Sometimes you need to bake the animation from complex rigs, to keep it very simple when exporting it to .EAD, increasing performance and reducing issues. Usually, complex rigs are made of a lot of bones and helpers that allows the animator to use the rig efficiently, but once the animation has been created, and we want to use it in the Engine, is better to delete all that controllers, and only keep the part of the rig that really affects the character/object deformation.
Of course, if we remove the controllers, the basic rig that deforms the character/object won't move at all. To solve this issue, we can use a Maya's tool in order to “bake” the animation into every object, bone of the rig, so then we can delete and forget about the ones that aren't directly affecting our scene and were only meant to help in the animation process.
Here we have a very basic scene, but will be enough to understand how to bake animations. In the scene we have a leg-like skeleton, driven by an IK (Inverse Kinematics) Solver. This is what happens when we move the IK controller: Whet we need to do, is making this movement (or the given animation) to get baked frame by frame in the bones marked in orange from the animation of the IK controller.
If we animate the IK controller, the leg will adapt to it, but the bones won't have any stored keyframes, so let's go for it and create a simple animation for the IK controller: We already have the animation. Note that only the IK controller is animated, bones haven't any keyframe. Now let's export it to bake that animation into the bones.
Maya provides a tool that makes it very easy to bake animations. First, we need to select the bones that we want to bake the animation to. In this case, there are only two bones affected by the IK controller movement, so left click on the first one, and Shift+left click on the second one to add it to the selection (these are the bones that would be the leg and the ankle).
Once we have the selection, go to the top menu and look for Edit/Keys/Bake Simulation: You can click the “Bake Simulation” option to bake directly, or you can click the little box right next to it to open the baking options. In this case, we don't need to set up the options, so just clicking it, it should work. Now, if you select one of the bones of the leg, you should see that the timeline has been filled with keyframes: It's now possible to delete the IK controller, and the animation will be there, as it has been “recorded into the bones”, here is the result: NOTE: This is a very simple example, but it can be applied to much more complex rigs.