Experimental Scripting for Animation in Maya
Arts Col 694, 5 credits
Professor Alan Price


Assignment #1 - Create a script that generates a new scene - with animation and/or a second script that automates the task of animating in some way.

In the Script Editor, save your script(s) to an external file ("your_user_name_project1.mel") and put a copy in the "project_1" directory in our class workspace.

This is a simple exercise to help get accustomed to finding MEL commands in the script editor's history window and building up a sequence of commands to acheive a final result.

As you create objects and use tools in the maya interface, experiment with the resulting commands and procedures printed in the script window. Refer often to the on-line command reference to see how arguments can be used, and to discover related commands.

Create a script that will build a scene. Possible aproaches:

  • A creation of a simple hierarchical model, but with attributes changed for streamlining the animation process, e.g. the robot arm example in class.
  • An element of a potentially larger scene that needs repetitive creation, perhaps later with randomization of shapes and materials, e.g. buildings in a city.
  • A demonstration of how to build a particular model or use modeling tools.
  • A simple scene in which the script also applies keyframe animation, perhaps setting the playback options.

If appropriate to your script, create a second script that automates the task of animating elements in your scene. This is a good candidate for a shelf button!

Consider modest use of the "pause" command in your script. We will run each script in class and, depending upon your creation, an occasional pause and refresh may help emphasize steps in your script, or add to the narrative drama!

To use a pause, remember to use "refresh" first, so that the view will update:

// refresh view and pause before continuing
pause -sec 3;

Important: As you work on this exercise, make notes for questions that you may run into along the way. Have these questions ready for discussion in class.