Catalogue


MEL scripting for Maya animators [electronic resource] /
Mark R. Wilkins, Chris Kazmier ; with a contribution by Stephan Osterburg.
edition
2nd ed.
imprint
Amsterdam ; Boston : Morgan Kaufmann, 2005.
description
xviii, 529 p. : ill.
ISBN
0120887932
format(s)
Book
More Details
added author
imprint
Amsterdam ; Boston : Morgan Kaufmann, 2005.
isbn
0120887932
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
8604295
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Mark R. Wilkins is a technical director at DreamWorks Animation SKG. He has worked at Walt Disney Feature Animation and Pacific Data Images Chris Kazmier is a senior technical director at Sony Pictures Imageworks
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Reading and following the lessons of this book provides one of the best ways for a casual Maya user to elevate their skills to a professional level. The fundamental techniques developed in MEL Scripting for Maya Animators are critical for visual effects artists to learn." - Scott Stokdyk, Visual Effects Supervisor, Sony Pictures Imageworks "While the first edition opened the doors to MEL scripting for interested Maya users, this expanded and updated second edition delves deeper into important programming concepts, and new features in Maya released since the original edition." - Doug Cooper, Visual Effects Supervisor, DreamWorks Animation "The book is well written for both technical and non-technical animators. It is an essential tool in making sophisticated animation not only possible but also practical." - Henry LaBounta, Senior Art Director, Electronic Arts "This new edition is the very best of an extremely small number of books that even attempt to cover the subject of scripting animation. If you're just getting started or are advanced enough to want the second edition's beefed up content, there's an empty spot for this book next to your monitor right now." - Game Developer, December 2005
Reading and following the lessons of this book provides one of the best ways for a casual Maya user to elevate their skills to a professional level. The fundamental techniques developed in MEL Scripting for Maya Animators are critical for visual effects artists to learn.-Scott Stokdyk, Visual Effects Supervisor, Sony Pictures ImageworksWhile the first edition opened the doors to MEL scripting for interested Maya users, this expanded and updated second edition delves deeper into important programming concepts, and new features in Maya released since the original edition. No longer just for the first steps in MEL programming, this edition takes the reader into the depths of advanced topics such as user interface layout and web panels that are sure to make this book a frequently used and a welcome addition to any technical director's bookshelf.Doug Cooper, Visual Effects Supervisor, DreamWorks AnimationMEL Scripting for Maya Animators is the set of keys you need to get under the hood of Maya. The book is well written for both technical and non-technical animators. It is an essential tool in making sophisticated animation not only possible but also practical.Henry LaBounta, Senior Art Director, Electronic Arts
"Reading and following the lessons of this book provides one of the best ways for a casual Maya user to elevate their skills to a professional level. The fundamental techniques developed in MEL Scripting for Maya Animators are critical for visual effects artists to learn." - Scott Stokdyk, Visual Effects Supervisor, Sony Pictures Imageworks "While the first edition opened the doors to MEL scripting for interested Maya users, this expanded and updated second edition delves deeper into important programming concepts, and new features in Maya released since the original edition. No longer just for the first steps in MEL programming, this edition takes the reader into the depths of advanced topics such as user interface layout and web panels that are sure to make this book a frequently used and a welcome addition to any technical director's bookshelf." - Doug Cooper, Visual Effects Supervisor, DreamWorks Animation " MEL Scripting for Maya Animators is the set of keys you need to get under the hood of Maya. The book is well written for both technical and non-technical animators. It is an essential tool in making sophisticated animation not only possible but also practical." - Henry LaBounta, Senior Art Director, Electronic Arts "This new edition is - as was the first edition - the very best of an extremely small number of books that even attempt to cover the subject of scripting animation. The authors take great pains to explain where pertinent features, graphs, and editors are found, and to paint a picture of the interconnectivity of Maya's various networked nodes. If you're just getting started or are advanced enough to want the second edition's beefed up content, there's an empty spot for this book next to your monitor right now. But make sure there is enough space for a few pads of sticky notes and a couple of highlighting markers. You'll want to ink this one up." - Game Developer, December 2005
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Summaries
Back Cover Copy
Trying to learn Maya programming from the documentation can be daunting whether or not you are a programmer. The first edition of MEL Scripting for Maya Animators earned the reputation as the best introductory book on MEL, Mayas scripting language. Now fully revised and updated, the second edition also includes new features, such as a discussion of global procedures, new chapters on fixing programming bottlenecks, advanced user interface techniques, and optimizing character rigs. New chapters on utility nodes and Maya's Web Panel feature provide new ideas on how to use MEL in applications. This new edition has kept the popular style of the first edition that offered very clear explanations of programming concepts to those without programming experience. A generous collection of code examples and Maya scene files is included on the companion Web site. This is a book for animators, artists, game developers, visual effects developers, and technical directors who want to learn the fundamentals of Maya, how to automate tasks, personalize user interfaces, build custom tools, and solve problems with MEL. Features * Fully updated with several new chapters. * Profusely illustrated and includes a companion Web site with numerous code examples and scene files. * The authors bring their extensive experience in professional production studios to provide expert guidance.
