Author Archive

ToolBox Rundown

rcToolBox

  • RenderLayer Export Script
  • Camera and Object Positions to After Effects
  • RenderLayer Manager Script

Capturetool

Display Presets

Pivot

Object Smooth Presets

Transform Freeze

Apply Render Stats

Layer Presets

Shader Presets

Gamma Tools

Material Lister

Maya Cameras and Object Positions to After Effects

MAYA CAMERA AND OBJECT POSITIONS TO AFTER EFFECTS SCRIPT

The ability to have Maya Cameras in After Effects has been available for a long time. However anyone who has successfully used this feature becomes immediately aware that there are a few steps required to get this information correctly into After Effects. Most artists don’t want to deal with or even think about these limitations and the steps required in Maya to make this transition easy. If you really want to know all the rules necessary skip to the bottom for a breakdown on how to manually do it.

I saved you all that technical headache. All that is required is 4 easy steps!

1. GOTO creativecrash.com and download my script

2. source AE.mel and run AE_UI;

2. Select the transform node of the desired camera, press “Bake  Selected Camera”.

3. Select any number of objects positions desired in After Effects and press Bake Selected Objects.

Decide How the Export Button works by checking or unchecking Import in After Effects. The script uses your current timeline length and has options to force a 1080 Camera. If Import doesnt work. Open the file with a texteditor and near line 111 look for the AppLocation_(YOUR OS) in quotation. Change this to your location.

BENEFITS OF USING THIS SCRIPT

If the names of the objects you bake stay the same, when you replace the nulls by pasting the new and deleting the old from your comp file in After Effects all work done in After Effects (expressing objects in After Effects to match the position of the object in Maya) would not have to be redone.

You can spend one and a half minutes of the 2 minutes your given to make a change, to actually make a change, instead of figure out why your change isnt working correctly!

If you use this script to bake a copy of the object, you can save the file and retain the original unbaked animation. This saves you the pain of accidentally saving a scene when you have baked the camera to export it only to find that you need to to change the camera.

REQUIRED RULES FOR ACCURATE AFTER EFFECT OBJECTS SAVED IN A MAYA ASCII FILE

All objects needed in After Effects:

1.  Must have a key for every frame. Bake all Channels in Graph Editor.

2.  Must not be grouped under anything (grouping changes world position when imported into After Effects). The workaround to this limitation is to create a locator that is point and orient constrained to the object and bake that object instead.

3. Must have the prefix  ”null” to  its name.

RECOMMENDED RULES

The World Scale of the scene to be imported should be set to millimeters, so that position and scale data in After Effects is 0-100 rather than 0.00 to 1.00.

 

Export RenderLayers to Files MEL Script

CaptureHave you ever wanted to know exactly which file was used to render the image sequence that you are looking at in AfterEffects Have ever wanted to rerender your renders on the farm without having to resubmit them from Muster. Have you ever wanted to render each of your renderlayers separately so that it will go faster, and rerender only the renderlayers you need

RENDERLAYERS2FILES:

This procedure maintains the folder structure standard and properly saves your render files   into their proper location as well as backs up a file from the render folder in case you need to go back to a previous version. Using the tool would allow for keeping a record of the files that were used to render. If another artist where to pick up the job he would have access to the master file as well as folders containing all previous renders submitted. You can track all your renders that you submit to Muster so that when we share work it will become clear to us where the files are located. If all Render layers are submitted as separate jobs to the RenderFarm: When a chunk fails resubmitting will not require all render layers to be re rendered.

Shot Folder:

  The Folder in PROJECT/scenes that is your Shot Folder

Absolute Render Folder:

  If you want to define an absolute location that is not  scenes/SHOT Folder

Export Single File

  Export On Renderlayers to one file with the name defined.

