In this guide, we'll create a USDZ file in Maya in 3 steps:

Step 1: Download the USD library.

Pixar has developed a plugin that allows Maya to export 3D models as USDZs. If you follow this link https://github.com/PixarAnimationStudios/USD you will be brought to a Github page created by Pixar that contains a library of USDZ conversion plugins one of which is the Maya USDZ conversion plugin.

Download the ZIP folder and make sure you read through all the information Pixar provided on that page.



Step 2: Install the library.

After you have downloaded the ZIP you will need to install several programs that will allow you to build the Maya plugin. 

You must install:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2015+

https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/downloads/

  • CMake

https://cmake.org/download/

  • Python 

https://www.python.org/downloads/release/python-2713/

  • Boost 

https://www.boost.org/

Once you have installed all the requirements it is time to build the plug in. 

For this next part you will need to understand the basics of using command line. If you already know command line then skip forward to 2a.

  • Command Line allows you to find the locations of programs inside of your computer and run them. Try opening up Command Prompt and typing cd C:\Users and seeing what happens. You should see that the location has changed to the new location you have typed in. If you had a .exe file in this location you would be able to run it by typing the .exe file at the end of this location and then pressing enter.

Open Command Prompt, type "ls" and press enter.

ls


You'll see a list of files in your home directory. So how to we show them from another location?

Type "cd" into then enter another destination.

cd C:/Users


... and nothing happens! Or at least it doesn't look like it. But if we type "ls" again, we see a different list of files.

For more information on Command Prompt check out this quick Youtube video that goes over the basics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBBWVgE0ewk

Step 2a:

  • Open up “Developer Command Prompt for VS (version number)” and type in the command:
C:\Location of Plug in\USD-master\build_scripts\build_usd.py --maya "C:\Program Files\USD"

After you press enter it should build the plugin.

Once the Maya plugin has been built you must follow the guide on Pixar's website that explains how to install it inside of Maya. http://graphics.pixar.com/usd/docs/Maya-USD-Plugins.html

Step 3: Use the Maya plugin.

Using the USDZ plugin should be pretty straightforward if you have ever exported a model in Maya before. Here is a breakdown of how to export a 3D model with textures.

  • Open up the Hypershade window.
  • Create a pxrUsdPreviewSurface material and assign it to your model.
  • Attach the textures into their respective channels
  • Now export and choose the option pxrUsdExport

Congrats you have exported your first USDZ using Maya!


Requirements/Errors

  • Make sure your model's polygon count is below 100K.
  • Maya can often cause errors in the textures if your model has triangles.
  • Keep you model's scale between .2M -1.5M for the best result
  • Keep your texture size low for better performance 2048 x 2048 is the highest size you can use.

Let us know if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you!


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