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Under Construction
How to export body animation from a ‘MetaHuman body dummy’ in iClone 8 to Maya

If you’ve animated a MetaHuman “Dummy” in iClone, how do you transfer that over to Maya, and onto the MetaHuman source character?

Well, it’s quite straightforward – as long as you’ve already imported a Maya MetaHuman source rig (instructions here) and then applied a HumanIK (HIK) rig (instructions here).

So as of iClone 8.4 and Maya 2024, here’s the process:

  1. In iClone 8, you should have a dummy in your scene and animation clip or clips on the timeline, like this:

  2. Now you need to export the animation as an FBX.
    1. Take a note of the FPS that your iClone project is set to. You need to use that info later in Maya.
    2. Select the animation clip on the Timeline, and go to FILE > EXPORT > EXPORT FBX
    3. Make the settings like this:

      And then click EXPORT.
    4. Name the file ending in “*_anim
  3. Now, SAVE your iClone project, because you are going to make some strange changes that you do NOT want to save.
  4. We need to export a T-Pose. So to do this:
    1. Delete the animation clips on your timeline. (Again, DO NOT SAVE YOUR ICLONE PROJECT during this process.)
    2. Go to frame 0 in the timeline
    3. Your character will be in a default T-Pose in the viewport, but actually that position doesn’t export (at least it doesn’t for me)
    4. So go into the CONTENT window, and click the ANIMATION icon at the top. Then double click to open the POSE folder. Then the CALIBRATION folder. And double click on “T-POSE“.
    6. Make the settings the same as they were, except change the export range to “Current Frame
    7. Click EXPORT.
    8. Name the FBX something ending in “_tpose
    9. Go to FILE > NEW PROJECT, and DON’T SAVE CHANGES to your iClone project

  5. Now we need to import the ‘tpose’ iClone FBX into Maya and create an HIK rig:
    1. In Maya, go to FILE > NEW SCENE to create a blank scene
    2. Change the FPS (in the bottom right of the interface) to match your iClone project’s FPS.
    3. Import the “*_tpose.fbx” file you exported from iClone
    4. Select the root (the vertical cylinder between the character’s legs),
    5. In the HumanIK panel (Windows > Animation Editors > HumanIK), change the Character dropdown to NONE
    7. Select the root again
    8. In the HumanIK panel, click the blue button, then hover over EDIT CHARACTER DEFINITION, and click LOAD CHARACTER DEFINITION TEMPLATE
    9. Change the template to “iCloneMHDummyExportWMayaTmplte“.
      If you don’t already have that template, you can download the file here, then unzip it and place it in:
    10. Under ‘Match Scope’, click the top option, and make sure the text field is blank
    11. Click OK
    12. The entire body will turn GREEN in the ‘definition’ tab
    13. Click the PADLOCK just above the definition tab
    14. Change the SOURCE dropdown to ‘Control Rig‘. (You will see a green item added to the outliner – this is the control rig.)
    15. Click the blue button, then click RENAME CHARACTER.
    16. Enter the name “iCloneMHDummy_” and then your MetaHuman body code (eg. iCloneMHDummy_m_med_nrw). Then click OK.
    17. Now change the SOURCE to “None“.
  6. Now we need to import the ‘anim’ iClone FBX into Maya:
    1. In the Outliner, click to select “RL_BoneRoot
    2. Import the “*_anim.fbx” file you exported from iClone
    3. You’ll see that the character is now animated. (Scrub through the timeline to double check there is animation, otherwise trace your steps as something has gone wrong.)
    4. Go to FILE > SAVE SCENE AS
    5. Name the file, ending in “*_iCloneMHDummyanim
    6. Click SAVE AS
  7. Now we need to apply the new animation to your MetaHuman rig:
    1. Open your MetaHuman source rig scene, which will look something like this, and might have a name ending in “_full_rig_02Y-upHIK.mb“:
    2. Deselect everything in the Outliner
    3. Change the FPS (in the bottom right of the interface) to match your iClone project’s FPS.
    4. Go to FILE > IMPORT and import the Maya scene you just  made of the iClone animation (*_icloneanims.mb)
    5. It might look a little confusing, but it’s just added three items, something like this:
    6. In the outliner, HIDE the newly imported items.
    7. In the HumanIK window, change the CHARACTER” dropdown to be your original HIK-rigged MetaHuman’s character. (How do you know which one to select? Well, in the Outliner it’s the name of the top green star object, excluding ‘_Ctrl_Reference‘. So in the example image above, the HIK-rigged MetaHuman character’s name is “MH_m_med_nrw_HIK“.)
    8. Change the SOURCE dropdown to your imported iClone character name. (In the example image above, it’s “_iCloneMHDummyanim“.)
    9. Scrub through the Timeline, and you’ll see that the animation has been applied. But remember, it’s only TEMPORARILY applied. If you want to permanently apply that animation to your original HIK-rigged MetaHuman character, you need to either bake it to the skeleton or bake it to the Control Rig.
  8. Now let’s BAKE the animation to the skeleton:
    1. In the “HumanIK” window, double check that the “CHARACTER” dropdown is set to your original HIK-rigged MetaHuman’s character. This is what the animation will be baked TO. And the “SOURCE” dropdown must be your newly imported iClone character name.
    2. Click the large blue button, and then hover over BAKE, and click the box next to “BAKE TO SKELETON“.
    3. In the ‘Bake Simulation Options’ dialogue, go to it’s EDIT menu and click RESET SETTINGS.
    4. Then at the bottom, click BAKE.
    5. The Viewport will now have a red outline around it, and the timeline will be slowly moving through all of the frames, as it processes the bake.
    6. When the BAKE is finished, the “SOURCE” dropdown will change to NONE. This is because the animation is now truly on the ‘skeleton’ of
    7. your original HIK-rigged MetaHuman’s character.
    8. In the Outliner, you’ll see that “root_drv” is selected. That’s where the keyframes have actually been added.

WANT TO EXPORT TO UNREAL? If you want to export the animation (from root_drv etc and your overall MetaHuman rigged character)  to Unreal at some point, you can follow these instructions.


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