We are a team creating 3D characters for a game. Each of us is doing a separate character in a separate project. But we need all the characters to have exactly the same rig, and the rigging will be done by a different person. There is a need to speed up the process so we are thinking of doing the rig only once. Is there a way to export a rig from one Maya project and import it on a character in another?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure about this but can't you just copy and paste it? Open the first project, copy, open the second one and paste? \$\endgroup\$ – tkausl Nov 24 '14 at 9:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can I? I don't know I am not at home now. But how can I select the whole rig? Choosing joint by joint and bone by bone would be really time consuming \$\endgroup\$ – John Demetriou Nov 24 '14 at 10:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't know Maya well enough but in blender you have a list/tree of all objects in the scene, see upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6d/… in the top-right corner. \$\endgroup\$ – tkausl Nov 24 '14 at 11:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well we are using Maya so blender stuff would not really help \$\endgroup\$ – John Demetriou Nov 24 '14 at 11:33

Yes. You can export the "rig" into its own file, so you can import it into any other character files as necessary. To do this in a clean way:

  1. Make sure the rig is detached from any meshes, and skins are unbound. EDIT: make sure this rig is independent I.e. not connected in any way to any meshes or character objects in the scene that you are exporting it from.

  2. Make sure the entire rig is in one unified group in the outliner.

  3. Now select this main group, go to edit - select hierarchy.

  4. File - export selected, export it as an .ma file. EDIT: in the export selection options box make sure you include history, channels, constraints and expressions to preserve rig behavior.

This would be the rig file. Please note that skinning and blendshapes will change from character to character and so these need to be done for all the characters individually. The common base rig can be reused however.

Hope this was useful.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How do I detach it from the meshes? The "rig designer" will do it inside a mesh in order to know where each thing is put. How do I detach it later on? \$\endgroup\$ – John Demetriou Nov 24 '14 at 13:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Objects can be attached or dependent to one another in Maya in a multitude of ways. If joints are rigid or softly "bound" to the objects, they are said to be attached to the object. If constraints are applied, there is attachment. Etc. The rigger should be knowing more about this. \$\endgroup\$ – kartikg3 Nov 24 '14 at 13:46

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