections to the skeleton otherwise it wont allow you to freeze. Also if you have the skeleton posed the rotations will be baked in the joints aswell which you dont want.

Now here is stuff im a bit confuced about.

which of the local rotation axis should be pointing upward? Y or Z? im quessing Z. i went with that. it worked when i imported the mesh but im still unsure.

Should i make the skeleton so that scene up is Z axis? That can be changed in preferences. Also im quessing the unit size should be meters right.. I made the same mistake by making the skeleton in centimeters. Theres scene up axis setting in the exporter aswell i suspect it has to be Z aswell.

Now a bit offtopic but important anyway

How about animation. lets say i want to make this dog avatar. its abvious that default anims wont work on it. How in earth do i get working anims out of Maya. perfect workflow would be to use the same skeleton i used to skin the mesh for the animation. But nooo.....! the skeleton for animation need to have completely different names and god knows what else different than the skinning skeleton.

Ok, i maniged to build the new skeleton with right names and all. i downloaded some suspicious BVH exporter with no documentation whatsoever. Maya natively has .anim exporter aswell. Then i did some testing. So i read that first frame need to be keyed to 0 0 0 rotations. i did that. then i put some random pose to second frame so that all the joints has some rotations other than 0 0 0. i exported it in bvh format. It imported without errors to SL except the pose looked nothing like i made it in maya and also all the default animations were playing on top of it even with priority of 4. I also tried the anim format that simply imported an empty anim without error. it just didnt play anything.

This last stuff went totally off topic but i think if people wants to make avatars that differs from the basic skeleton pose a lot then there should be a working workflow to get it done. It's theoretically possible but seems like Maya simply isnt supported for SL content creation. It's a shame because it's one of the best animation softwares out there.

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  • 6 months later...

Along these same lines, has anyone come up with a converter for Maya animation to SL? You would think that the .anim would be directly applicable, but it doesn't seem to be. SL happily uploads a Maya .anim, but the file does nothing, so I assume SL can't really read it (and there's no input for priorities and so forth, which might be because it assumes it will be in the file somewhere already, and nothing in my Maya workflow has assigned those values.)

BVH exporters from Maya result in errors with the root not being named 'hip'. Obviously, renaming the pelvis bone would be a bad move so I'm not sure what it's asking for there. Previously, I've done all my animations in Poser but I really would like to work from Maya, where my mesh is nicely rigged and workable in so many other ways. Besides, moving the rigged mesh to another program hasn't been exactly a simple concept either.

I'm sure I don't know a fair amount of useful information concerning this stuff, but I do spend a lot of time trying to figure it all out and at a certain point, I just gotta ask to see what's already being done out there.

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  • 2 months later...

I am a total beginner to Maya. I use autodesk maya 2013.  When I upload a modified torus into second life, it is misshapen.  It is no longer a round circle but a flattened ring, What am I doing wrong? An unmodified torus loads just fine. I needed less of a donut and more of a ring. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. :) 

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