After exporting a rigged and animated character from Maya to Unity through .fbx, all edges become very hard. How to I retain my soft edges on a rigged/animated character?

So I’ve got a rigged/skinned/animated character in Maya, with hard edges. In Unity the model displays with hard edges.
But I would like to have that model displayed with soft edges. So I open the Maya source file, soften the edges (Maya->Polygons->Normals->Soften Edge), export a new FBX, import it into Unity and it still has hard edges.
I go back into Maya, duplicate the mesh, soften the edges on the new duplicated model and copy the skin weights to the new model and delete the old model. So now the new model has soft edges applied before the skinCluster in Maya. Re-export/import into Unity and the rig still has hard edges!
So back in Maya I delete the joints. Re-export/import into Unity and I have proper soft edges.
So in conclusion, when bringing in the model with the joints I get a broken model (unwanted hard edges), no matter what I do and in what order. The moment I delete the joints, the unity model gets soft edges but I loose the rig and animations.
I would like to have soft edges on my model which has a rig and animations applied in Unity.
One way around this I found, is in Unity, if you select the top-level FBX of the rig/model and in the inspector, you can change “Normals” to “Calculate” and then adjust the “Smoothing Angle”. But ideally I would like Unity to just read in the normals I set in Maya.
Thanks for any help.
Adrian Melian

In Maya, model with soft edges

In Unity the same “soft edge” model imports with hard edges when a rig is also present.

Not a Maya user, but I’ve seen this in blender. During/before the export, you probably need to somehow bake in the soft edges.

I’m assuming Maya is keeping a unique list of verts for each face, for modelling purposes (which displays as all hard edges.) Then soft-edges is only a modifier, saying to temporarily display it as if duplicate verts were merged; but not to really merge them. Kind of like photoshop layers.

It’s funny, since most people have the opposite problem (they probably have a differnt workflow.)