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So, after a discussion on CGSociety about a viewport lag that was introduced in Maya for OS X after version 2011, it seems that the culprit is the Help Line. Until this bug is fixed, you can give Maya 2012 and later a slight bump in FPS on OS X by hiding the Help Line. Now someone needs to find out how to fix the f, [ and ] hotkeys that stop working – that plagues all platforms and it’s super annoying.
Update: fix for Maya 2014 released: grab it here.
Just a small warning about OS X Mavericks that should hopefully prevent some unwelcome headaches for people running Autodesk 3D apps on OS X. I am running Mavericks now and did some testing with the betas and, while all previous versions work fine (2013 included) there is a critical issue with Adlm (the license software) and the 2014 Autodesk products that prevent them from activating. It’s fine if you upgrade an existing OS X install that has the programs already activated but it will fail to activate new licenses for Maya 2014 or Mudbox 2014, etc. This has to do with how the FLEX license manager does weird stuff to try and hide licenses from your OS in a partition, from what I understand. It’s a hack to allow demos that time out. Autodesk knows about it and is releasing a fix any day now – I’ll update this post when it’s released.
Otherwise, I would say that, if you are fine with your system now, you might want to wait a few weeks because there are a lot of changes to OpenGL in Mavericks that could affect your system or apps. You get a warning that the Adobe Creative Cloud software isn’t supported yet but Photoshop CC works fine on my end. Anyway, I need Mavericks for Mari and AMD support on OS X. It’s a solid release and has some amazing tech in it – read here for all full rundown and review. I would just be careful before fixing what isn’t broken until the kinks have been worked out. I know that Mari tessellation preview for AMD cards, for example, is in need of a bug fix that’s coming soon as well. I’ve also heard of one Nvidia user having issues with ZBrush but it works fine for me. But I definitely recommend the upgrade. OpenGL 4.1 is finally included and the upgrade is completely free. If you’re on a mobile machine, the extra battery life is great and pros will benefit from better multi-monitor support, SMB 2.0 inclusion and tag metadata, to name a few things. But, if you want to be extra safe and prevent the new OS’ power saving features from tinkering with your graphics apps, consider turning off App Nap in the program’s Get Info panel:
As I mentioned before, the Library folder for your home directory can now be re-shown in the Get Info panel for the Home folder too. If you have applications like Windownaut that depend on Access for Assistive Devices, that has been moved to the Security and Privacy preference pane:
Anyway, stay tuned for my eventual Xeon E5 V2 Mac Pro 2013 review for Ars Technica. Apple said that machine is coming in December.
Update: If you tried the script and it failed, grab it again because the previous one had a call to a “MergeVerts” function which is just a personal alias to MergeToCenter.
So, after years of having a hard time finding cameras and knowing where they are pointing, I decided to make a script that would give Maya a Nuke-style 3D camera frustum preview that is parented to the camera. It will accurately reflect what is shown in the camera according to it’s FOV/viewing angle. I’m pretty pleased with the result and I had to dig up some old trigonometry that I haven’t done in ages to calculate the face side lengths. Most of my other scripts are just tasks and variables, so to all you proper engineers – fear my grade 7 math!:
Anyway, grab the script here and run “makeFrustum;”, select a camera and go nuts. The only caveats are that it doesn’t work with vertical fitting, only the default horizontal. If you want to delete the frustum, it’s just under the object in the Outliner:
It’s templated, so that’s why it’s orange and it won’t show up in renders. In the future, I may look into making it update live but that would likely involve API stuff and Python.
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Happy Canadian Thanksgiv’ering. Now that I’m full of turkey I’m back to work on another piece with old rock objects which uses a workflow I thought I’d share. Any time you make aged assets, you are pretty sure you’re going to have to sculpt, bevel and smooth them to simulate erosion, breakage and wear. But sculpting them inevitably gets in you into issues with topology – you want to have quadrangles for sculpting but your modelling workflow might have forced you to use a mix of triangles and quads to get your model. I ran into exactly this kind of thing today when I wanted to break and age a Greek-style column. I did the break in Maya with the excellent Fracture FX, which does localized smashing with results that are more convincing than just doing a Voronoi break on the whole mesh:
But the topology generated at the end was very sculpting unfriendly. So I took it into ZBrush and solved two problems at once with the amazing ZRemesher, which has become a staple of my workflow since it’s introduction in version 4R5. If you set the poly count to something high enough to give you detail but low enough to give you smoothing, it will instantly give you a great, slightly smooth base mesh with topology that is perfect for refinement and further smoothing:
Sorry about the wait to complete the remeshing. I’m on my laptop and forgot to edit that out. Anyway, that’s all there is to it. Once you’ve worked it up a little more, it’s aged pretty well in a small amount of time:
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Updated: now supports vertical UDIM tiling and textures from Mudbox.
I’ve been avoiding using multiple UV tiles for a long time since the workflow can be pretty annoying and there is a lot of room for human error but, with the coming of Mari on the Mac, I have been using them finally and developed a script to handle the creation of multi-UDIM tiled textures in Maya:
Grab the script here. The hooking up of the textures is based on this post on CGSociety, where it’s shown how you can completely avoid the layered texture workflow by just daisy-chaining the out colour of one texture into the default colour slot of the next. My script then reads the filename of the texture and guesses its frame offset (U/horizontal only for now) by the number before the file extension – if it’s colordust.1003.tif, then it’s assumed it’s offset by two U tiles. It also disables UV wrapping on the 2D texture nodes. When the connections are done, the top-level texture (that needs to be connected to your shader) is selected. This workflow works with any renderer. I’ve also updated it to support vertical UDIMs:
Important: the script relies on these two standard naming conventions: filename.1031.tif (name, dot, number, dot, extension) for Mari and Material1_Flattened_Diffuse_u2_v1 (name and then tiles appended to end) for Mudbox. These are the defaults so you shouldn’t have any problems but the script won’t work if you change the dots in the Mari name or the underscores in the Mudbox one.