Prefix:

  Adds Prefix to all exported files

Note :

  Add Notes for artists

Backup:

  Copy all .mb files contained in folder into a directory titled with the date (ie. -2012.10.26)

Under the scenes folder resides a folder with the ShotNumber_Description (SH08_Waterfall)

This folder contains the master files ShotNumber_Description_v001.mb (SH08_Waterfall_v001.mb)

The folder render would contain ShotNumber_Description_Renderlayer (SH08_Waterfall_AO.mb)

Glorious Set Driven Keys

Set Driven Keys are such a Powerful and simple tool. I have been unable to find a comparable tool in any other application. The power of creating relationships between objects without the limitation that it must be a mathematical relationship is incredibly useful. Set Driven Keys are as simple as key-framing an object.

This tool allows for complex relationships to be created by simple keyframing. In addition, it doesn’t limit you to one object.

In this example using one attribute “Wing Flap” , one is able to control three seperate objects, and two rotational axis. Wings typically flap in a circular motion, not just up and down both wings and the body. With another atttribute “Wing Speed”, controlled by an expression, you can animate the butterfly to fly with only one attribute.

Let’s go into more detail.
A common technique to animate a back and forward motion, ie. wings flapping, is to use sin in the expression. Pick an arbitrary number like 20. Creating set driven keys that drive the rotation of the wings up at 20 and down at -20.

Using this technique, the animatable attribute wing speed can be animated up and down making it easier for the animator to focus on one keyable attribute. One keyable attribute controlling at least 6 rotations of three different objects.

This may seem pretty simplistic in nature but you would be amazed how many animators wouldn’t or couldn’t set this initial control up.

Demo Reel Update

Latest and Greatest Edit

OSX is EASY

I’ve used Windows  ever since there was a windows (windows 3.1 anyone?) and before MS-DOS so I guess my feelings are pretty biased when it comes to comparing osx and windows. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that Macs are the easiest computers to use.

Mac is great for what the general user wants to do  these day, ie. pictures, video, emailing internet activities, and the basic stuff. What about “Power User” functions such as ……….SHOW HIDDEN FILES. You think that Apple would have nailed down there operating system tools, but recently I came across this tool called Pathfinder which is far better than Apple’s Finder and the interface is the same. It has an option to show hidden files among other great things that I wish finder had. It costs 40$ but if you don’t feel like spending money for something that should be included, then open the terminal app and type the following

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

Relaunch Finder (command+alt+esc)

3d Cube Wipe

disc_rebrand5For anyone who hasn’t seeen this amazing rebrand package that royale did for Discovery Channel, you need to watch more educational television!

 This caught my eye earlier this year and it stuck in the back of my head. I pondered how I would achieve this simple but amazing effect.

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Photoshop Production Actions

psd entouragingPhotoshop allows automation of common tasks through its action interface.  I have found it very useful for tasks that are used all the time. Things like saving images to a certain size and format, common image tasks from my 3d application like  getting alpha into the way I like to use it (layer mask), and recently making ID matte layer masks. Spending some time upfront to create these actions saves hours in the long run and frees your brain up for more creative tasks.

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2,000+ Free Mocap Files

Untitled-1Carnegie Mellon University has made available there huge library of Mocap Data

http://sites.google.com/a/cgspeed.com/cgspeed/motion-capture/cmu-bvh-conversion/bvh-conversion-release—motions-list has a list of all the available actions.

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MIA Material in Maya

AEmiamaterials

One of the main reasons I love Maya is that it is ultimately customizable!  You can do things like customize the interface, create custom buttons that automate common tasks. Even redesign default behaviors of materials or rearrange attributes of built in shaders so that the interface makes more sense to you the user. I have reorganized the attributes of the MIA_material into more intuitive locations.

Autodesk has been refining the attribute window, while mental images has been adding features, and they always seem to leave me a bit disappointed in the organization of these attributes.  Why aren’t all the reflection attributes in the same place? BDRF attributes have there own category, that falls after refraction and translucency falls after BDRF, not after refraction. This shader is hard enough to wrap your head around without have to hunt down were the settings are, or when you tweak reflections, to be scrolling up and down between BDRF falloff and reflectivity. I guess I’m just meticulous!

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Working as a Visual Effects Artist, sharing what I'm into. Hopefully you find something educational, entertaining, or both!