AM Tools 1.05 and Unity Maya Extensions!

Although I still need to do a formal write-up for my GDC presentation, I do finally have all of the source code ready to go (or at least I think it’s ready enough), so I wanted to make it available for download now. Here’s a brief summary of changes:

  • All of my Python stuff is officially copyrighted under the MIT License now.
  • Since I know a fair number of people out there rely on decent API examples for learning, I refactored all of my plug-ins to conform to better practice.
  • As part of the plug-in refactoring process, the AM_HipConstraintCmd and AM_ShoulderConstraintCmd plug-ins are now deprecated, and the commands are contained in the same plug-in files as the nodes.
  • Math has been dramatically simplified in both the amHipConstraint node and amShoulderConstraint node. In the case of the latter, the results you get should be identical to before, while the former will yield some minor different results when out of the lateral plane of rotation.
  • All of my comments have been reformatted so that Doxygen can generate more useful information for the online documentation.
  • All tool help menus now link to the online documentation to bypass text formatting issues with maya.cmds GUI in Qt.
  • Added files module with utilities for batch conversion of files to FBX, or for downgrading Maya ASCII files. (Note it is pretty hacky and not tested especially thoroughly, but I included it in case anyone might find it helpful.)
  • Added unity sub-package with utilities for modifying files to work in conjunction with my Unity Maya Extensions.

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What the Book?

Since I’ve gotten a few questions about this lately, I figured it might be more efficient to put up a post! As many of you are aware, I noted awhile back that Ryan and I were working on a Maya Python API book.

Apparently, Amazon had previously posted a listing for our book to be released in January, and recently changed its status to out of print. Since I’ve never communicated with Amazon, I don’t know where the January date came from in the first place, but I can assure you the book still has yet to be released!

As you can imagine, writing a book takes a lot of (free) time, and both Ryan and I have had some various family emergencies in the last year that have caused conflicts with this and other projects (believe it or not, the TKO update has also not been scrapped). Please rest assured that we are still working on the book and have also brought on some additional contributors to help wrap it up. The goal is for it to be available sometime later this year, but because I only handle the writing aspect, I can’t be more specific beyond that.

Please rest assured that I will post more detailed information as soon as I have it. I want to thank all of the supportive folks out there who have expressed their interest for their patience!

GDC and a New Year’s Resolution

Well, 2010 is now done, and I think I’ve selected some important goals for myself this year: learn to say “no” to interesting projects, and finish my own stuff! I have a TKO update forging ahead behind the scenes, and in the process I’ve built another tool I wanted to show, as it will be part of my Complete Maya-Unity tools release coming soon.

Alongside the TKO update, I’m promising a 0.1 release for the Maya-Unity tools by GDC! The board has finally approved a submission from me, so I’ll be doing a session on Automated Pipelines for Generating Run-Time Rigs. I want to have a version of the tools ready to go by then so people will be able to download them and have a look if interested. My GDC session will basically be a higher-level, expanded, and much more detailed look at some of the stuff I showed during my talk on advanced editor scripting at Unite 2010, for anyone who was there.

Unite is actually a good segue into the video I have to share today, too. At the conference, I had showed some examples I had of using editor scripts to generate sparse blend shape data offline. The point was to demonstrate the usefulness of editor scripts in reducing run-time computation, but I unfortunately didn’t have a good pipeline for it yet. So I put together a decent first pass on native blend shape support this week. It, too, will be part of my 0.1 release for my Maya-Unity workflow, so hopefully a couple of you out there will be looking forward to it. Have a great 2011!

AM Tools 1.03

I just uploaded an update to my AM Tools package, which contains some new goodies. In addition to including the AM_Ribbon plug-in that I previewed previously, I have also included an AM_ExposeTransform node, which I will be discussing in an upcoming Autodesk MasterClass that I am doing with Ryan. This node, much like its counterpart in 3D Studio Max, outputs transformation data for an object with respect to another object. In addition to basics like translation, rotation, and distance, the node also allows you to compute the angle between arbitrary axes on the objects as well as an angle from the exposed object’s arbitrary axis to the reference object’s position. Take a look in the example file to get some ideas of how you might use it. Special thanks to my friend, Sean Binder of Raven Software, for providing me with the torso model.
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New Plug-in Coming Soon: AM_Ribbon

Things have been unusually hectic so far this year, and with GDC on the horizon it’s not looking to be much clearer for awhile. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t found a way to make all of my different obligations overlap in some ways! I’ve been working a little bit as a consultant over the last few months to help out Infinite Ammo with an upcoming title: Marian.

During the course of my work on the project, I developed a new Python plug-in for Maya to help out with hair modeling. I will hopefully have a chance to deploy a new version of my free Python package soon that will include it, but in the meantime I thought I might share this video that Alec posted up on the IA website where I show what the plug-in does. Hopefully some other folks out there will find it useful too!