“You've got nice assets.” An Asset Preparation How-To

In production 3d it is useful to keep things clean, streamlined, and easily updatable. Because of this, 3d houses will design and implement their own pipelines that use certain agreed upon formats for all aspects of the 3d process to ensure that everyone is playing by the same rules. It often times takes a bit longer to set up, but the idea is that it saves everyone's time and energy down the road when the client wants to make the girls head blue and turn the car into a boat.

At buck we have a certain way we like to set up ASSETS, or, 3d objects used in our scenes. The following is a quick guide to how to prepare an asset for use in a scene. This is not a guide to rigging a character. For that consult the character rigging info or Jeremy.

Assume you have an object that you have just modeled for a show and you are ready to prep it for use in production…we will use a fat pig for this example. Note: you will need to prep your model before rigging it. Prepare your model to rig!

Here is our pig. pic

  1. Group object and name group “parent” pic
  2. Group this again, and name this group “GEOgrp” pic
  3. Create a new layer called “GEO”, color it pure plue and add your GEOgrp to it. pic
  4. Create a control for your object, this is the “handle” that you will use to move, scale, rotate and constrain your object with. Use the "CTRL" button on the buck shelf. (do not use quick ctrl) pic1 pic2
  5. Rename your parent something logical – like the name of your asset, in this case, “fatPig_CTRL” pic
  6. Group this control and name the group “RIGgrp” pic
  7. Create a new layer called “RIG”, color it pure red, and add your control object to it. pic
  8. Go back to your geo group and look under the “parent” group node. If your object is composed of many polysurfaces, like mine was – and you want to KEEP them many different poly surfaces – go ahead and group them one more time – name this group the name of the asset, in this case, “fatPig” This is also a good time to select the node you just created and orient your object so it is sitting properly on the ground. In this example I moved the pig up so he was “standing” on the ground. pic
  9. Important step: you must select the GEOgrp and RIGgrp and choose edit—>freeze transformations[]. be sure to reset the settings on this tool. This will zero-out everything in the model and rig.
  10. Now you are going to constrain your object to its handle. Select your Control handle and then select either your mesh itself (ONLY if it is an object that is combined – ie ONE poly surface), or your lowermost object group node, in this case “fatPig,” and perform the following operations: parent constrain and orient constrain. Make sure you check “maintain offset” and “all axes”…maintain offset will keep any adjustments you made locked in…like moving piggy up. pic1 pic2
  11. Your object is now prepped! Test it out by moving, scaling or rotating the handle to make sure it worked (but be sure to undo when you're satisfied!). pic
  12. Save to the following location: \\abadal\work\current\[showname]\Production\MAYA\scenes\ASSETS\[assetname]\rig\[assetname].mb
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