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So, I've done a lot of searching and I've found a number of questions and posts dancing around this topic, but nothing that gives me a sure answer. I'm going to ask the question again with a little bit more framing in the hopes that someone with more technical knowledge can provide some illumination:

When rigging in Maya, the creation and manipulation of bones happens all within the same system. If I were to explain that in blender terms: object, edit, and pose mode for bones are all combined into the same mode - there is no difference between them.

For that reason, when rigging in Maya it is imperative that we apply the transformations of all the bones as we rig, especially the roll of bones because that affects our rotational axes when animating. Also in Maya, we are constantly cleaning up our history, resetting values to 0, and performing other maintenance to make sure that nothing goes horribly wrong when we skin and begin to animate a rig.

Now then, coming from Maya and going over to blender, suddenly I have an ugly bone roll of 92.3 degrees I can't apply and zero out, there doesn't seem to be a history to clear, and the fact that I don't understand how changes in 'edit mode' translate the fancy 'pose mode' is literally painful; deeply ingrained habits in one program are making me worry about the numbers I see in another program.

So, some questions I have about blender as a maya user:

  • Does a non-zero bone roll in Edit Mode have an adverse effect in Pose Mode?
  • Do I need to clear a history? Is node history even a thing in blender?
  • Is there a way to keep controlling bones and shapes separate, or is that question nonsensical in blender?
  • Lastly, if I want to export a rig/animation in fbx format, what exactly is being exported, because I'm not finding a lot of things I wish I were when I export.

Also, as a post script, if you need to ask a clarifying question please do; I really want to help you help me :)

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi DestryU, welcome to Blender SE. I started out with Maya too, so I know, the lack of 'clearing history' in blender was both disconcerting to me, but ultimately made my life a lot easier. You're questions are well-worded, but one suggestion I'd make for future posts is to make one question for each question. This makes each question more accessible to search engines, and anyone else with that same question. $\endgroup$ – Mike Belanger Mar 28 '16 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding your first question, you should be able to clear the roll - I usually have. It looks like it might've gone missing, but will be added in a future (post 2.77) release : blender.stackexchange.com/questions/48125/… $\endgroup$ – Mike Belanger Mar 28 '16 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ There's not really any construction history, at least on par with what Maya has. It has a history of operations you've done (mostly to show what the python equivalent of commands you've done is). All of this is discarded when you quit Blender though, nothing is lurking around once you reload the file. $\endgroup$ – Mike Belanger Mar 28 '16 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ I just realized I haven't answered all your questions. Blender does allow rigs to follow the master-slave paradigm of rigging too, so you can have deformation bones constrained by the control bones, etc. It certainly isn't nonsensical - extra weight painting should be avoided when rigs get revised! $\endgroup$ – Mike Belanger Nov 19 '17 at 21:45
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A rig could (theoretically) function perfectly well in pose mode without the roll set at zero. But this depends on the goals of your animation and rig. Nothing will blow up like in Maya if roll isn't zeroed out. But it may not bend the way you intend, and an IK constraint might behave strangely too, depending on the poll target.

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