On Jedi Challenges we are working with some rigs created with Rapid Rig,
previously built rigs from Star Wars: Commander, and rigs from an outsource vendor using a proprietary method. The latter of which could not share their export pipeline with us.
The Universal Export Tool provides the animator a single-point solution to export their animations regardless of the various pre-processing necessary for different types of rigs. The user can select one or more referenced rigs and automatically import, bake keys, remove namespaces, pre-process and export to a predefined path – dramatically decreasing time spent on preparing and possibility of user error.
While user friendly, the tool is completely expandable. It uses predefined text files containing the name of a root joint to bake as well as the preparation process for that specific rig. For example, Rapid Rig rigs need their controls and proxies removed before export, while the outsourced rig required running a script defined within the rig file.
Generally, as the sole tech artist, I would be the one updating these files but it is very user friendly for a non-technical artist to modify these preprocesses. The text files can be modified within the tool itself.
Furthermore, there is an option for the user to record
actions in maya, and generate the MEL commands needed to replicate that process, similar to actions in Photoshop. (fig 4) This is especially useful if a non-coder needs to set the preprocessor to do simple tasks such as un-parenting certain parts of the
hierarchy for export, or setup proper names for new rigs.
See a short clip of the tool in action in my demo reel below. Video should start at the clip of the tool. Unfortunately I no longer have the full video recording of the tool.