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Creature Creator's Handbook Volume 2 Part E

In this final part of volume 2, I am introducing those who are new to scripting/programming, or those who have not yet crossed boarders between Mel script and Python, to both scripting languages.

Length: 2 Hours 55 Minutes 39 Seconds

Price: $29.95

Preview.

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Welcome to volume 2 part E. This incredible rigging and animation masterclass brings you valuable information on scripting using Mel Script and Python. Our popular mentor, Mr. Simon Payne, finishes off volume 2 with some vital discussions and demonstrations. We'll learn why animators should understand scripting and how to use Mel Script and Python in a way that's directly applicable to our work as animators. We'll learn about navigating the UI's for Mel and Python, using logic and pseudo code, and sharing code between software as well. This is top-notch instruction that simply can't be found anywhere else, and Simon Payne's teaching methods are absolutely fantastic. This is rigging and animation at its finest, so get started with The Creature Creator's Handbook today! NOTE: If you're new to this course, you'll need to watch volume 1, as well as volume 2 parts A, B, C, and D before beginning volume 2 part E. Due to the large amount of information covered in volume 2 of this course, it has been split into five parts labeled A, B, C, D and E. You'll need to watch the entire course to fully understand this material. So, if you're all caught up on the previous material, enjoy Creature Creator's Handbook Volume 2 Part E.

Volume 1

Volume 2 Part A

Volume 2 Part B

Volume 2 Part C

Volume 2 Part D

Volume 2 Part E

Chapter Descriptions

Scripting/Programming

In this final part of volume 2, I am introducing those who are new to scripting/programming, or those who have not yet crossed boarders between Mel script and Python, to both scripting languages. The first, most important thing is to understand what programming/scripting actually is, and why it is a good skill to have as a rigger. In my opinion, it is a must-have skill. For as long as you don't script, your performance in speed and complexity as a rigger, is greatly limited by comparison to other mid-senior level riggers. For any rigger who does not code, there are plenty of riggers who do, who will be applying for the same jobs. We don't aim to do the work of a research-&-development coder, but we do aim to be able to produce production level rigging at competitive speed and quality. The idea is to take what software does out of the box, and extend its practicality in order to accomplish more in less time. A comparable example would be Flash or Director... to create any simple button requires some basic scripting/commands. Mel and Python in Maya are the same thing. It is an "echo" of what Maya is doing itself, so that means that we can use the same commands and we don't have to limit ourselves to using Maya's menus and buttons. We can batch commands up and run them through multiple times until a desired result is achieved. This is the point of learning to script. As a rigger, your daily work involves a great deal of repetitive tasks, such as joint drawing, orienting, skinning, creating animation controls, etc. Doing this manually every time would take months to rig even a simple character to a high quality, so we put lists of commands used by Maya when we click the mouse or press a button, into our own new buttons, and et voila! A week-long task can now be done in minutes.

What is Mel, What is Python?

I explain that Maya-Embedded-Language is the Maya equivalent of Flash script. Maya's entire UI and the menus and buttons you use, simply executes Mel commands. The Mel commands call on the underlying C++ code. Python is an independent programming language which has become a standard choice across many DCC's. Writing code in Python has a far faster learning curve between different software than learning software-specific languages every time. It also allows us to share some code between platforms as a result.

Why Learn Both?

A discussion on the merits of learning both Mel and Python. As Maya is built with Mel, it is important to understand and learn it. It is also a very simple scripting language that is very quick to learn. Python is integrated into Maya but is only really calling Mel commands underneath, or the same Maya C++ API calls that Mel script does. Thus it would be hard to take to the more complex language of Python, if you are new to programming, and also if you are new to coding for Maya if you do not first understand what is happening in the world of Mel script. There are also Maya-specific issues that will arise from time to time, that may require you to use only, either Mel or Python for specific tasks. Converting between is easy, and I will demonstrate that process later in this part of Volume2.

What is Programming/Scripting?

I explain the difference between the two terms, but most importantly, I introduce complete beginners who have never done any programming to the process and I try to put it in very easy-to-understand terms. Programming itself is easy, and does not require a rocket scientist's brain to accomplish. Anyone can write simple, useful code.

Logic Gates

I use a simple visual demonstration of what all programming is essentially based on... logic. We take inputs, we set a condition and a process, and we get an output. There are many conditions and logics we can use, but there is a handful of main concepts. Here I demonstrate input data-types, and the concepts of logic gates/operators such as "and," "or," "while," "if," and "not." I also cover conditions, loops, and outputs, all using just a handful of icons on a screen. All we do when we program is use these concepts in a written/descriptive form.

