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Mixamo to Maya Workflow

by | Sep 20, 2013

mixamo 3d animation

Today, our friend, Ty Clark from Mixamo drops by the Animation Mentor blog to share their rad auto-rigging tool, it’s capabilities, and how YOU can optimize your workflow using it. We think you will love the ability to generate your own characters. They recently released a student license, be sure to check it out. Thank you to Mixamo for sharing this awesome breakdown of how it works!

-The Animation Mentor Crew

Mixamo’s goal is to democratize 3D character art. We provide professional artists and developers — from independent, small, or large studios — with unprecedented access to high-quality 3D character creation and animation technology. In this article we will demonstrate how incorporating Mixamo’s tech with Autodesk Maya will greatly simplify your workflow. We’ll also show you how to use Mixamo’s character rigging tech, the Auto-Rigger, our Maya Control Rig Script, our 3D characters and 3D Animation Collection. Each serves its own purpose to speed up your production pipeline and get your 3D characters animated within your Maya scene in minutes… literally.

The Auto Rigger:
The Auto-Rigger is a system designed to calculate skinning weights on the fly, and build a professional rig for your 3D model in seconds. To use this highly advanced character rigging technology, make sure your model is in a T or A-pose then export your model from Maya in either an .fbx or .Obj file format. If you choose .fbx make sure the embed media box is selected when you export. If you are choosing an .Obj file extension, export it with the materials option on, then take the .obj, mtl, and texture files and zip them.

Once you have your exported file, it’s time to upload the file to Mixamo and let the Auto-Rigger work its magic. Start by going to the Mixamo site and sign up for a free account then upload your file(s), place the joint locaters and click rig. Afterwards you can download this file in .fbx, Collada or .bvh file types, and reimport back into Maya fully rigged.

Maya Control Rig:
With your Auto-Rigged character imported back into Maya you can apply Mixamo’s Maya Control Rig script which will create controllers for your rig. To do so first download the Maya Control Rig script. Next, open the script editor, click on the python tab and either drag and drop or click load script in the file menu to import the downloaded script. Click the play button, and then rig character on the menu that will appear. After executing the script you will now have a complete professionally built rig for your 3D character after only a few minutes of work.

The Animation Collection:
Once you have your rig built, you can choose from thousands of customizable, professionally created 3D Animation Collection, from Mixamo’s collection. By returning to the Mixamo website and clicking on Animations, you can browse through a collection of thousands of animations. Clicking on a motion will take you to the sequence editor. If your character does not appear automatically click edit character in the lower left and choose the Auto-Rigged character that you uploaded earlier. Selecting your character will match the skeleton of the Animation to the skeleton of your Auto-Rigged character.

Next, download the animation in the file type of your choice and select skeleton only from the dropdown menu on the download page. Import this file into your Maya scene that contains your fully rigged 3D character. With the Maya Control rig script select copy animation to rig and you will see that your 3D rigged character now has animation applied to it. You’re done!

Now you’ve seen how quick and easy it is to bring your 3D character to life within your Maya scene using Mixamo. These tools will save you countless hours of animating within your scene and will be a great addition to your workflow.

For more: including how to add Mixamo animations to your own Maya rig with FBIK — visit our tutorials and workflows page.

If you have any questions or feedback don’t hesitate to contact us at support@mixamo.com. We look forward to seeing your creations and until then, happy animating!

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