Monday, December 9, 2013

Modo to Maya modeling workflow

Let's cut to the chase....

CG animation is a medium where everything has to look good and most of the time be as fast as possible, that does not apply only for the end results, but for all the steps of the process. The tight bond between the concept, texture and animation with the modeling area, makes the last a high demanding and very important step for making a CG animation,  so each one of the models made not only need to look very good but also  they need to be done quickly. 

Having said that, why do not use the technologies available to accelerate the process?. Like pretty much everything in this world, different approaches to sculpt 3D objects have been made over time and each one of them have their advantages, therefore, having the model ready for production could be done more faster than just working with just one 3D package.0

Cluster's modeling artists know how to take advantage of  3D modelers features, but even though there is a waste a time; is tiresome open to a scene with a 3D Modeler, sculpt, save the scene, open other 3D modeler package, open the scene, change... well you get picture, and in fact  pixologic got the picture as well, with that in mind they developed GoZ;  if you do not know what is it: "GoZ is a dynamic bridge between Z-Brush and other 3D packages built around a specific file format, the GoZ file."

The thing we learnt about GoZee

"If you have a file format that both modelers read, you can make a Pipe, preferably an automated pipe".

So GoZ has the GoZ file to make a bridge between ZBrush and other 3D packages (and saving time in the process), but what happens if Z-Brush is out of the pipeline picture?. Cluster's artist wanted exactly that,  they did not want to have ZBrush in  between the Modo-Maya workflow. 

Well we had two options make more clicks or make a program who handles that. Of course for making an automated pipe we needed a way to interact with the 3D package, fortunately  Modo and Maya have (python and MEL).

The way we learnt to make that pipe  is to select all the meshes in the scene, copy each one of them in a temporary scene, save the meshes names in txt file and export one by one those meshes, all that behind the scene! (there are actually a tweaks  in the process like checking if there is a mesh previously saved and asking what to do next, but the basic idea is copy, past and export).

In Maya we read  the txt, locate the exported files and import them.

Let us exemplify:

As you can see there is one mesh in the scene, (but probably you can not see that is called ToMaya), so we run the script and  Modo asks for a few checks, after that the mesh is exported in a file called ToMaya and the name of the mesh is saved in a txt file, Modo sends the signal to run a mel script that loads the exported, like this:

In our approach the exported scenes are an obj file, but it can be done with  any format available in the 3D packages (we should start thinking in make alembic files.)

With all that said, the code, let us know if this was useful 
Thanks for reading, until next time