Autodesk and Epic Games have released Unreal Live Link for Maya, a new version of the free pair of plugins live linking Autodesk’s Maya animation software and Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.
The plugins let users stream animation data – now including facial blendshapes as well as skeletal animation – to the game engine for rendering as part of game development, previs or virtual production workflows.
Stream animation data from Maya to Unreal Engine and see changes in real time
Originally developed by Epic Games, and previously known as the Maya Live Link, Unreal Live Link for Maya streams data between the two applications in real time.
The link consists of separate Maya and Unreal Engine plugins that work in tandem, with changes made in one application automatically transferred to the other, speeding up the process of previewing animations.
The link also streams timecode data, making it possible to synchronise the play heads in Maya and Unreal, enabling users to scrub through the timelines of both applications simultaneously.
New features in the latest release include the option to stream blendshape data for facial animation and lip sync, in addition to the existing support for skeletal animation.
The live link also supports camera attributes including transforms, angle of view, focal length, film gate, camera aperture, film aspect ratio, depth of field, focus distance and f-stop; and light attributes including colour, intensity, cone angle and penumbra angle.
One of a number of free plugins live linking Unreal Engine to animation tools
In related news, Maxon recently released Cineware for Unreal, its own free plugin live-linking its Cinema 4D animation software to Unreal Engine.
Pricing and system requirements
Unreal Live Link for Maya is compatible with Maya 2018-2022 and Unreal Engine 4.27. It’s a free download. The previous version is still available for Unreal Engine 4.23 and 4.26.
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