Back Cover Copy
Trying to learn Maya programming from the documentation can be daunting whether or not you are a programmer. The first edition of MEL Scripting for Maya Animators earned the reputation as the best introductory book on MEL, Maya's scripting language. Now fully revised and updated, the second edition also includes new features, such as a discussion of global procedures, new chapters on fixing programming bottlenecks, advanced user interface techniques, and optimizing character rigs. New chapters on utility nodes and Maya's Web Panel feature provide new ideas on how to use MEL in applications. This new edition has kept the popular style of the first edition that offered very clear explanations of programming concepts to those without programming experience. A generous collection of code examples and Maya scene files is included on the companion Web site. This is a book for animators, artists, game developers, visual effects developers, and technical directors who want to learn the fundamentals of Maya, how to automate tasks, personalize user interfaces, build custom tools, and solve problems with MEL. Features * Fully updated with several new chapters. * Profusely illustrated and includes a companion Web site with numerous code examples and scene files. * The authors bring their extensive experience in professional production studios to provide expert guidance.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Animators, artists, game developers, and technical directors can master Maya's fundamentals then learn how to automate tasks, personalize user interfaces, build custom tools and solve problems by becoming an expert in the MEL scripting language-all with no programming experience.
Main Description
In the first edition of MEL Scripting for Maya Animators, Mark Wilkins and Chris Kazmier provided very clear explanations of basic MEL programming concepts to an audience without programming experience. That edition earned the reputation as the best introductory book on MEL. Now in a second edition, the book is fully updated to Maya 6 and includes a number of brand new features, such as a discussion of global procedures, new chapters on fixing programming bottlenecks, advanced user interface techniques, and optimizing character rigs.
Main Description
Trying to learn Maya programming from the documentation can be daunting whether or not you are a programmer. The first edition of MEL Scripting for Maya Animators earned the reputation as the best introductory book on MEL, Maya's scripting language. Now fully revised and updated, the second edition also includes new features, such as a discussion of global procedures, new chapters on fixing programming bottlenecks, advanced user interface techniques, and optimizing character rigs. New chapters on utility nodes and Maya's Web Panel feature provide new ideas on how to use MEL in applications. This new edition has kept the popular style of the first edition that offered very clear explanations of programming concepts to those without programming experience. A generous collection of code examples and Maya scene files is included on the companion Web site. This is a book for animators, artists, game developers, visual effects developers, and technical directors who want to learn the fundamentals of Maya, how to automate tasks, personalize user interfaces, build custom tools, and solve problems with MEL. * Fully updated with several new chapters. * Profusely illustrated and includes a companion Web site with numerous code examples and scene files. * The authors bring their extensive experience in professional production studios to provide expert guidance.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. xvii
Special Acknowledgmentp. xviii
Maya Under the Hoodp. 1
In this chapter you will learnp. 1
Why Look Under the Hood?p. 1
The Dependency Graph, Attributes, and Connectionsp. 2
Using the Hypergraph to Explore the Dependency Graphp. 8
Transform Hierarchy and Parent/Child Relationshipsp. 13
Examining the Hierarchyp. 15
Transform and Shape Nodesp. 15
Exploring Transform and Shape Nodes, Instancing, and Historyp. 17
