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There are some Windows thumbnail apps for Maya docs that get mixed results and cost cash money. I just whipped up something that uses Maya itself to generate a hardware rendered preview for selected .ma or .mb files (it also works on OBJ, FBX, etc):
It’s just a shell script that can be adapted to work in Linux as well as OS X (and Windows if you use Cygwin).
Here’s the shell script (run it by doing path/to/script.sh file1.mb file2.ma file3.obj)
Grab the Automator workflow here.
Both the shell script and Automator actions reference Maya 2012 on OS X. Just change the path to reference your Maya version.
Update: I made a revised version that renders the preview to /tmp and uses QuickLook to preview the document, for less clutter:
Grab it here: QuickLook_Maya.workflow
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