Thursday, 14 January 2016

Free Plugins for Maya - PAIE

Autodesk Maya is a powerful piece of 3D animation software, free for students to download, and now the industry standard for 3D animation around the world.

But Maya does have its weaknesses, and one of them is the difficulty of copying and pasting your animation from one rig to another. Got some great animation you want to copy on to a new rig? Maya won't let you do it, even if the rigs are identical.

But now, the free PAIE plugin, created by Jacob Welner, has made the job much easier.  Here is how it works.

What does PAIE do?
PAIE (Python Attribute Import/Export) is a Maya based animation transfer tool. It allows animators to save their animation (or animation poses) poses to a file, and then import them again onto the same (or similar) character.

PAIE allows you to transfer your animation and share it between your friends and colleagues. PAIE will export both animation curves and animation poses, and also export from multiple namespaces at once.

Where can PAIE be found?
PAIE can be downloaded free from Creative Crash

How do you install it ?
To use the tool, place "" somewhere in your PYTHONPATH, eg: "../[username]/maya/2011-x64/scripts" or similar.
Then re-start Maya and run PAIE by typing: "import paie;paie.GUI()" in the python commandLine/scriptEditor.

How can you use PAIE?
PAIE works on your current selection and will export data from your curreny selection. It will import by matching to the original names - unless you import based on selection order.

Data is saved by writing a file in PAIEs own filetype called ".xad" where all the attribute values are stored.

The Interface consists of:
  • a top row with a switch between an import and an export mode
  • a refresh button to refresh the filelist
  • an 'add tab' and a 'remove tab' button which enables you to have several tabs pointing to each of their directories. This means you can have, for example, one tab pointing to face poses, another to hand poses, another to your local animation library and then perhaps one pointing to a global library where you can share poses/animation with fellow artists.
Export Mode:
When exporting using the GUI you need to select the objects you want to export, either set your active timeline according to what animation you would like to export or uncheck 'timeline only' to export all animation on objects.  All namespaces within the selection will be exported and only unique object-naming is allowed.
All thanks to the Disco Worms

Import Mode:
Importing a file works on your current selection. You can also import either to your current frame or at the animation's original frame position - depending on the 'Apply at Origin' checkbox.
Select the file you want to import from, select the namespace you want to use (Note: You can only import from 1 namespace and onto 1 namespace at a time).

When you import a file, PAIE will by default match your import data names to your current selection and only add animation to objects that have the same name as the source (namespaces excluded).

This enables you to easily import data from one rig to another rig having two different namespaces - but the same naming.

You can also choose to import your data according to selection order by checking the 'select order' check box. This will make PAIE consider the order in which you selected the initial objects when exporting and apply data to your current selection in the same way, disregarding naming.

Who created PAIE?
PAIE was developed for Radar Film & Disco worms Aps and is published as open source under the Lesser General Public License or LGPL.

Are there any known bugs?
When using Animation Layers, there is an unresolved issue where rotation values don't come through.  

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  1. Hi.
    I just stumbled upon this post and I am both amazed and really glad that PAIE seems to live on as it does! It's such a great feeling that people keep on appreciating it and using it.
    Also I really appreciate your post to promote it further. However, I have one little comment regarding the spelling of my name. I would much appreciate if you could correct it :)

  2. Hi Jakob, sorry for the mistake spelling your name. This has now been corrected - Alex