Getting your Spore Creature into Maya

The new Spore 5.1 patch allows you to export your creatures in COLLADA format, and guess what, the textures AND the rigging come through! Ain’t that sweet?

This Series assumes you have Spore, Maya 2010 and Unity3D (which is now free. HEYO!). OpenCollada should work with earlier versions of Maya as well.

You can do it with Blender too, but it’s much harder and there’s no guarantee about getting the textures in. Also, the rigging will not come through.

  1. Download the Spore 5.1 patch. It should automatically install when you open Spore, but if you are having trouble (and a lot of people are, I had to try it about 4 times, reinstalling Spore twice) check this out.Hint: on Mac OSX, it helps if you do NOT install several patches at once. After Spore installs one patch, quit, check the CiderBuild Number (Right click on Show Package Contents > Contents > Info.plist) and make note of it. Reboot your system (Spore installs and updates seem to leave a lot of stuff in your system cache that simply emptying the trash won’t get rid of.) CiderBuild Number 2756 is the one you want, if your is crashing however just keep uninstalling and reinstalling, you’ll get it eventually.
  2. Make your creature or load up an old favorite inside the Spore Creature Creator. Go into Paint mode so you can see the real textures applied. Press Cmd+Shift+C. A dialog window will appear. Type “colladaexport”. Spore will create the necessary 3D files, and then tell you where it has exported your creature’s collada and materials.
  3. Download the OpenCollada plugin for Maya. Go through the install wizard. You’re not done yet though, for it to work inside Maya you must enable the plugin.
  4. Inside Maya 2010, go to Window > Settings/Preferences > Plug-in Manager. The first row of the window panel will show the Maya 2010 plugins. Where it says ‘COLLADAMaya.bundle’ make sure you have checked ‘Loaded’ and ‘auto-load’. Restart Maya so the changes will take effect.
  5. You are now ready to import your creature into Maya. Create a new scene and then click File > Import. Browse to the location that Spore gave you in step 2, and select the your creature’s .dae file. Make sure that in the ‘Enable:’ drop-down menu ‘OpenCOLLADA importer *.dae, *.xml’ is selected. Accept the default settings and click OK. Let Maya run for a little bit and…
  6. Tada! Your creature has been imported into Maya. But what is that mess of blue squiggles? If you zoom in (just scroll up) you will see that the mesh is in fact there. But where is the texture? And how could you possibly do anything with all that crap on the screen? Not to worry. On the top toolbar, near the right, you will find a few ‘Clap Board’ icons. Click the second one from left.
  7. There is your lovely creature, in all its glory. The texture imported flawlessly!
  8. OK, now that he’s here, you can do whatever to him. I was mostly interested in animating him so I could bring him in as a game character into Unity, so Part 2 will be about everything you need to know to animate one of these guys in Maya!