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3ddrew 06-04-2008 05:50 PM

Importing articulated models from Maya 7.0
Hey guys,

I love me some modeling, and I've figured out how to export meshes to the *.ase format and gotten some of my 3D work into Alice, but I'm completely baffled as to how to get an articulated character exported properly.

If you have any advice or tutorials, please help. I'd like to add to the library of models for this program. :D



DrJim 06-06-2008 10:24 AM

Unhappy Answer
Basically the answer is you can't. Had thought there was some discussion of this in the forum but a quick search only uncovered the following:

The problem is that Alice 2.0 does not support articulated models, i.e., there are no such things as joints, bones, skins, etc. - only meshes and textures.

Additionally, most conversion programs (for 2D and 3D) generally don't import a full layered hierarchy - so you either just get a single mesh or a flat structure with many, many parts (not infrequently into the hundreds). In addition to being difficult to sort out, Alice really slows down with these complicated models.

At one time, Alice 3.0 was going to support fully articulated models. I don't know if this is still planned (it seems quite ambitious) but if so, hopefully you will be able to import that style of model also.

DrJim 06-07-2008 02:40 PM

Model Import
Just posted an example of what can - and can't - be done in the current version of Alice - see [url][/url] .

jedavis 06-12-2008 03:45 PM

It can be done
Actually it can be done.

Download the ActorX plugin from [URL=""]here[/URL] and set it up with Maya, select the objects to save as an ASE file (only meshes are acceptable and they must be in a parented structure), then type "axmesh" in the MEL command box and hit enter.

A window should appear where you can select where to save the file. Then just use the import command in Alice. UV information comes with it, but you will have to apply the texture in Alice (you can still, of course, test the texture in Maya).
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DrJim 06-13-2008 02:16 PM

What happens to the bones and their connections to the surfaces - assuming you have made a boned structure in Maya? Are any movement limits preserved?

I may be misreading your posting - but it looks like the technique only works for the mesh. Nice to know - that avoids Biturn, which can occasionally cause problems - but the original question was for articulated structers.

jedavis 06-16-2008 12:20 PM

Articulated models
Alice has no "bones" with inverse kinematics so if that is what 3ddrew meant by "articulated models" then no, it cannot be done.

However, if the pivot points are placed in the correct spots of the mesh objects and they are put in a parented hierarchy then the model will be as "articulated" as any other Alice model.

Just to clear up the point of my previous post (it really belongs in the thread you linked to): Maya can be used just as effectively (with a few extra steps) to create Alice models as 3ds Max.
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DrJim 06-17-2008 08:22 AM

Thanks for the clarification. You do make an excellent point about Maya.


[QUOTE=jedavis;5868]Alice has no "bones" with inverse kinematics so if that is what 3ddrew meant by "articulated models" then no, it cannot be done.

Actually what I generally consider an "articulated model" is one that has both a structure that is separated from the objects surfaces/textures and is dedicated strictly to animation and and additional set of software procedures to link the "bones" and the "skins." When done right, this avoids the smoothness problems that can occur where different objects join. If one of those proceedures is IK - it's great.

This is a distinction more from "hands on" work, rather than a rigorous definition, however. If anyone in the forum is actually teaching animation in an academic environment, maybe they would like to add some comments.

alvinson 06-27-2008 11:56 PM

Thanks for the clarification. You do make an excellent point about Maya.
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