MEL and Maya's User Interfacep. 20
What to Remember About How Maya Works Behind the Scenesp. 20
The Basics of MEL Commandsp. 23
In this chapter you will learnp. 23
Can I Use MEL Without Scripting?p. 23
Command Line and Command Feedback Linep. 24
Command Shellp. 25
Script Editorp. 25
Script Editor Versus Command Shellp. 27
Script Editor's Messages as MEL Codep. 27
Making a Shelf Button for a MEL Scriptp. 29
Saving a MEL Scriptp. 29
Seductive Dangers of the Status Message Areap. 30
The whatIs Commandp. 31
Basic Structure of MEL Commandsp. 32
Where to Find Information About Maya and MEL on the Internetp. 33
Newsgroupsp. 34
How to Use MEL Scripts Found on the Internetp. 34
What to Remember About How to Use MEL Without Writing Scriptsp. 35
Using Expressionsp. 37
In this chapter you will learnp. 37
What Is an Expression?p. 37
How Does an Expression Work?p. 38
Equals Sign: Equality and Assignmentp. 38
How Maya Implements Expressionsp. 40
Is Maya's Expression Language the Same as MEL?p. 41
When (and When Not) to Use an Expressionp. 42
Defining Relationships Between Attributesp. 43
What Is Operator Precedence?p. 44
Walkthrough of Maya's Expression Languagep. 45
Definitions of Variablesp. 46
Computing the Values of Attributesp. 49
Assigning Computed Valuesp. 49
Eyesp. 50
Analyzing the Problemp. 51
Planning the Eyes' Animation Controlsp. 54
Writing the Expressionp. 54
What to Remember About Using Expressionsp. 60
Controlling Particles with Expressionsp. 61
In this chapter you will learnp. 61
Two Kinds of Particle Object Attributes: Per Object and Per Particlep. 61
All About Vectorsp. 62
Two Kinds of Expressions: Ordinary and Particlep. 68
Ordinary Expressions and a Newton Fieldp. 68
A Simple Particle Expressionp. 73
A Few Hints for Efficient Particle Expressionsp. 80
Helical Particles Around a Curvep. 80
What to Remember About Particle Expressions in Mayap. 93
Problem Solving with MEL Scriptingp. 95
In this chapter you will learnp. 95
MEL's Role in Maya: Building Scenesp. 95
Strategies for Planning MEL Applicationsp. 97
The Simplest User Interfacep. 98
Creating, Editing, and Querying Nodes in MELp. 100
Adding, Setting, and Getting Values of Attributes in MELp. 101
Connecting Attributes in MELp. 102
Creating and Connecting Expression Nodes in MELp. 103
Using MEL to Automate Setup for Spiral Particlesp. 104
What to Remember About Writing MEL Scriptsp. 112
Variables and Data Typesp. 115
In this chapter you will learnp. 115
Declaring Variables (and Not Declaring Them)p. 115
Environment Variablesp. 121
MEL Statements and Type Checkingp. 121
Simple and Aggregate Data Typesp. 122
What to Remember About Variables and Data Types in MELp. 134
Using MEL Commandsp. 137
In this chapter you will learnp. 137
What Is a MEL Command?p. 137
Structure of a MEL Commandp. 138
Using MEL Commands in MEL Scriptsp. 141
Avoid Using MEL Commands in Expressionsp. 143
What to Remember About Using MEL Commandsp. 143
Manipulating Nodes in MELp. 145
In this chapter you will learnp. 145
Using Is Command to Find Nodes by Name or Other Propertiesp. 145
Using Select Command to Manage Object Selectionp. 148
Creating Nodes in a Maya Scenep. 150
Finding a Node's Parents and Childrenp. 151
Finding Information on Node Connectionsp. 152
About Maya's Node Types and the Node and Attribute Referencep. 153
What to Remember About Managing Nodes in MELp. 154
Controlling the Flow of Executionp. 155
In this chapter you will learnp. 155
Controlling the Flow of Script Executionp. 155
Basic Conditional Operations: if-else and switchp. 157
Loopsp. 167
What to Remember About Controlling the Flow of Execution in MELp. 170
Procedures and Functionsp. 171
In this chapter you will learnp. 171
Top-Down Designp. 171
A Trip to the Grocery Storep. 172
What Are Procedures and Functions?p. 174
Geometry-Constrained Locatorsp. 178
Recursive Antennap. 182
What to Remember About Procedures, Functions, and Top-Down Design in MELp. 186
Naming Nodes, Scripts, and Variablesp. 189
In this chapter you will learnp. 189
Why Naming Conventions Are Importantp. 189
Naming Scriptsp. 190
Naming Variablesp. 191
Naming Nodesp. 192
Adding a Name Prefix to Objects in a Hierarchyp. 195
