USD workflow Maya anim to Houdini

   1072   7   1
User Avatar
Member
81 posts
Joined: Feb. 2021
Offline
We do our rigging and animation in maya, export that anim as a selfcontained usd file and reference into solaris.
Now, had we done the anim in houdini, we would be using a manifest and a layerbreak before the anim publish, and sublayering the anim into the correct place.

Since Maya is... well... maya. There doesnt seem to be any way to use a usd manifest file and output your anim as part of that structure. Or am I missing something?
Edited by AndreasWeidman - July 20, 2021 11:26:46
Andreas Weidman
VFX Supervisor - Swiss International
www.swiss.se
User Avatar
Member
9 posts
Joined: June 2011
Offline
hi, what file format is the anim coming out of maya? alembic?
User Avatar
Member
4649 posts
Joined: Sept. 2011
Offline
Maybe there's a better 3rd party usd plugin for maya that would facilitate that.
User Avatar
Member
81 posts
Joined: Feb. 2021
Offline
USD. So what we do today is that we just reference that in. But that doesnt really jive with the optimal workflow we can use within houdini.

The optimal way would have been (simplified version):
- manifest.usd with the structure and all asset names.
- Some_model_asset.usd exported (name matching the manifest)
- These and other layers are linked in scene.usd
- Anim brings in scene.usd which automatically has the model. Rigs it. Animates it. Publish usd
- Light brings in scene.usd which now has the anim on the model (anim.usd + model.usd + manifest.usd).

But since maya doesnt seem to have a way of placeing things into a usd structure unless exporting it first, you would not be able to rig the model and keep it in the same structure. Or importing the model and placeing it in the structure even.

In other words. Maya seem only to be able to 1. import a usd structure and move/change things already there. But not add custom geo or anything to it. 2. Only way to export non-usd stuff to usd is to export the full non-usd stuff rather than just the changes/overrides that you actually want.

Drives me nuts. Just counting the days until we can go full on with kinefx
Andreas Weidman
VFX Supervisor - Swiss International
www.swiss.se
User Avatar
Member
12 posts
Joined: Sept. 2014
Offline
You don't have to export the whole scene geometry in animation.
When you bring in the scene.usd you can rig and animate a single asset and publish only this asset as anim.usd. In a post process you update the scene.usd to add the anim.usd as a sublayer. The anim.usd contains only a single animated asset, but when lighting imports the scene.usd it will have the whole scene with all the other static assets.
Richard Frangenberg
Founder and developer
https://prism-pipeline.com [prism-pipeline.com]
User Avatar
Member
81 posts
Joined: Feb. 2021
Offline
Are you sure about that RichardFr? Because there seems to be no way at all to being in the model/sceneusd and rig as a stage and rig that. Mayas rigging tools, or any geo tool for that matter, cannot interact with usd elements in maya like it can with say sopmodify in houdini it seems.

You can import it/convert it into a regular maya content and export the anim as a seperate thing, (which is what we have been doing), but that, and only using the usd-files intead of alembics, has little to do with the proper usd workflow I am looking for. I.E only exporting the changes, the animation data etc, withing a strict manifest and inherits. Anything else would just be business as usual

What maya needs is SOP create, SOP modify, an SOP import functionality. Without that it does not seem that mayas usd stages would be uselful for anything really?

Appriciate the reply though!
Edited by AndreasWeidman - July 24, 2021 10:05:58
Andreas Weidman
VFX Supervisor - Swiss International
www.swiss.se
User Avatar
Member
12 posts
Joined: Sept. 2014
Offline
Yes you are right, you cannot rig or even animate USD objects in Maya. Also as far as I know there is no easy way to convert USD objects to native Maya objects. The objects, which will be animated need to be imported as Maya geometry unfortunately.

I went through an example USD workflow, which also brings Maya animation into Houdini:
https://vimeo.com/551545616#t=1070s [vimeo.com]

The way it works in this example:
- rigging imports the asset geo as native Maya geometry so it can be rigged
- the rigged asset gets published as .mb
- animation loads the scene.usd as USD data, which contains the shot camera, the set and character assets for reference
- animation also brings in the rigs from the .mb file and animates them
- the animated geometry gets published as anim.usdc and added as a sublayer in the scene.usd, which can be loaded by downstream departments

So the Maya stages are used in animation only for bringing in static assets and the camera for reference and playblasts. The Maya USD workflow is much more limited than in Houdini for sure, but at least downstream departments can load the scene.usd and have everything they need from the upstream departments.
Richard Frangenberg
Founder and developer
https://prism-pipeline.com [prism-pipeline.com]
User Avatar
Member
81 posts
Joined: Feb. 2021
Offline
Too bad. That was what I was fearing, but expected expected, and the exact way of working we do currently.

It’s really a shame that this was Mayas USD implementation.
I suspect we’ll move our anim to Houdini and kinefx rigs before maya fixes this and gets onboard the usd train.

Glad to know I wasn’t crazy when trying to figure this thing out. Thanks for helping me confirm that Richard.
Edited by AndreasWeidman - July 24, 2021 12:53:30
Andreas Weidman
VFX Supervisor - Swiss International
www.swiss.se
  • Quick Links