The power of USD lies in its layering system, which facilitates collaboration between different artists and studios via non-destructive editing. For example, if you start with an existing scene and create a new layer containing your edits, these edits won't affect anyone else using the same scene unless they decide to include your new layer. Together, multiple layers provide a complete view of the scene, which is known as the stage.
A basic understanding of USD will make it much easier to use and understand Maya's implementation of the USD framework. While the Maya documentation does not include a USD glossary or a complete overview of USD concepts, the following sections provide an overview workflows to showcase what you can do with USD in Maya and where to go to learn more.
Create a USD model: Maya's round-trip USD import and export workflow lets artists import USD data as intrinsic Maya data or export intrinsic Maya data as USD data. Artists can use Maya's tools and workflows to create and export models for their USD pipeline and re-import it to make further edits, if necessary. Note: This method converts Maya data and USD data back and forth. This workflow implements:
mayaUSDImport) and export (
Create a USD set: A USD set is a single complex asset made from individual USD assets. Artists can take a collection of USD assets on disk and use USD mechanisms like references, variants, and filtering to assemble it in Maya. For example, an artist can create an empty stage in Maya and reference in existing USD assets to create a USD set. This method allows artists to work with USD data intrinsically in Maya. Maya supports the following mechanisms that enable USD set creation:
Edit a USD set: Artists can perform in-context editing of existing USD data using the USD Layer Editor.
Editing lets you perform sparse edits on top of an existing USD set. In Maya, the focus of editing with the USD Layer Editor is on managing layers, not creating layer content. For example, the USD Layer Editor provides context, like identifying the target layer, and lets you save your layers to a file on disk. For more information, see USD Layer Editor and Work with USD data in the Outliner.