Changing Name Prefixes in a Hierarchyp. 197
What Are Namespaces?p. 200
Strategies for Using Namespacesp. 203
What to Remember About Naming Scripts, Variables, and Nodesp. 203
Designing MEL User Interfacesp. 205
In this chapter you will learnp. 205
What Is a User Interface?p. 205
What Maya Users Expect to See from a MEL Scriptp. 206
Questions to Answer Before Designing a User Interfacep. 208
Designing and Testing a User Interfacep. 209
Structure of a Dialog Boxp. 210
What to Remember About Designing User Interfaces in MELp. 212
Simple MEL User Interfacesp. 213
In this chapter you will learnp. 213
Collecting Information from Usersp. 213
Validating User Input: When and Whyp. 214
Asking for Confirmation with confirmDialogp. 216
Asking User for Text String with promptDialogp. 217
Asking User to Pick File or Directory with fileDialogp. 218
Handling Warnings and Errors with Warning and Error Commandsp. 219
Using Regular Expressions and match to Validate Datap. 219
How Regular Expressions Workp. 220
Validating Integersp. 222
Validating Floating-Point Numbersp. 223
Validating Object Names (Without Namespaces)p. 224
Simple Dialogs and Input Validationp. 225
What to Remember About Simple MEL User Interfaces and Input Validationp. 230
Custom Dialog Boxesp. 231
In this chapter you will learnp. 231
How to Structure a Script That Uses a Custom Dialog Box for Inputp. 231
Dialog Boxes and Their Contentsp. 232
Making the Example Dialog Boxp. 235
Common Types of Controlsp. 243
Common Types of Layoutsp. 249
Dialog Box for Making Geometric Primitivesp. 252
What to Remember About Building Custom Dialog Boxes in MELp. 256
Making Advanced Dialog Boxes with formLayoutp. 259
In this chapter you will learnp. 259
Why Use formLayout?p. 259
Planning a Dialog Box for formLayoutp. 260
Using formLayout: Overviewp. 261
Using formLayout: Defining Placement Rules for UI Objectsp. 264
Example: Implementing a Dialog Box with formLayoutp. 266
What to Remember About Making Dialog Boxes with formLayoutp. 270
Making Advanced Dialog Boxes with Web Panelsp. 271
In this chapter you will learnp. 271
What You Need to Know Before You Proceedp. 271
What Are Web Panels?p. 272
Learning Web Authoringp. 273
How a Dialog Box Built with Web Panels Worksp. 274
Planning a Dialog Box for Web Panelsp. 275
Creating a Web-Based Dialog Box for Mayap. 275
Launching a Web-Based Dialog Box from MELp. 278
Implementing a Dialog Box using JavaScriptp. 283
Ideas for Dialog Boxes Built with Web Panelsp. 293
What to Remember about Making Dialog Boxes with Web Panelsp. 294
Improving Performance with Utility Nodesp. 295
In this chapter you will learnp. 295
What Is a Utility Node?p. 295
When Should You Consider Using a Utility Node?p. 296
How to Create and Connect a Utility Nodep. 297
Using the plusMinusAverage Node to Find the Midpoint Between Two Locatorsp. 300
Common Utility Nodesp. 301
What to Remember About Improving Performance With Utility Nodesp. 302
Installing MEL Scriptsp. 303
In this chapter you will learnp. 303
Installing a Script to Make It Available in All Scenesp. 303
Installing a Script to Run When Maya Startsp. 304
Installing a Script into a Script Node in a Scenep. 304
Installing Custom Menusp. 306
Managing Button Shelves and Creating Custom Shelf Iconsp. 306
What to Remember About Installing MEL Scriptsp. 307
Examples Using MEL with Particle Dynamicsp. 309
Introduction to Particle Goalsp. 309
Particle Goals on a Surfacep. 315
Using Goals on Multiple Surfacesp. 329
Using Goals on Surfaces, Part 2p. 338
Examples Using MEL with Solid Body Dynamicsp. 351
Particle Collisionsp. 351
Collision Eventsp. 361
Collisions Between Objects in Solid Dynamicsp. 374
Solid Dynamics and Particlesp. 394
Example of a Simple Crowd Systemp. 409
Creating a Vehiclep. 409
Vehicle Interactionp. 424
Vehicle Environmentp. 437
Fine Tuning and Completing the Scriptp. 449
Full Script Reference: crowdSystem.melp. 473
Examples Using MEL in Character Riggingp. 485
Character Controlsp. 485
Building a Character User Interfacep. 499
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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