An Automated Pipeline for Generating Run-Time Rigs

On account of getting the flu at GDC, and then having to catch up on all of my work that wasn’t getting done, I’ve been a little behind, but I wanted to make sure I got up a write-up for my main conference presentation from GDC this year.
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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.

Continue reading AM Tools 1.05 and Unity Maya Extensions!

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 1.04

I just released a minor update to AM Tools that I thought was worth mentioning here. The only change is some refactoring in plug-in verification to ensure everything will work fine with versions of Maya older than 2010 on Windows. Previously, I was using the allNodeTypes command to verify the existence of plug-ins containing nodes. While this command generally only needs to be called twice to make it work in old versions of Maya on OSX (and I believe Linux too), Windows users could get a Debug.dll error that would just prevent the script from working. Special thanks to Sean Binder and Chad Dombrova for helping me troubleshoot this!