I have a question. do you think is it safe to download from the internet free max/ maya models or could my computer get infected somehow?
I have kaspersky anti virus thingy so would that help?
I'm new to all this so don't understand much about it.
Hello Camille, There's a bunch of great free model sites out there and I haven't run across anything unusual ever. Normally a model is a .3ds or .MAX or .MB or .MA and they are safe. If you open a model and somehow it says it's an .exe file then you should be concerned. Archive3d.net, 3Delicious and some of the other majors provide great models and you should not worry.
The one thing to pay attention to is that when you open a .MB file, depending on how your preferences are set, the settings for that file will be saved so you may have to reset some of your preferences when opening a new file. Hope that helps.
No need to fear RAR files, they are a compressed file wrapper that you need to unwrap, so you can get access to the files....RAR and ZIP are the most common ways of getting all the files associated with the models which may have various textures and stuff included. Do a little Google search info on dealing with RAR and ZIP files and you'll get a good idea of how to deal with them. I like to keep everything organized as a practice so good labeling and folder structure will help in the long run, especially if you are downloading a lot. I like to keep a master folder of models labelled as the site I downloaded from so that way I can give credit to the proper model maker if needed and also know the sites usage rights. It's very good to know where everything came from. I have never run into anything suspicious and I'm a download maniac.
As far as models and Maya, you will mostly find .3ds and .max models that will need to be converted to a .FBX format if you are using an older version of Maya (2011 and prior) However, if you are 2012 or 2013 you can import the .3ds files directly, just make sure the 3ds import plugin is loaded and active in the plug-in manager before trying to import your .3ds model.
Sometimes you will that models have a .max extension and these you must open with 3DS Max and save to a .3ds file. Sometimes this works and sometimes it won't.
As well, go the Autodesk site and get the free FBX converter, it's a great little utility to do lot's of stuff.
Not every model you find will import perfectly and some might not work at all, and upon import to Maya expect that some parts of the model will be totally wonky and out of place....Sometimes it's an easy fix and sometimes I end up deleting the model all together from my library.
Once the model is imported into Maya, make sure to look in the outliner and check that it is grouped. Usually it will show up as group1 and if you click on the little plus icon you can rollout the section to see all of the individual parts of the model. Be especially aware of this if you are importing an FBX file because sometimes all of the parts are imported but not grouped, so you must manually select all the parts and group them together yourself to avoid a mess as the scene gets larger or there are other models involved.
For more on model conversion, check out deepfriedectoplasm on You-Tube for a bunch of FBX conversion tutorials etc.