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Art Pipeline
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aceio76 Offline
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Post: #1
Art Pipeline
Hello everyone,

We're evaluating the engine and I've some basic questions regarding the art pipeline, but particularly for Maya users (we're a Maya shop). So these questions are pointed to those who have been successfully using Maya as the model creation tool for both static and animated 3d objects.

- Do you use Maya for creating the animations, or do you rely on EE for it?
- For either approach, how does the export work from Maya? Are you using OpenCollada? How did you configure the plugin to export properly?
- How does the rigging/skinning work? We can't seem to find tutorials that assist in this.

Any of your help and input would be greatly appreciated. We still haven't purchased the engine yet, so far so good, but we need to understand how our art pipeline will change or be affected by using EE.

Also, if anyone would be so kind, I'd appreciate if we could do a screen share (GotoMeeting) while you go through an export from Maya to EE, specifically on an animated model.

Thanks a bunch!

Regards,

www.thinkplaystudios.com
07-30-2011 03:03 PM
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runewake2 Offline
Member

Post: #2
RE: Art Pipeline
Check out the videos on this page: http://www.esenthel.com/?id=tool/model_editor

Specifically, this one, http://www.esenthel.com/?id=tool/model_e...mport_anim
It's MAX not Maya but the process should be similar.
(This post was last modified: 07-30-2011 03:51 PM by runewake2.)
07-30-2011 03:48 PM
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ronalmb Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Art Pipeline
Hello,

Thank you for your reply, Runewake2.

I am one of the maya artists evaluating Esenthel for its use for us. I am very impressed with what the engine can do, but also need maya compatibility for our existing assets.

While Max and Maya share similarities, a pretty big one is that Maya uses Y as up in the world space, whereas Max uses the Z axis for up.

While I do not really grasp the complications this brings to conversion and programming, I've done a few tests and experiments that have brought me to a few conclusions that lead me to believe that this difference is the root cause of problems folks are having with importing Maya skeletons into Esenthel.

I am including visual example of the issue, as its better than my trying to explain it. This is an XYZ Axis modeled in maya to reflect the Maya world space:

[Image: MayaAxes.jpg]

Note that in this image, z comes forward into world space while X extends to the right.

When run through the maya collada converter, the model imports inverted (scaled to -1) on the Z axes. As this sentence makes no sense to me when i read it, I've included a visual:

[Image: EsenthelAxes.jpg]

Y is still up, but X is pointing forward while Z runs off to the right. I've rotated the model in Esenthel so that the X arrow aligns where it would in maya, but you can tell by the lettered tips, that they aren't quite right, as below:

[Image: EsenthelAxes_02.jpg]

X and y now match the original maya window view's position, but note that the Z direction moves away in the distance, instead of coming forward.

Strange things also seem to occur when i attempt to import skeletons from maya. They arrive, but they often arrive wrong. My left skeletal bones are on the right, and the right ones are on the left.

I suspect that most of it is a matter of having the exact Maya Collada settings selected during export so that Esenthel can utilize them properly. So far, attempts to use the Max setting examples have failed.

We're looking to hear from individuals that have had success with the Maya Collada exporting that will share their settings so that we may properly test the engines use to us.

Thank you for reading through this longwinded post, and I hope that it has helped illustrate some of the issues I am experiencing.

Sincerely,

Michael.
(This post was last modified: 07-30-2011 06:25 PM by ronalmb.)
07-30-2011 06:24 PM
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knocks Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Art Pipeline
I to have these problems with maya and modo. Was wondering why right handed character’s where coming in left handed.

I thinks it’s the fact that esenthel is converting using a –X axis instead of a +X.

What I do is load my dae without animations, then go to animation tab and dump a animated dae file on the editor and import animation to current mesh/skeleton.

Once animation is loaded go back to mesh tab and hit shift+X to mirror the mesh and skeleton along the X axis, then back to animation tab and resave the animation, this will save the animation flipped on the x axis.

For my next animation I go back to the mesh tab and flip it back to the original X axis shift+X again then load next animation as before, flip the mesh then resave animation.

I do this for all my animations so there all saved with the flipped x axis.

Finaly I resave my mesh and skeleton on the flipped X axis.

Now if only I could get my animations to load through code.wink
(This post was last modified: 07-31-2011 02:19 AM by knocks.)
07-31-2011 02:13 AM
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aceio76 Offline
Silver Supporter

Post: #5
RE: Art Pipeline
Thank you very much. You have provided us some direction to follow that we will check out soon. We wouldn't be pushing the issue if not for the existing 3D assets we have that was for a different engine.

www.thinkplaystudios.com
07-31-2011 04:14 AM
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Esenthel Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Art Pipeline
EE uses the same axis orientation as in Direct3D
X - right
Y - up
Z - forward

I recommend OpenCollada plugin, although I've tested it only from 3ds max.

If you have problem with character model, please attach sample model file, and screens from maya, then from EE model editor after importing using OpenCollada.
08-02-2011 12:45 PM
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ronalmb Offline
Member

Post: #7
RE: Art Pipeline
Esenthel,

Thank you for the reply. If you use the right handed Direct X system (which maya uses as well), then there seems to be something wrong with the Maya version of the OpenCollada plugin or how it gets taken into the engine. I am including my maya file (Maya 2009), as well as screen shots of the model in maya and what happens somewhere after it leaves maya.

