Download MESA for MAYA

MESA – Maya Exporter for Source Absolute
Release Date MESA Version Download Link
23 Apr 2013 MESA V 1.1 Download
17 Feb 2013 MESA V 1.01 beta Download



MESA is a suite of MEL Scripts to export and import 3d models for the Valve Source Engine with Autodesk Maya. This is the short name for Maya Exporter for Source Absolute.


Features :

– Maya Workspace
SMD Import
SMD Export
SMD Animations
– Lod
– Physic Mesh
– VTA export (blend shapes)
– Ref break
– Phys_break
– BodyGroups
– QC export
VMT export
VTF Export
MDL Compilation

Question : What about the Absolute mention ?
Answer : Because all the work could be done within Maya. no text editor will be required for the final version of MESA.

The objective of MESA, is about to make the full asset creation process within Maya interface.
It include static, physiques, dynamic and ragdoll props models, breakable models, bodygroups models.
But also NPCs (Monsters and Humanoid), Vehicles, Weapons and Items.

MESA is Mel scripts bases exporter and importer Tools. This scripts are the rewritten / edited Scripts from Valve, and originally designed for maya 4.5, that was also deeply rewritten by Prall .

MESA is compatible with all recent version of Maya ( 2011/2012/2013 x86 and x64 bits )

Changelog :

MESA 1.1

  • Filemenu.mel that overwrite the maya filemenu has been removed, all the commands are now available from the MESA shelf.
  • The Compile Log is now displayed now into the script Editor.
  • The Cube sample scene has been remade in maya 2012 , so more people could open the scene on different version of maya ( 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • New icons : Import SMD reference, Import SMD sequence, Export VTA


  • Connect poly shape
  • flipanim
  • create Tube
  • jsCreateCreature
  • usersetup.mel ( old custom valve menu with IK limb commands ).

Use Maya native tools instead of those very old commands :

  • ajrAutosave : maya as his own native autosave feature
  • autoconnectNonlinear.mel
  • WireframeOnShadedTog.mel
  • xrayTog.mel
  • PaintCrease.mel
  • PaintSmooth.mel
  • vertweld
  • UniteFaceUv


  1. Hello, thank you for putting in the time and effort to make this plug in. However I am having serious trouble understanding your installation instructions. Your directions on where certain things are in the download is confusing as is your organization of the files within the download. Is there any other guide on how to properly install this plug in? I’m used to dropping 2 or 3 folders into maya’s directories in order to get a plug-in working. After trying to follow the instructions several times I have had no success. Any help you could provide would be most appreciated. Thank you.

  2. just curious since i am working on a exporter from scratch in python, and am seeing pretty massive performance gains, and better workflow in general but working with the OpenMaya api instead of the maya commands that mel and pyhton use.

    so far im working on it as purely a file translator, but will be make it easy to call for python and mel scripts, and will prolly make some tools to go with it at a later date.

    • hello Passerby,
      Sorry for the late reply, I really busy that times and not being able to manage to respond to your message.
      Would be nice in python, but I already exported some models with lot of polygon and the export is not too much slow, when the importer is pretty sick.
      It would be maybe cool to have a good importer with to replace the existent one, as it can be completely transparent for the user.
      Contact me here if you want to discus about that on steam. nicolas.kirsch AT jurassic-life DOT com

  3. so is this just more or less a recode of the prell exporter, with added features, if so how did you work around the slowness of it. being all written in MEL, and not being able to access any of the maya API functions like mfnMesh available to python, and c++ plugins?

  4. Hi, when i try to export my smd, i get this message // Warning: waitCursor stack empty //. It still makes an smd file, but when i import that back, it just has the skeleton and the mesh is gone.

    • Update, realised i had the old version of the script.Used the new one and no longer get that error message, however the result is still the same, the mesh is gone from my export.

      • hello Bing,
        there is two places where you have to check the process of the export, it can be into the trace window, or directly in the script editor.
        Can you check out the member ship of your object node ?
        you must have a layer reference and the main node and your shape node must parented to this layer.

        or read that reply :


    • yes thank for reporting that, i fixed the problem so know you should be able to watch the video, but its on old footage.
      I would like to record some video tutorials but i got pain during the recording to clearly formulate my sentences. huhu :/

  5. hey Nicolas,
    may i know what u mean with the bumpmap issue from ur bugs list? the original scripts accept tgafilename_height.tga as bumpmap and tgafilename_normal.tga as normalmap in the bumpmap channel of the phongE shader. bumpmap conversion might be broken somehow but tgafilename_normal.tga should still work.

    • if I remind me as well, it depend the type of texture you using as normal map, so if it a normal map the process have to be linked to the vtex.exe

      About the height texture, I didn’t really check out, as usually you get your normal map from another software, as Zbrush or Mudbox.

      As I don’t remind me properly what is the exact issue I had reported in my bugs list, i got to try that again in Maya to tell you, what is going wrong in the generation process , but it broke the generation of the physic and lods smds in my memory.

      Thank you for the help , I appreciate that really :)


  6. This looks like it makes things incredibly easy for Maya users. Is that the case? I sure hope so.

    • if you work on an item for the steam workshop, and use the standard installation of MESA in combo with notepad ++.
      the workflow is correct
      But the base of the plugin is rewritten to work on a mod project in your Source Mods folder.

      If you manage the source of your project, it’s preferable to have two folders for your mod, one for the Final Mod, you are loading from steam library, and one mod folder ‘without the gameinfo.txt) to just store your source files.
      The scene folder you use to store the Maya scene file, must fit with the modelsrc folder where the smd and qc file will have to be written. this is the identical path that the final one for the mod with the released MDL file.
      example :
      mod_sources/scenes/player/my_player/my_player.mb > will write the smd and the qc files in, modelsrc/player/my_player/my_player.smd ; .qc
      and the full compile, will written the mdl file in Mod_release/models/player/my_player.mdl
      also the VMT and VTF are converted in materials/player/ folder of the mod.

  7. Hi Nicolas,
    its nice to see someone is still working on this project.
    But you should state that your work is based on my scripts not the ones included in the SDK.
    Atleast you didnt remove the changelog, thx

    greets Prall

    • Hello Prall,
      I am sincerely pleased to see you posting here.
      First I want to apology because of this mistake, when I had released the beta version of mesa, I was in rushing moment between the mod project I working on and some curious that wanted to try the revised version I called mesa on youtube.
      I was sure to mention your name anywhere in the presentation of the script, but it seems I completely forget about it. Shame on me, I am pretty sorry for that, Prall.
      Well i will adding the credit properly now. Happy new year !

      Best regards,

    • let me know if it work for you with that :
      MESA is Mel scripts bases exporter and importer Tools. This scripts are the rewritten / edited Scripts from Valve, and originally designed for maya 4.5, that was also deeply rewritten by Prall .

  8. Whenever I try to test a model exported with MESA, it compiles just fine, but ModelViewer gives an error and doesn’t load it.
    upon trying to test a model, TF2 gives an error of “tf_wearable: backwards mins/maxs” and immediately crashes.
    I’m using Maya 2013 64-bit
    I used the directions here, since they seem to apply;
    Any idea what might be going wrong?

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