Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Maya Won't Save "Due to Unknown Nodes"

One of the most common questions asked by students first using Autodesk Maya is "why can't I save my scene?" Instead of being able to save your work, Maya gives you an error message, saying you can't save due to "Unknown Nodes". 

This can be frustrating, and the solution is not obvious. What is an unknown node anyway? And what should you do when this happens?

Fortunately for Maya animators, the solution is fairly straightforward - when you know how:

Step One
First, try saving your work as a different file type. Maya offers two kinds - .mb (small files) and .ma (larger files). If Maya won't save your work as a different file type, proceed to step two.

Step Two
Under the file tab in Maya, scroll down to find "optimize scene size" (see screen grab above). Open up the options box. Make sure that "remove unknown nodes" is selected and the box is ticked. Now click "optimize".  Maya should now allow you to save your work.

If this still doesn't work, try Step Three.

Step Three
Note that there are three different types of unknown nodes that can prevent Maya re-saving a scene in a different format. They are: Unknown nodes, Unknown transforms and Unknown dag nodes. The second two are uncommon. To delete all three types, open up the Script Editor in Maya and type

delete `ls -type unknown -type unknownDag -type unknownTransform`

If this still doesn't work, start at the beginning and try again. It will work in the end!

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