1. This is Testguy. His Left Hand (L), his Right Hand ®:
[Image: Screenshot_001.jpg]

I transport him through the OpenCollada plugin in and send him on his way to planet Esenthel, but like a Star Trek episode, he has a transporter accident! I get his evil mirror universe copy (see below):

[Image: Screenshot_002.jpg]

He is definately getting inverted on the X axis.

I have tried to attach the maya.mb file, but the attachment says that the format is not allowed. Do you have another way for me to get it to you?

Thanks for your time.
Follow up:

To help identify whether it is a maya OpenCollada exporting problem or the way that Esenthel reads maya OpenCollada .dae files, I imported the testguy.dae file into Studio Max 9. Although he has the typical Maya to Max change from Y to Z up orientation (he's lazy now and on his back), he did not arrive inverted. His right hand is still his right hand, as evidenced below:

[Image: Screenshot_003.jpg]

The issue seems to be in the way that Esenthel reads the Maya Open collada .dae files. I'm not clear on the mechanics, but I believe that a Max .dae and a Maya .dae will have some differences. If Esenthel just reads both types the same, could that be the cause of the inversion?

I believe that this problem also is what is troubling people that attempt to import OpenCollada Maya skeletons and animations as well. The bones are usually inverted on one side, and the parenting gets confused.

I recognize that MAX has a large market of developers and artists, but I do believe that Maya has a sizable enough number of users that improving upon Maya compatability can only be a boon for Esenthel. I love this engine. I really want to use it. Just ask anyone in our development team -- i won't shut up about how much I love it.

I will be happy to give you as much of my time and files as needed to help improve that compatibility. I also like to type, and write tutorials, so I can and would provide maya related how tos for the engine.

Thanks again!
(This post was last modified: 08-03-2011 03:26 AM by ronalmb.)
08-03-2011 03:07 AM
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knocks Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Art Pipeline
I get these results not only with open collada files .x aswell and native modo dae, my export tool of preference is ultimate unwrap and see same results.
08-03-2011 03:46 AM
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Esenthel Offline
Administrator

Post: #9
RE: Art Pipeline
Hi,

Thanks for the images,

you can archive the maya file using .rar (and attach the .rar file)
please also attach opencollada exported .dae file inside the .rar

if the attachment will be too big, please upload them to some rapidshare and post a link.

Thank you
08-06-2011 11:37 AM
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ronalmb Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Art Pipeline
Thanks for your reply. Included is the maya TestGuy project.
He is located in scenes folder.
His .dae is in DAE folder.

I look forward to being able to get models into Esenthel from Maya!


Attached File(s)
.zip  TestGuy.zip (Size: 286.7 KB / Downloads: 9)
08-06-2011 03:18 PM
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Esenthel Offline
Administrator

Post: #11
RE: Art Pipeline
Thank you!

I'll check this soon smile
08-06-2011 03:23 PM
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Esenthel Offline
Administrator

Post: #12
RE: Art Pipeline
I'm confirming the mirror issue in Maya when using OpenCollada or DaeFBX (with Y axis)

However if you'll use built-in DaeFBX with Z axis conversion in export options, then it works fine.
You may need to disable OpenCollada plugin in the plugins-manager, and enable FBX plugin.

I'll proceed to fix OpenCollada and DaeFBX (with Y axis) asap.
08-07-2011 03:10 PM
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Esenthel Offline
Administrator

Post: #13
RE: Art Pipeline
I'm fixing the mirror issue (done, will upload in few minutes), could you attach a sample maya character model file with animation so I could verify that animations import correctly too?
08-07-2011 05:17 PM
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ronalmb Offline
Member

Post: #14
RE: Art Pipeline
Great news!

I am including a maya project file with a rigged model, as well as one maya animation file. The animation is as originally used, so you may need to bake the animation during the export process.

As this is a project model, I will PM you the password for the .7z file - I don't really want to mass distribute the crab just yet. smile

Hope this helps.


Attached File(s)
.7z  Crab.7z (Size: 812.09 KB / Downloads: 7)
08-07-2011 08:26 PM
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cmtanko Offline
Member

Post: #15
RE: Art Pipeline
hello,
yes the same problem had troubled us alot previously. Seems like finally the solution is coming out.
Still I'd like to share how we got out of that situation. This may not be a good approach, but it worked for us. Since the Maya and EE had different world Axis orientation,
1.We changed the Up Axis of MAYA to 'Z up' (which is 'Y up' by default) then exported using openCollada plugin.
2. For Rigging :it was a long process.. we couldn't use the mirror skeleton tool of MAYA as it would create a problem , so had to manually set the skeleton for the right side and also tried different joint orientation..
3. for exporting animation to EE from MAYA, we couldn't find a straight way ahead. So we exported to .PSA (unreal format) and then imported in EE.
Finally it WORKED....


Since, the openCollada is now fixed.. Thanks to Esenthel.. We can get it done (Exporting from MAYA to esenthel) easily smile .
08-08-2011 07:01 AM
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