Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Maya Won't Save Due To "Unknown Nodes" - What To Do?

Autodesk Maya is a big and complex piece of software, full of traps and pitfalls for the unwary. 

The "Unknown Nodes" error sometimes occurs when you are trying to save your work, but Maya won’t let you save. This can be frustrating, and the solution is not obvious. What is an unknown node anyway? And what should you do when this happens?

Luckily, the solution is fairly straightforward:

Step One
First, try saving your work as a different file type. Maya offers two kinds - .mb (small files) and .ma (larger files). If Maya won't save your work as a different file type, proceed to step two.

Step Two
Under the file tab in Maya, scroll down to find "optimize scene size". Open up the options box. Make sure that "remove unknown nodes" is selected and the box is ticked. Now click "optimize". You're done. If this still doesn't work, try Step Three.

Step Three
Note that there are three different types of unknown nodes that can prevent Maya re-saving a scene in a different format. They are: Unknown nodes, Unknown transforms and Unknown dag nodes. The second two are uncommon. To delete all three types, open up the Script Editor in Maya and type

delete `ls -type unknown -type unknownDag -type unknownTransform`

If this still doesn't work, start at the beginning and try again. It will work in the end!

To find out more
about Animation Apprentice, click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions. To sign up for our next classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link. For more information on finding work and surviving in the animation and visual effects business, read our post on how to find a job in the animation industry, and check out our post about what not to do at a job interview. Also see our post on starting your own small animation business, learn how to create an invoice, and see how we are helping our students find work through our film co-operative Nano Films. Download the free Escape Studios Careers in VFX Handbook. Take a look at how awn.com can help you find a job, and read our piece about how to survive as a freelance animator. Also, find out what Cinesite look for in a student's demo reel, and read our post on setting up your own animation business. Also see our post about freelancers and taxes.

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