Maya and the Corrective Blendshape

So, It turns out that either I am a lot more stupid than I had previously given myself credit for, or someone suddenly made it a lot more difficult to make corrective blend-shapes in Maya than it ought to be. That, or Autodesk introduced some fancy new tool in Maya 2009 that no one has told me about.

If you, like me, find yourself with a strong desire to make corrective blend-shapes but without the corresponding desire to do so fumbling blind and pulling random vetices, you would usually find some script or plug-in that would allow you to do it in the deformed pose you wanted to correct (Note to Google: This might also be called Pose Space Deformation). If you then, like me, find yourself unable to find said script or plug-in it would seem that  you have only the following Fahrenheit-rigging-DVD-non-approved technique to rely on.

  1. Model, rig and skin your character. If you are like me you have already done this.
  2. Pose you character in the pose you want to correct
  3. Duplicate your deformed mesh twice, calling one positive and one negative. Move them a little away from your model
  4. Model your corrected shape on the mesh called positive.
  5. Make a new blend-shape node on your character containing the two duplicate meshes. This blend shape must use the parallel blending mode.
  6. Move your character back to bind-pose and in the parallel blend-node, set the positive mesh to 1 and the negative to -1. This should blend your mesh so that you only have the deformations you made to the positive mesh, but now in a neutral pose.
  7. Duplicate this new mesh and call it something with the letters BS is the name because this is infinitely funny. This mesh can now be used as a corrective blend-shape
  8. Delete the parallel blend-node and repeat these steps for all your shapes. Yes, really.
  9. When done, add all your new shapes into a new blend shape node called corrective-something-or-another, making sure to use front of chain blending. I think.
  10. Set up your shapes with driven keys or whatever works for you.

Congratulations, you are done, possibly. Please note that this worked for me on my very simple character but as mentioned, the Fahrenheit rigging DVD says that the method is flawed and will probably cause problems. Buy the DVD if you want to know what kind of problem (Hint: it could involve explosions).

Please let me know if you know anything better.

PS. I was kidding about that explosion part. Most likely.

Maya and the Wireframe – A Fairytale

I don’t know if my 3ds Max upbringing has spoiled me but I have always harboured the belief that making a wireframe render should be as simple as ticking a box marked “Wireframe” and then pressing render.

Maya, however, disagrees with me. She believes that that would be to easy. “If you could just click a button, you wouldn’t really think about what kind of wireframe you really wanted,” she seems to say to me. “I mean,” she continues, “maybe you just wanted a simple wireframe render, but what if you wanted a wireframe with a thickness? Or one that was a bit wiggly? Or one that turns slightly red based on the distance to the nearest torus-shaped object?”

When I tell her “but honestly, I just wanted a simple wireframe render,” she pauses for a bit before turning away from me, quietly sobbing.

I then boot up Firefox.

So, Maya

So, I try to import at sound into Maya and I get the error “cannot find file” and I think, “that’s weird. I can and I just told you where it is…”

So I look around a bit on the Internets and find nothing that solves my immediate problem. The closest is someone who solved his problem by changing the format of the file. Possibly because I have used computers for so long my first reaction to this seemingly useless piece of information was “hey, maybe that’s why Maya is telling my that it cannot find the file”.

So I poked around a bit and just look and lo and behold and see what we have here, the file suddenly works.

So therefore: thank you Maya. Thank you for that very helpful error message you gave me. I don’t know what I would have done without it.

Maya Scripts?

Isn’t this the reason to have a blog? To post stuff that might help people? Yes Mom, I am going to give it a try! I am going to do my best!!!

Ok, my best wasn’t good enough. No code for you my friend. Blame WordPress’s insistence to removing spaces in text.

LATER: Hah, eat this, WordPress!

After the break, a small python script to quickly create a renderlayer with a name: Continue reading

Converting Instances…

…to “real” copies in maya 7 can be done with a script that comes with the bonus tools.

It is really bugging me that so many simple things are so difficult to figure out how to do!

Going Mental

Hello. Long time no see and all that fluff.

I have been working on bachelor for a long time now, so time has not been in ample supply.
Apparently, to get the best result with your zdepth layer and depth of fielld, you need to render your images in double the final size and the zdepth layer must not be anti-aliased. I haven’t seen a convincing example of why not yet, but it makes sort of sense so I am willing to play along.
Problem is, we use a custom mentalray shader for DOF and mentalray has not been very happy to refrain from anti-aliasing the zdepth layer. Even setting min and max samples to 0 didn’t do the trick for us.

In the end we found that you also needed to set the filter type to traingle. A width and height of 2 is fine, but you need the triangle filter.

You hear that google? No anti-aliasing in mentalray by using triangle filter with 0/0 samples!

Now to solve that render layer crap.