Introduction to Mel Script

I show you how to "source" (load scripts into memory) Mel scripts automatically, rather than manually sourcing every time. I cover key general-programing terminology as we learn the very basics of Mel script. I cover what is meant by "syntax," "variable," "scope," "procedure," "data types," "arrays," "loops," "incrementing," and more, and we'll also be using our first "if" statements, we'll be "parsing" data to procedures and creating our commands. I also give you a very brief example of how easy it is to create your own UI's for your Mel Scripts.

Introduction to Python

Here we learn the difference in "syntax" between Mel and Python and a bunch of additional concepts and data types including "functions," "namespaces," "lists," and "dictionaries." I show you how to change Mel into Python and how to "import" Python scripts as an equivalent to sourcing Mel. We also do a little more UI stuff, this time in Python. I demonstrate how we can share some Python code with other platforms.

Rounding Up Volume 2

I finish this lesson by providing an overview of everything we have learned in Volume 2, and a preview of what we will be covering in Volume 3.

Special Thanks

Thanks again to Dosch 3D for their on going support. Please visit their website here: http://www.doschdesign.com/products/3d

About The Mentor

Simon Payne is a truly outstanding person and he is one of the VFX industry's most experienced experts in characters and creatures. Simon has over 13 years of feature-film experience working within large, streamlined teams with high performance requirements. He is a designer for the feature-film-standard, Modular Rigs and Rigging Technology. Simon has also led VFX teams, match-move teams, and on-set crews while working as Lead Character TD for companies like Reliance Mediaworks, Reliance: Digital Domain London, Passion Pictures, The Moving Picture Company, Senate VFX, IPC (Captain Scarlet), Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Mill Film, CFC, Realise Studio, Peppers Ghost, and more.

Simon has been a long-standing beta developer for Sci D Visions and 2D3 since the year 2000 as well as leading his own VFX teams independently. Simon has led VFX and CG for his employers as well as independent clients for various projects including film, broadcast, and commercials. Simon's character-based projects have persistently received strong praise from the general public and VFX professionals worldwide. He contributed the creature and character rigs for commercials such as "Evian's Roller-Skating Babies" (which has over 70 million views on YouTube), and Cadbury's VES award-winning fully-CG "Spots Vs Stripes" undersea campaign. Simon recently completed an award-winning short film called "Firelight" for the American Film Institute as VFX Supervisor and Creature Animator. Simon is producing this three-volume set of rigging and character-pipeline based cmiVFX tutorial videos, which are designed to take absolute beginners to advanced, feature-film-level riggers. This series has a very steep learning curve, but aims to streamline the learning process by introducing basic strategies and consistencies from the beginning that gradually tie together over the course of the series.

Project Contents

All cmiVFX videos come with all the training materials unless the lesson is designed to force the user to follow along precisely such as in coding or scripting situations. This entire series has project files included in the other parts.

Availability:

Video-on-demand streaming is available through the website to subscribers. In addition, video files are available for download for those who directly purchase individual titles from their cart.

About Simon Payne

Simon Payne

Simon Payne is a truly outstanding person and he is one of the VFX industry's most experienced experts in characters and creatures. Simon has over 13 years of feature-film experience working within large, streamlined teams with high performance requirements. He was the designer of the feature-film-standard, Modular Rigs and Rigging Technology. Simon has also led VFX teams, match-move teams, and on-set crews while working as Lead Character TD for companies like Reliance Mediaworks, Reliance: Digital Domain London, Passion Pictures, The Moving Picture Company, Senate VFX, IPC (Captain Scarlet), Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Mill Film, CFC, Realise Studio, Peppers Ghost, and more. Simon has been a long-standing beta developer for Sci D Visions and 2D3 since the year 2000 as well as leading his own VFX teams independently. Simon has led VFX and CG for his employers as well as independent clients for various projects including film, broadcast, and commercials. Simon's character-based projects have persistently received strong praise from the general public and VFX professionals worldwide. He contributed the creature and character rigs for commercials such as "Evian's Roller-Skating Babies" (which has over 70 million views on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQcVllWpwGs), and Cadbury's VES award-winning fully-CG "Spots Vs Stripes" undersea campaign. Simon recently completed an award-winning short film called "Firelight" (http://vimeo.com/36217471) for the American Film Institute as VFX Supervisor and Creature Animator. Simon is producing this three-volume set of rigging and character-pipeline based cmiVFX tutorial videos, which are designed to take absolute beginners to advanced, feature-film-level riggers. This series has a very steep learning curve, but aims to streamline the learning process by introducing basic strategies and consistencies from the beginning that gradually tie together over the course of the series.