Just a note that renderers like V-Ray and Arnold support UDIM and Mudbox-style tiles – see V-Ray docs here but those only appear at render time. You don’t get a preview in Maya since it doesn’t recognize the filename.UDIM.tif format. Thanks to Roman Lapaev for pointing this out though.
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If you work on character design or with figure sculpting, it’s crucial to have an anatomy reference on hand. The respected anatomy app L’ecorché came out a while ago for iPad and iPhone but yesterday my iPad was in my painting studio and I wanted access to L’ecorché while I sculpted in ZBrush and thought “wouldn’t it be great if they had a desktop version?” So I checked online and was pleasantly surprised to find it exists in Mac OS X application form. So I bought it and here it is with it’s resizable window and even a handy library of bone diagrams:
One of the nice benefits of the popularity of the iPhone and iPad is that it is pretty easy for people port the Cocoa code from those apps to OS X. Usually this just means there are a lot of cheesy Gameloft mobile games available in desktop wrappers, but this is one of those good exceptions. As a program, it makes perfect sense and the OS X version has the ability to float on top of other apps – perfect for sitting over the ZBrush window while you sculpt:
At $5, it’s also an amazing price for the service it provides. Since it’s sold on the Mac App Store, you get a license for all of your Macs, so you can sculpt on the road or on a desktop and only have to pay for it once.
My only complaint about L’ecorché Desktop is that the navigation scheme is not standard so you spend more time getting accustomed the rotation/zoom setup than you should. There should be an option for Maya/Cinema4D/Mari.- or ZBrush-style navigation. Also, the rotation orbit locks on axis a little too easily. If the program’s developers are reading this, I’d like to request a full borderless mode toggle so you can hide all outside interface elements when floating the application over much-needed screen real estate in ZBrush.
Otherwise, if you’re on OS X and do any work with figures or you just want a reference application to complement your dusty copy of Bridgeman’s Life Drawing, look no further. Get this now.
Every time a new Maya version comes out, it seems that ZBrush’s GoZ script gets broken and Pixologic hasn’t released a fix for GoZ and Maya 2014. So I made a sort of GoZ-ish script that isn’t as fully-functional as the Pixologic one – it doesn’t handle creases, for example – but at least it lets you work seamlessly between 2014 and ZBrush again. Grab it here. The script works by saving out an OBJ file to your current projects folder/GoZ folder (it makes this directory for your) and then using the OS to open that file with ZBrush. Fortunately, sending from ZBrush to Maya 2014 works the same as in older versions, so this can be used for round-tripping between the two apps on OS X:
and on Windows:
On Windows, you’ll need to configure OBJ files to open with ZBrush but on the Mac it’s handled by the script so you don’t need to do this—BUT Mac users do need to set the correct version of ZBrush in the script since it’s hard-wired to ZBrush 4R6. I did this because I use GoP, my send-to-Photoshop script and that depends on OBJ ownership. In the future I might make the ZBrush version variables with a dropdown menu or do an auto-detect.
To run the script, install it in your script folder run “GoZ_2014;” – put this command for your shelf for easy access. This is what you will use from now on instead of Pixologic’s GoZ script until they fix it for 2014. But you will likely need this script again when 2015/2016/etc. breaks GoZ yet again, since GoZ actually uses the Maya ASCII format as the go-between. This solution is future proof since OBJ isn’t going anywhere and the spec isn’t going to change.
Important note: ZBrush still sends meshes back to Maya with “Visible in Reflections/Visible in Refractions” off in the mesh shape’s properties. Remember to turn these on for proper rendering. Both my V-Ray Tuner and Facer scripts have this “objFix” script in them but here it is if you want it solo.
Mac users might notice that I’m running the Mavericks GM on my OS X machine. I’ll be doing a “what works and what doesn’t” style post for 3D people looking to upgrade when it launches. And I’ll be doing a full review of the coming Mac Pro for Ars Technica, which ships with Mavericks pre-installed.
I just make a quick MEL script to export all separate selected meshes from Maya to individual OBJs so I could use them for sketches in Meshlab on my iPad. I thought I’d share it. Just change the path “/Users/beige/Desktop/objs/” to a preexisting path on your machine and it will create a numbered sequence of files. Here’s a link to the script.
No need for copy and paste – you can drag and drop script text files right from the desktop to use in the Script Editor within Maya:
Above: grabbing the icon proxy in the OS X menu bar is the same as grabbing the file in the Finder, in case that was confusing to people who didn’t know about that shortcut. You can also drag a .py file into the Python pane. Any plain text file will work, actually.
I was just changing my home folder’s icon settings in the Mavericks beta and stumbled on something that I haven’t seen mentioned in any of the OS X 10.9 coverage: the option to show the ~/Library folder. Open your home folder and then open the Get Info panel and…
Rejoice! Newbs will no longer wreak havoc on their application settings by deleting it and power users will no longer have to use “chflags nohidden ~/Library” every time they install a system update that rehides it.