stPipelineTools

Maya & Scene Management

While Maya gets more bells and whistles with every release it is still pretty useless in a production if there is no one, caring about all the data management. The problem is, if scene/cache imports, exports and versioning is done manually we tend to produce a big ugly mess. Especially if we are in a hurry. Nobody wants to spend time typing in data, prepare scenes, or even worse, clean scenes up. We just want to grab the latest version of whatever we need and get going. I always tried to remember this when designing stPipelineTools. This is why 90% of the UI elements are just buttons. And I'm relatively proud of that. You just choose a prop, material, set, shot, camera or a light and push a few buttons. Everything else is handled automatically.

(more…)
normalMap2

modify normal map intensity in maya

I have never been a big fan of normal maps. It’s difficult to manipulate them, it’s hard to guess how they might influence your shading and – probably the worst part – it’s not possible to modify their strength in maya. This is why I avoided them most of the time in favour of bump maps even though normal maps can look a lot better.

Luckily, I found this thread where NextDesign posted a solution to enable normal map strength editing right inside of maya. It’s a bit tricky and it would be quite a pain, to wire everything together, everytime you want to use a normal map. This is why I decided to write a script for that. You just need to select your file node, run the script and you are ready to go. Now you can use the bump depth slider on your bump2d node to modify your normal map contribution – just as with your old school bump map. Isn’t that awesome?

Continue reading

Maya Camera Gate

The most annoying thing on earth: The default camera gate in maya. It’s just wasting useful screen space and what the hell is this see through useful for? When I use camera gate I want to frame the shot and don’t want to get distracted by anything around it. So this is why I created a small script. I created a button and placed it in my shelf. Now I can toggle the camera gate on and off. It’s always used as much screen space as possible and everything else is opaque.

maya_gate1

Continue reading