Opening a newer version Maya file in an older version of Maya

Posted by on Jan 9, 2013 in animation, Maya | No Comments

A common issue when using AW Maya is trying to open a file that was created in a newer version of Maya than your installed version. Maya files are not backwards compatible, in my experience. There are two ways that I know of to deal with this. One is to simply select “Ignore Version” in the File->Open dialog. I tried this today and it failed, Maya crashed. Another option, which did work for me, is to save the newer version file as an ASCII file (file.ma), and edit the file’s data manually. This is very simple to do. You will need to have access to the newer version of Maya to accomplish this though, or have your collaborator deliver an ASCII version of the file. Once you have the ASCII file, do the following things:

1) Save a dummy ASCII file from your older version of Maya (ex: dummyFile.ma) so that you can see the older format file’s data. For safety, make a copy of your “Newer Version” file, as you will be editing the code directly.

2) open both files side by side examine the “headers”, the top portion of each file. You will note a similarity in the first 10 – 15 lines of data. I am using a Mac, so examining the files, the last line I see in what I would call header information is: fileInfo "osv" "Mac OS X 10.8.2";. After this there is a “createNode” Maya command, that I don’t want to disturb. It’s slightly different from one file to another and one version to another, but only slightly. You will have no trouble figuring out where to copy and where to paste. Copy this header data from the older version file and paste to the newer version file, overwriting the relevant code.

2) The file should now open in the older version of Maya. Of course any features of the newer version of Maya that are not available in the older version of Maya will not work in this opened scene (actually I’m not certain what happens in this scenario).

There may be other methods, but I am not aware.

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