Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Content In The Works

We've not forgotten about this thing.

New content - in a whole new format - is on the way.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Neat MEL Trick

I'm thinking it's time to get back to blocking out some of the shots in the first scene. I started trying to put together the first scene - not using references which we'll eventually do - but by bringing together all of the models into one scene. I ran into trouble with the clocktower model.

It's saved as a Maya Binary file and was modeled in Maya 8. Now, I'm working with Maya ASCII files in Maya 2008. For some reason it just wouldn't import. I kept getting a

"File contains unknown nodes or data."

I spent a good 20 min. going through the model in the Hypergraph, deleting history, looking for wonky nodes but I couldn't find anything. Then, well duh, I am taking a MEL class, right? Two little lines of code solved my problems.

select `ls -type "unknown"`;


No New Work

On my end at least, progress on the short has been slow. It happens, of course, but once MEL/Python class is over, it'll be time for me to really kick some arse on this thing.

So, how's class going? Pretty well. This past week was my first introduction to Python, which is new to Maya as of version 8.5, I think. Python's another scripting language. According to Wikipedia, it's a high-level scripting language. That does make me feel pretty cool. It's not Maya-centric and it's currently implemented in XSI and Houdini as well. That's probably a great thing for some of the larger shops with a number of different packages in their pipelines. A programmer could write one set of tools and have it running within three different environments.

Python's also a pretty clean language. It takes whitespace into account, meaning it matters if you start a new line with a "tab" or with a single-space or with no spaces. That just seemed weird to me at first, but I'm starting to appreciate how it forces a visual hierarchy on your code. In a sense, it's like you're kerning and breaking your entire script, doing what you need to to make it look clean and readable. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

Right now we're doing things like writing scripts that automatically build IK chains and such. What's an IK chain? That's another post.