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Importing and Rigging Poser characters in Maya

Author: kennez

Tools Needed

  • Maya 4.5 5. or 6
  • Trinity for Maya

Introduction

Trinity for Maya is a plug-in developed by Rendermagix, for allowing the creation and editing of Poser characters in Maya 4.5, 5.0 or 6.0. It allows you to import the base Poser character, and then load the morphs into the figure from within Maya. This means no more exporting OBJ files, finding all the textures you need, and goint through the process of adding the required textures.

Another benefit of Trinity for Maya is that it imports the Poser skeleton, allowing you to animate or pose the character directly in Maya.

To complete this tutorial, you will need the Trinity for Maya plug-in, available at http://www.rendermagix.com/trinity/index.htm

I will assume that you are somewhat familiar with Maya, and that you have also read the docs that come with Trinity. However, for those of you who don't like reading instrutions, I'll briefly go over them.

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Step 1 - BRINGING VICKY INTO MAYA

I am going to assume that you have installed the Trinity for Maya plug-in by following the instructions in the documentation. I am also going to assume that you have run the scripts to allow the Trinity plug-in to read the Poser files. If you have not, please go and read the manual now.

Right: on with the show!

First, you need to load up an empty scene. Also, make sure that your default unit is set to Centimeters. This is done by clicking on Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences > Settings. Select Centimeters as the working unit, and click Save(this step is not essential, but saves some time later)

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Now, in the MEL command line at the bottom of the interface, type the following:

TrinityCmd -cc V3 -n Vicky;

This will bring Vicky into the scene

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Step 2 - CLEANING UP THE FIGURE

Now that Vicky has been imported into Maya, it might be a good idea to tidy up the Outliner, making it easier to work with the scene.

Open up the Outliner, and select all of the Selection Sets that have appeared below the default lights.

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If you know for a fact that you will not use them, go ahead and press the Delete key. If you normally use selection sets, feel free to do whatever you usually do with them.

Expanding the Vicky group, you will notice that there is a JointsGroup. If you select this, you will select the skeleton that was brought into the scene along with the geometry.

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Poser skeletons are not the best for animation, but if you don't have the time to create a rig from scratch, leave it, otherwise delete it.

Step 3 - SKINNING THE FIGURE

To bind Vicky to the skeleton, first select the Animation menu set.

Expand the JointGroup node in the Outliner, and select the Hip joint. Next, select the Body geometry (holding Ctrl whilst clicking), and go to Skin > Bind Skin > Smooth Bind > Options.

For rigging, I find that the following settings give decent results:

Bind To - Complete Skeleton

Bind Method - Closest Joint

Max Influences - 5

Dropoff Rate 4.0

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Now, simply click Bind Skin, and it should now be possible to animate Vicky.

Step 4 - NEXT STEPS

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The deformations will NOT be perfect as they are, and will need smoothing out with weight maps. This is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but the results obtained if you followed along are definately usable (be careful with those poses though).

Also there is no IK set up here, so you will need to set that up.

Other than that, there you go. A Poser character that can be animated in Maya, and it didn't cost you a penny for anything other than the content!