Maya & Unity, file options.

I should have ideally blogged this earlier but it’s something I’ve been learning and realising along the way of making this game environment. With so many choices in file formats and exporting options, it can get a little confusing as to what to use for the everything to work. For my case I learned a lot about having to be careful with file management and saving things constantly making several copies and having different versions throughout the process of the creation, and that doesn’t just mean with textures, which I usually do, having the original .jpg image a Photoshop version and then the final image. Saving the creation of models and such at each stage is important to keep a record of each part as well as if something goes wrong you can always step back a file.

Something I learnt along the way as well was that when creating something to put into software such as Unity it’s best to make everything separate rather than all within one big build to make it easier to edit, organise and sometimes animate things within Unity but it’s not a major issue as you can move around the hierarchy within Unity to separate them. The scale of build is also a large issue that I messed up on within the build as I scaled it too big and there’s been issues with the camera control.

One file type that I learnt about last year by using Second Life, a Targa file, seems to be the most useful and transmedia file format. Although Unity recognises a Photoshop file, Maya doesn’t so it’s best to save them as an image file but then with parts that you want transparent .jpg’s will not recognise them. So by creating an alpha channel and then exporting it as a Tagra file at 32 bit it seems to work out perfectly. I started to just save all image files as Targa when I had to deal with textures as they’re also higher resolution and better quality.

With objects and models that I’ve created, it seems the best or at least most common file format is to export things as FBX files which I have already mentioned in a previous post but never mentioned about baking animations and textures. As you export out an object the animations and textures won’t be brought out with the model unless you tick a few boxes, but it literally is just ticking a few boxes.

I always thought it’d be a lot harder but once you’ve got it all sorted you can just export the animation with the model as a FBX format making sure you tick the animation option and choose to bake animations.

With the textures you just need to make sure you tick to embed media which means that all the extra information you placed into the model is exported with it.

When you get it into Unity by simply going Assets > Import New Asset…, you can choose to sort out the animations by slicing them up from the one large continuous animation that was created within Maya. By clicking on it within the Project window you can alter the information about it where you change the scale factor to 1 and also have the option of separating the animations.

I’m sure there’s much more use out of these options and maybe some better formats to use however for the stage I am at and what I was using it for it seems that these where the best file formats and methods of exporting to use.

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