Simple Maya mesh save/load

I recently wanted to capture some frames of an animation into a single mesh and really the easiest way to ditch any dependencies & materials was to export some OBJs, import them and then combine them! This is rather slow, especially reading gigantic models, and I did not need a lot of the data stored in an OBJ.

So here I have a small utility that stores a model’s position & triangulation and nothing else in a binary format closely resembling the Maya API, allowing for easy reading, writing and even combining during I/O.

Use write() with a mesh (full) name and use read() with a filepath to serialize
and deserialize maya meshes:

import struct
from maya.OpenMaya import MSelectionList, MDagPath, MFnMesh, MGlobal, MPointArray, MIntArray, MSpace, MPoint

def _named_mobject(path):
    li = MSelectionList()
    MGlobal.getSelectionListByName(path, li)
    p = MDagPath()
    li.getDagPath(0, p)
    return p

def writeCombined(meshes, file_path):
    # start streaming into the file
    with open(file_path, 'wb') as fh:
        # cache function sets
        fns = []
        for mesh in meshes:

        # get resulting mesh data sizes
        vertex_count = 0
        poly_count = 0
        index_count = 0
        meshPolygonCounts = []
        meshPolygonConnects = []
        for fn in fns:
            vertex_count += fn.numVertices()
            # we need to get these now in order to keep track of the index_count,
            # we cache them to avoid copying these arrays three times during this function.
            fn.getVertices(meshPolygonCounts[-1], meshPolygonConnects[-1])
            poly_count += meshPolygonCounts[-1].length()
            index_count += meshPolygonConnects[-1].length()

        # write num-vertices as uint32
        fh.write(struct.pack('<L', vertex_count))

        for fn in fns:
            vertices = MPointArray()
            fn.getPoints(vertices, MSpace.kWorld)

            # write all vertex positions as pairs of three float64s
            for i in xrange(vertex_count):
                fh.write(struct.pack('<d', vertices[i].x))
                fh.write(struct.pack('<d', vertices[i].y))
                fh.write(struct.pack('<d', vertices[i].z))

        # write num-polygonCounts as uint32
        fh.write(struct.pack('<L', poly_count))

        for i, fn in enumerate(fns):
            # write each polygonCounts as uint32
            for j in xrange(meshPolygonCounts[i].length()):
                fh.write(struct.pack('<L', meshPolygonCounts[i][j]))

        # write num-polygonConnects as uint32
        fh.write(struct.pack('<L', index_count))

        # keep track of how many vertices there are to offset the polygon-vertex indices
        offset = 0
        for i, fn in enumerate(fns):
            # write each polygonConnects as uint32
            for j in xrange(meshPolygonConnects[i].length()):
                fh.write(struct.pack('<L', meshPolygonConnects[i][j] + offset))
            offset += fn.numVertices()

def write(mesh, file_path):
    writeCombined([mesh], file_path)

def readCombined(file_paths):
    numVertices = 0
    numPolygons = 0
    vertices = MPointArray()
    polygonCounts = MIntArray()
    polygonConnects = MIntArray()

    for file_path in file_paths:
        with open(file_path, 'rb') as fh:
            # read all vertices
            n = struct.unpack('<L',[0]
            for i in xrange(n):

            # read all polygon counts
            n = struct.unpack('<L',[0]
            numPolygons += n
            polygonCounts += struct.unpack('<%sL'%n, * 4))

            # read all polygon-vertex indices
            n = struct.unpack('<L',[0]
            offset = polygonConnects.length()
            polygonConnects += struct.unpack('<%sL'%n, * 4))

            # offset the indices we just added to the match merged mesh vertex IDs
            for i in xrange(n):
                polygonConnects[offset + i] += numVertices

            numVertices += n

    new_object = MFnMesh()
    new_object.create(numVertices, numPolygons, vertices, polygonCounts, polygonConnects)
    return new_object.fullPathName()

def read(file_path):
    with open(file_path, 'rb') as fh:
        numVertices = struct.unpack('<L',[0]
        vertices = MPointArray()
        for i in xrange(numVertices):
        numPolygons = struct.unpack('<L',[0]
        polygonCounts = MIntArray()
        polygonCounts += struct.unpack('<%sL'%numPolygons, * 4))
        n = struct.unpack('<L',[0]
        polygonConnects = MIntArray()
        polygonConnects += struct.unpack('<%sL'%n, * 4))

    new_object = MFnMesh()
    new_object.create(numVertices, numPolygons, vertices, polygonCounts, polygonConnects)
    return new_object.fullPathName()

I basically used a snippet like this to snapshot my animation:

tempfiles = []
for f in (0,4,8,12):
    writeCombined('mesh', l=True), tempfiles[-1])
newmesh = readCombined(tempfiles)
for p in tempfiles:

Important notice: I have found some random crashes in using a large amount of memory (high polycount per frame) in the writeCombined function (which may be solvable when ported to C++ an receiving proper error data).

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