Topics by tag:
Recently published articles by Dave G:
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.
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.
If you use a text editor like TextMate, BBEdit or even Chrome in OS X, you get full support for Automator’s text replacement features but some applications don’t use the Cocoa classes for their text boxes so they don’t get access to these. Nevertheless, there is a good workaround for these cases when you want to filter text in one of these Automator-unaware applications: send the clipboard to your Automator script and send the output back to the clipboard. As I mentioned in my recent Ars Technica article, OS X has a ton of command line applications to bridge the GUI and cl (open, say, etc) and they have two built-ins for clipboard manipulation – “pbcopy” and “pbpaste” – which can be used to send text to the clipboard (pbcopy) or echo the clipboard into stdout (pbpaste). So, if I want to take some attribute text from the Maya Script Editor and turn it into a variable, it’s easily done by using this clipboard buffer setup in an Automator service:
See it in action:
That service can be bound to a hotkey in the Keyboard panel of the System Preferences for extra speediness.
If you want to run another instance of any program on OS X, you have to do it from the terminal with the “open -n” command. I have an alias in .bashrc that will do this for Maya 2014:
alias 2014=’open -n /Applications/Autodesk/maya2014/Maya.app’
So, when I type “2014” in the terminal, it opens another instance if Maya is already running. But, since I tend to run both older versions on occasion alongside betas, I thought I’d make something a little more flexible with an input launch whatever version. So I made an Automator service to launch another instance with a prompt for the version you want to launch:
Download the Automator Service here. If you want to change the default version in the text input field, just open it in Automator and change it yourself. Future proof.
I wrote a piece for Ars Technica about how to build the ultimate creative user-oriented OS by taking parts from all the big dogs of the OS world. Check it out.
Just got my invite to the Mac Mari beta and excited to be running this app – on even my 17” MacBook Pro:
Can’t wait to get it running on new Mac Pro.
I just spent the last half hour trying to find a conflict with V-Ray Tuner and someone else’s MEL script for Maya. As soon as I opened theirs, it reminded me of the main thing you should do when learning to script: avoid common words for global variables. If you open open script that relies on $text as a global variable and open another that uses the same global variable, they are both going to break. This script I looked at was peppered with global variables with cosmically stupid names like $text, $parent, $node and $p. I’m embarrassed to say that I had $obj as a global variable in V-Ray Tuner, so I’ll need to change that since it’s a common one.
If you’re on OS X or Linux and want to see all your global variables in a script file, this command will show you them:
cat /path/to/MELfile.mel | grep global | grep -o -i '\$[A-Z]*' | sort | uniq
That will spit out something like this:
I’m increasingly trying to get into the habit of appending some two-character nonsense onto the end of dumbly-named global variables so, instead of $node, it’s $nodeYo, which is much less likely to exist elsewhere because no one else codes in Jive talk.
Can you dig it, home?
I am just moving my work to a new Lacie 2big Thunderbolt enclosure and wanted to save myself annoying task of migrating all my existing work to link to the new disk in place of my old one. There are nice utilities like FileTextureManager for Maya and Nuke has a find/replace that do this on a per-scene basis but this seemed slow since I would be doing the exact same replacement for all future files.
So I made an Automator workflow that reads plain text files and substitutes my “dullard/WORK_mbp” path in the file with “lackey/WORK” and then creates a new file next to the old one so nothing is clobbered. Since Maya ASCII and Nuke files are plain text, the script can use the Unix utils awk and sed as if it were just working on a big (and quite boring) essay.
See it in action:
Grab the Automator workflow here. Obviously, you’ll need to edit the workflow in Automator to substitute your paths instead of mine:
The text between the % are the find and replace terms. The script doesn’t overwrite any files but just for the sake of legalese, it comes with no guarantees.
So, I have this shell script “hammeroutimages” that sends an image to Nuke for batch processing with all my .cube LUTs for a quick image treatment gallery and I have been wanting to make it an Automator action. But then I thought “I have all these one-off shell things that I do on files—why not just make the command itself a variable with input?” So I found out how to do that with a combination of existing Automator know-how with this handy tip, which shows how to pass multiple variables to an Automator workflow for use in a shell script. And I made this bad boy:
What does it do? Anything you throw at it, actually:
If you want an explanation of how it works, read the linked post above. Basically, it takes your text input and assigns it to variable $1 (this is the command) and variable $2 is your file so it sends those to echo and makes a shell script that the Terminal then opens it in Terminal.app. I could have it do it sans file but I like to see the output for some commands in a window.
Open the Automator file and change the default command to something you do often and you’ll also probably want to change the script file path to something other than your desktop.
You could probably edit the Automator workflow to use selected text as an input so that you could use something like awk in your text or HTML editor. That might get a little hairy with encapsulation of stuff though, so I’m not positive how well it would work for deep text scripting. Anyway, I hope you get some use out of it.
Just a note that yesterday I penned a piece for Ars Technica looking at the contentious new Mac Pro design:
I’ll be writing a full review when the machine ships, which should be around September/October.
3 notes | Permalink