Max-to-Maya, Maya-to-Max

Please, for the love of all that is great and good in this world, can somebody point me in the direction of a utility or plugin or similar that will allow me to move basic textured meshes between Maya and Max without needing to backflip through hoops while blindfolded? Over the years, I've had innumerable gizmos that could kindasorta export .obj's from Max or interpret .3ds files into .mb files or some other inexplicable conversion hoodoo, but it's usually crap and always unreliable. Since I never find anything worth holding onto, I eventually stop holding onto it and six months later I need it again.

I love modeling in Max, but I hate texturing with it. I love texturing in Maya, but I hate modeling with it. I want a solid solution that allows me to hop back and forth with a single model as often as I see fit, and ideally even reorient it to the Y/Z axis shift for whichever program I'm exporting from/to. Does such a thing even exist and, if so, whom do I have to kill to get it?


  • thomasp
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    thomasp interpolator
    there are some converters (polytrans, deep exploration, possibly more) that might do this. your other option is to use obj or fbx. for "basic textured meshes" it shouldn't be a problem to us these formats and scale the geometry on import - if i remember right, there's a factor of 1000 involved, max meshes arrive at insane dimensions in maya and have to be scaled down.

    sad thing is that stuff like material-id's are not kept during conversion - last time i checked, even fbx didn't handle this.

    there's no decent way to go back and forth between those apps and maintain consistency in your assets, afaik. as soon as you want to tweak something at a later stage and therefore need to switch apps, it becomes a nightmare.
  • Jay Evans
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    Jay Evans polycounter lvl 12
    I work with both all the time and have no problems using .obj There are a few options in the max importer\exporter you'll need to make sure are set correct.
    Lets assume you are in max and using the Max2Obj plugin.

    check box: rotate model, texture coordinates, normals, smooth groups.

    Vertex scale: The overall size of your model. You may want to export out of max at 0.01 and import at 100 so the meshes maintain the propper scale between the two.

    # of digits: max this out at 12 for best results. I belive this is decimal places of accuracy for vertex placement.

    There, should be no problem. Be aware that .obj's only store 1 UV channel, you can get around it by eporting multiple models.
  • Ryno
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    Ryno polycounter lvl 12
    .fbx worked pretty well for a project I was just on. The only problems were the crazy rigging and weighting solutions that the animators used in Maya. A lot of the data got dropped when it cam into max, and some of the weighting was kind of screwy. I believe that .fbx will only support 2 bones, and no blendshapes, so beware of this. For basic models, textures, UVs, material IDs, etc., it seemed just fine.
  • Sean McBride
    Ryno's right, FBX is a life saver. For just getting unweighted meshes from maya to max and the other way around i'd definantly point anyone to FBX.
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 12
    Deep Exploration is what we use. There tends to be some problems with triangulation and unwelding of verts, but its largely workable.
  • TomDunne
    Awesome guys. I hadn't heard of .fbx, but I'll check that out. I want to model in Max and texture/rig in Maya, so that sounds ideal.
  • Jeff Parrott
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    Jeff Parrott polycounter lvl 12
    PolyTrans is supposed to be really good from what I hear. FBX is great, the only thing with that is it might be going away in the next year or so since Alias bought Filmbox.

    I just use the basic OBJ exporter/importer for both programs for textured meshes and it seems to work fine. I hear it's real picky though.
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