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Under Construction
How to export FACE animation from a MetaHuman source file in Maya to Unreal
HOW TOs > MAYA

If you’ve animated a MetaHuman source rig in Maya, how do you transfer that animation (the FACE animation of it – see body here) to Unreal and apply it to a MetaHuman?

The following process assumes you’ve already imported a Maya MetaHuman source rig (instructions here) and animated the face using the facial GUI.

So as of February 2024 (Maya 2024 and Unreal 5.3.2), here’s the process:

  1. EXPORT FACE ANIMATION:
    1. Make sure your scene length is only as long as the animation – to avoid unnecessary processing time later.
    2. Take a note of your Maya scene’s FPS – you’ll need to match that later in Unreal.
    3. Click on “FacialControls” then right-click and choose “Select Set Members
    4. Open the FILE menu and click the BOX next to ‘Export Selection…’
    5. In the dialogue box, under GENERAL OPTIONS, change the File type dropdown to “FBX export” then click “Export Selection
    6. In the next dialogue box, under FILE TYPE SPECIFIC OPTIONS, change the Current Preset dropdown to “Autodesk Media & Entertainment
    7. Under ANIMATION, enable the “Animation” checkbox
    8. Under BAKE ANIMATION, enable the “Bake Animation” checkbox
    9. Make sure that the Bake Animation in and out frames are the full length of your timeline
    10. Under CONNECTIONS, disable the “Input Connections” checkbox
    11. Name your FBX (eg. ‘StretchAnimation_MayaMHface_forUnreal‘)
    12. Click “Export Selection”

  2. CHECK THE OUTPUT FBX:
    1. Go to the START menu and open a fresh MAYA session
    2. Go to FILE > IMPORT… and find the FBX of the body animation and open it
    3. In the Viewport, zoom out so you can see the skeleton
    4. Press play on the timeline to check that it works
    5. If it doesn’t, it might be because of a persistent bug in Maya! To fix that, QUIT OUT OF MAYA and open Maya again. And try the process again of importing it and see if it works.
  3. SETUP A SEQUENCE IN UNREAL:
    If you don’t already have a Sequence with a MetaHuman, you’ll need to set one up.

    1. Open Unreal Engine and import a MetaHuman (via Quixel Bridge)
    2. Add the MetaHuman to your scene, and zero out its transform (ie. the location, rotation, scale in the details panel)
    3. In the Outliner, click the floor object (if you have one), and zero out its transform as well (it defaults to a height of 20 for some reason)
    4. Now in the content browser, create a folder for SEQUENCES and create a new Sequence in it (right-click and go CINEMATICS > LEVEL SEQUENCE)
    5. Open the Sequence, and change the FPS to match your Maya scene earlier
    6. Go to the first frame (0000), drag the Blueprint from the Outliner into the Sequence
    7. In the Sequence, under FACE, delete the “MetaHuman_ControlRig” layer
  4. IMPORT THE FACE ANIMATION:
    1. On frame 0000right-click on “Face_ControlBoard_CtrlRig”, choose “Import Control Rig FBX” and open your facial animation FBX
    2. Under STRING MATCHING OPTIONS, twirl down the 0 and change “Find” to your namespace in Maya (INCLUDING the colon)
    3. Click the “Control Mapping Presets” dropdown and choose “Metahuman Control Mappings”, then click IMPORT 
    4. You will need to adjust BOTH the Sequence ‘End Time‘ and ‘Selection End‘ to match the length of the clip you imported – otherwise it won’t fully play.




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