Comprehensive guide to animating egg-friendly Models in Maya

Hello again, I’ve been running tests on panda, trying to export some characters from Maya, but so far I’ve been unable to find a set of guides or rulesets to apply to my characters that would make them easy to export over to Panda. The Panda3D online manual has a little bit of info regarding textures, but sadly zero info on how the model is to be created, rigged, animated, etc.
Is there such a guide anywhere in the net? can somebody please post a link in this thread to said guide? If not, then, can we contribute the collective knowledge to make certain future seekers of wisdom find this info in a organized, easy to reference way?

So, some specific questions for those in the known:

  • Any naming convention for joints? Meshes?. From what I’ve been able to guess from the manual there’s not really any requirement here but I ask just in case.

  • Character Skinning, Smooth/Rigid bind/?

  • Baking Animation to the bones? I rig with iks parented under circles that function as controllers. How does the exporter works here?, does it bake the animation on its own? should it be done before hand? I used to export for Torque in the past and it was pretty straightforward for an animated character If I recall correctly.

Can’t think of anything else at this moment, but having those doubts cleared would be great as a starting point. Thanks a lot for your help!

Good questions,we’re currently working on a better manual page and tutorial portion for all these things. But until that’s out I hope I can clear up some of your questions.

-naming conventions. They aren’t required but it’s always a good idea. I usually prefix every joint I bind to as jnt_. The only time naming stuff a specific way comes up is when you’re dealing with textures. If I name a color map mesh_color.png, and then name it’s transparency map mesh_alpha.png, the exporter collapses them into one texture reference instead of two separate ones. However, even if you name them differently the egg should still work fine.

-Both smooth and rigid bind are supported in the maya exporter, but for a complex character you’ll probably get better deformations with smooth bind. However, lower poly models may work better with rigid.

-Baking animation: The exporter only looks at the position and rotation values of whatever bones are exported. This IS essentially baking, you don’t have access to the IK controllers inside Panda, they’re strictly for the animator in Maya. Panda only cares about the transformations (changes) to the bones in 3D space. These just get written as a number for each frame exported in the egg file per bone. Open up an animated egg file and take a look under the joints, they should have a number in 0.0 format for every frame you exported.

In short everything you described doing in Maya in your post should work fine. If it doesn’t post on the boards again and someone will definitely help you out.

Happy Egging,


Thanks a lot Andrew, I finally succeeded exporting the character and animation together with the DOS prompt, as the mel script refused to function at all, I think it does work after you generate the first egg with the prompt, but for a first try it doesn’t do much other than letting you access the Pview app fast.
However, I have my animated character to work on and will most certainly come back if I run into any other bump in the road. Thanks again for your help!

Good to hear you got it working from the command line at least. The MEL script should work, but there are a lot of variables involved. Most of them have to do with having the Panda bin directory in your system path. Also, check your script editor in maya to see exactly what the egger is doing (it takes the place of the standard command line output).

Also, keep an eye on the forums, we have a pretty full fledged standalone GUI for the egger that should be posted very soon.

Aloha :slight_smile:

Can you tell me if the Maya muscle system is usable with Panda3D ? I suppose that’s not working but …

Thanks a lot.

The maya muscle system is not compatible with Panda, or any other deformer for that matter, except blendshapes. And I’d suggest staying away from them. The only “deformer” that’s supported fully is Smooth Skin


andrew have complete right with his suggestion. the only thing you can do, is to bake your verteces, on that way you can use all deformers what you prefer to use.

i would suggest you, use the old conservative way for your muscles reaction (bones), or use blendshapes for it like andrew already mentoined.

maybe this helps you a bit, i captured a animation export out of maya.

the animation in maya:
exporting with panda 1.6.2:
executing a panda demo with the model inside: