Lightwave to Maya importing
Most of our character models have been created in Lightwave, so anyone wanting to work with the originals will need to be able to import them into Maya.
This is a (somewhat disorganized) collection of information about how to do that.
Going from Maya to Lightwave: Maya has an Export-to-OBJ plugin... the plugin is already there, it's just disabled by default. You need to go to the plugins window and activate it.
Once you enable that plugin, you can then do an export to OBJ format, which Lightwave can read naitively. That's how I've passed my work between applications before, anyway.
Going from Lightwave to Maya: You can't export an .lwo as an .obj from lightwave. The lightwave obj exporter is archaic and doesn't export UVs (lightwave is the oldest 3d app by a long way, it started back in '89). Use Deep Exploration to convert the lwo to obj (or just direct to mb) and import them in maya. You may have to go to window-preferences-plugins and load the object import plugin (it's either that or the obj export plugin that isn't loaded by default)
Making Sure Maya does not merge different submeshes together
This is a response to someone who claimed that creating an md5mesh caused all meshes to be merged into one surface, which is obviously not good for AI. I have yet to confirm whether this is a problem with Maya7.0
THe parts you want to use a separate material in doom need to be a separate object in maya, and they also have to be pointing to a different image.
THat doesn't mean you have to export them all separately, you can have the head and body in the same maya scene, but still be two separate objects, and export them all at once.
I suppose what you would do if you're modleing in maya, is select the head polys, delete everytjhing else, save that head as an .mb, undo the delete, and delete the head polys you've selcted, and then import the head file you just saved, so now you have the same scene but the head an body are two different objects.
There's probably an easier way to do that, but I don't use maya for modeling, and that'll work fine. I import my models from lightwave, and I keep the parts I want to be separte on different layers, so they come into maya as separate objects.
When you type exportModels, start typing the name of a def file and hit TAB. As with console commands, D3 will list all of the files that match the partial name. This will tell you if it can find the right def file.