Autodesk has recently released a new update for Maya, where they include the Unreal Live Link for Maya. The idea behind Unreal Live Link is to create a bridge between a creation software and Unreal Engine, so you can work on your scenes, animations, etc., in the creation software, and see the results in Unreal Engine in real time.
The bridge has many layers and relies on the USD file format. USD stands for Universal Scene Description, and is an open-source file format developed by Pixar, and aims to make it easy to exchange data between applications. If you’ve been around 3D graphics long enough, you surely can think of other files that aimed to do that when they were created (FBX being one of them).
To use Unreal Live Link for Maya, you need to do different things. First, you need to create the USD stage files in Maya, then import those files in Unreal Engine. Thanks to the way the USD file format works, Unreal Engine doesn’t actually import the objects in the scene, but rather creates references to the scene elements found in the file. On top of that, the USD file keeps the hierarchy and all the different elements separately, just like in the original scene created in Maya, so you can modify the elements, hide them, etc., the way you need.
For animated objects, you use the actual Live Link to stream objects from Maya to UE4. As you work on the animation in Maya, it is updated in Unreal Engine, so you can view the animation in real time (including Blendshapes), in the engine.
Of course, you can do other things to the objects in Unreal Engine. For example, you can add particle effects or material effects.
If you are using Unreal Engine to create animations, or are working on virtual production, it is very useful to have a tool like Live Link for Maya, as you can work on your scene and see the result in UE4 in real time. If you think Unreal Live Link for Maya is for you, go check it out.