This post will walk through the process of exporting an animated glTF 2.0 model from Maya LT. We'll use the following tools:
All of these are available for Windows or macOS. As of this writing, the most reliable way to create glTF 2.0 assets is through the official Blender exporter. Because Blender cannot import recent versions of FBX, my workflow uses COLLADA as an intermediate format.
The post does not cover how to create PBR materials — a follow-up post will go into texturing with Substance Painter and exporting PBR metal/rough assets.
For an alternative workflow using Blender and COLLADA2GLTF, you may want to try with Diego Goberna's excellent article, glTF Workflow for A-Saturday-Night, instead.
1. Clean up the model for export.
Optional steps to clean up geometry and history.
i. Mesh → Cleanup
ii. Edit → Delete All by Type → History, to clean up the model ONLY if the model is not animated. If you're animating the model yourself, do this step before animating, or skip it entirely.
iii. Modify → Freeze Transformations
2. Export in FBX 2013 format from Maya.
The FBX Converter used in step 3 hasn't been updated since 2013. Accordingly, we need to export from Maya LT in the FBX 2013 format. Steps:
i. File → Export All...
ii. Select Animation and Bake Animation
iii. Deselect Lights and Cameras
iv. Advanced Options → FBX File Format → Binary + FBX 2013
v. Export All
3. Convert from FBX to COLLADA.
Open the FBX Converter UI, and drag the FBX file into the left panel. In the right panel, select Destination Format → DAE Collada. Convert.
4. Import COLLADA asset to Blender.
Open Blender, clear the scene, and File → Import → COLLADA. If parts of an animated model are out of place, try playing the animation and they may align correctly. When everything looks OK, continue to step 5.
5. Export glTF 2.0 from Blender.
i. File → Export → glTF 2.0 (
ii. Enable animation and skinning.
iii. Disable lights and cameras.
iv. Materials will be explained in a follow-up post; for now, see the Blender exporter documentation.
6. Test with glTF viewer.
.glb file — and all other generated files, including
.bin — into https://gltf-viewer.donmccurdy.com/ to preview them in three.js. If something is wrong, test the file on the glTF Validator. Invalid files should be reported as GitHub issues on the Blender exporter. If the file appears valid but isn't appearing correctly, please report an issue on the viewer tool.
Assuming you made it this far, you have a valid glTF 2.0 asset. Congratulations! You can now use the model in three.js, A-Frame, Babylon.js, and other WebGL engines.