So i tried the method i suggested earlier and it seems to be working. I just need to code it up, i'll probably do it in python.
Here are the general steps i came up with:
feed zbrush default into maya default giving result
"meshCombine" (that is zbrush default at weight 1)
feed all zbrush blendshape into default maya mesh, then add "meshCombine" as well
--put -1 on meshCombine mesh and put 1 weight on just the zbrush blendshape need--- duplicate out resulting maya friendly blendshape(s).
future tool idea: i'm thinking of writing something or reworking an older script i wrote to help create combination blendshapes. so i could sculpt on activated blendshapes and have the added detail working when the shape is active.
a couple blendshape making tips:
--use ZBrush to help sculpt really exaggerated shapes (the mask tools are amazing, goz and blendshape layers are very helpful)
--use Maya's paint blendweight tools, scale, smooth, replace to help separate out a combination shape into individual ones
--maybe double up the same blendshape to get a starting point of a more appealing shape
--also making a hotkey or shelf tab for blendweight painting was helpful
--study appealing deformations
Michael Navarro (mikeanavarro dot com)