Tuesday, 14 December 2010

fully gobsmacked

ok a few of my students have been telling me about SOup for Maya, downloaded it today and I am blown away.

Available here ( Created by Peter Shipkov it is an amazing procedural toolset for Maya. If you create anything good with it then make sure you give back to the community in the form of a tutorial as there is so much to learn here.

For the animators have a look at the trajectory tool, it allows you to manipulate the animated object either in the curves or with a motion path or by saving idea how he has done this but wow.

Right I'm off to play some more

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

sorting out texture paths

As some of you insist on not using project directories in maya to organise your files you will be finding that stuff becomes disconnected. Unfortunately Maya does not use relative paths (very annoying). You can switch them to relative paths by saving as a .ma and altering the path in a text editor or......

you can use this awesome script on Creative crash that manages it for you
LINK (FileTextureManager)

If someone sees Pete point this out to him as he is having to fight with this at the moment

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Updated character set keyer script

Ok, I finally cleaned up and made the interface for the multiple character set keyer. It has gained a new name thanks to Oddne; that of GSFATCAO (GeorgsScriptForAnimatingTwoCharactersAtOnce). It can actually control far more than two but I like the name and it has stuck :)

Simple unzip the script into your Maya_preferences / scripts folder. Then when you restart Maya you can just type GSFATCAO into the script prompt and it will work. (must be capitals).

The tool has a few new functions: a help page to tell you about it and an update command in case you add a new character set and want the interface to reflect this.

The main difference with this version and the earlier one is that now the character set reset works well. You choose your own reset pose, then run the command under the menu. Then you can reset the character back to this pose at any time. You can change the reset pose at any point during the animation.

Limitations: Due to the way the create character reset section works you can not have any 'illegal' characters in your object names (things like :!*& etc.) If you have these I would recommend that you do a find and replace and remove them. I am going to change the script to work around this possibility once I have had a think about it

So here it is play nice and see if it works:

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Colour / color theory

Found a great website for colour theory. LINK
You might think...this has nothing to do with wrong you would be. It is often overlooked by CGI artists but we are working in a visual medium so it is essential. Now many of you will do this by instinct but a little theory never hurt anyone.

Friday, 22 October 2010

character set keyframer

wrote this script this morning so it is still in the test phase (and gui layout etc). Basically the idea is that if you have an animation rig with a character set but no GUI this can be a stand in.

It also allows you to key (and remove key) from multiple character sets at once (which is nice).
The reset character button needs care as it might reset aspects of your character to zero that you don't want (IK/FK switches for example).
The reset selection only works on translate / scale / rotation /visibility of a selected object so is safer. It will ignore locked and unkeyable items.I am working on fixing the reset character button but character sets handle data in a different way.
just source the script then run ch_keyer(); in the script editor (for some reason it is not working at the script prompt???)
There will be an updated version soon with comments in the code etc.
Hope it is of some use.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


There have been a few people asking about quick and easy ways to rig a character. I have not tested these yet (well I am at the moment) but it gets good reviews and there are some nicely made tutorials by Olivier Ladeuix.
Now bear in mind that using tools like this will teach you nothing but it will allow you to get on with animating your characters. Make sure you test the rigs thougherly to see if they do what you want.
There is a similar simple autorig solution in Softimage XSI but Maya does not have one as standard, there are also a few you can buy.
This one is called abAutoRig and is available here
And the tutorials on using it are here
If anyone gets good results with it please tell us

Whilst we are on rigging for you animators out there who are playing with the various rigs that lovely people have given out for all to enjoy here is a list of rigs available along with comments on plus and minus points as well as examples of the rigs in action Link

stuff to read

Be curious.....there is so much information out there and some of it is really good. Animation requires you to be curious and to be fascinated by what you do.
First link for you is the pure pearls of wisdom from Keith Lango, I can not point out how much this paper can influence and change your way of animating...READ IT really read it and try it out link once you have done reading that read some more of his stuff, then shock horror find some other stuff and read that too.

Next link for you sort of backs up what we say to you all the time (and mainly gets ignored) if you are going to animate something plan it out before hand, thumbnails and REFERENCE material. link

Thursday, 30 September 2010


Just got back from the second year of Cinesites inspire internship launch. Basically it is a competition for students to apply to Cinesite for work experience LINK. It is a good opportunity for students but is blatantly a way for cinesite to get in there early on the new talent (and so what). They showed us a load of their recent work, none of which I can tell anyone about and to be brutal didn't really impress me much. The main thing that came out of it is that they are desperate for people who can work stereoscopically, but how the hell do you show that on a standard reel. That and they want shader writers, but since they are few and far between they are going to have to steal them away from some of the bigger boys.

Got to meet up with some other lecturers and some of the talented guys at Cinesite and afterwards in the various soho pubs some of my ex-students and even my old teacher Noah Taylor. Noah has promised me a talk down here at Falmouth. His previous companies include ILM. Weta, Animal logic amougst others and is currently at Framewhore...opps Framestore.

Did make me glad I don't work in London

Friday, 24 September 2010

Another term starts

With the start of the new year I thought I would try this as a way of sharing info with my students and any one else.
As a few students have found out Autodesk have changed their policy (again) on student software meaning you can now get it for free for 3 years.
You simply need to go to this link autodesk education community sign up and go from there.
There is small print that is worth reading in that the work is watermarked (not really an issue) and you don't get any upgrades. Therefore it will not be compatible with the machines on campus which will be running the latest versions (without watermarks) but it will be great for practice.
Also once you have joined there are some learning resources to have a look at.
Here are some that would be good for first years to have a peak at link

As a new resource we have purchased the Digimation model archive (Titanium edition). Due to the way it installs you will have to email me the reference details of any models you want and I can extract them and send them back to you. No I am not going to extract all 16504 models just so you can have a copy. But any models needed for projects (university or personal) I will endevour to get to you. There is a list of all their models on their website and I will need the model name and reference number. I can only respond to model requests from your university email address to comply with copyright. These are going to be really good for:
a: those of you (and me) who get bored by modeling
b: pre-vis work
c: background generic elements