A few people have asked me if there is a way to use my uv layout script, djPFXUVs, on a paint FX mesh that is animating. The answer is "yes". Keep reading if you are interested in knowing how...
While browsing the interwebs recently, I noticed that for $20, you can buy something called "universal uv randomization script" on creativecash. Seeing this made me realize I should give my scripts way cooler names from now on. So get in quick and grab a copy of djPFXUVs, while it's still free. Soon it will be simply called "XP€N$IV $H1T".
A while back I posted a script called djPFXUVs that could be used to quickly re-layout uv's for paintFX leafs to help with the task of building and assigning more interesting textures. Today I thought I'd share an updated version of that script, which as you can see here, even has a UI.
I've updated the downloads page to include maya 2013 versions of the following:
spReticle plugin by Sony Pictures that gives you the ability to add customizable viewport overlays like gate masks and safe guides and much more.
showEditor.mel modification to enable the notes tab to be toggled on and off
hyperShadePanel.mel modification to enable thumbnail updates to be toggled on and off, and to fix a bug where the create tab sometimes covers most of the window.
I've recompiled the poseDeformer and poseReader for maya 2013-x64 (windows). I've only tested it very briefly. Let me know if you discover problems.
If you are looking for other flavors, then keep checking back. Usually someone ends up sending me their compiles and if they do I'll add it to the download and leave a note here.
25 May 2013: 2013-x32 (windows) compile added, thanks to Scott Englert
A while back I did a mod for the hypershade window to add a button for toggling the updating of the thumbnails. Turning off updates can improve performance when you are modifying complex shader networks. I've just added a version for maya 2012. The hyperShadePanel.rar on the downloads page now contains 2 new hyperShadePanel.mel versions - for 2011 & 2012 mel script (put the one you need in your local scripts folder) and 2 new bitmaps in the png format (put both of these in your local icons folder).
update: added 2011 version to the rar file, as well as fixing a small autodesk created bug in the 2012 version where the width of the create tab always took up half the window when first opened (bug fix thanks to Ingo Clemens). If you downloaded in the last last 24 hours you may want to get this update.
update 2: Added improved thumbnailUpdatesGreyed.png icon for the button disabled state - created by Mike Smith-Kennard (thanks MSK)
update: added 2013 version
Maya 2012 came with a nice looking dynamics plugin called physX and it creates a shelf when it loads.
However I don't like the way this becomes the active shelf every time I start maya. I suppose I could unload the plugin, but then I'll have to reload it every time I need it. Fortunately physX uses mel scripts to initialize the plugin and create the shelf, so I modified one called physxUI.mel and added some code to re-select the shelf that was active before physX loaded.
If you are fussy about your active shelf and want to give the mod a try get physxUI.mel from my downloads page and drop it in your local scripts folder.
update: I tried this fix on another computer and it did not work. I'm not sure if I got lucky with the first one or unlucky with the 2nd. I think that success or failure has something to do with the order that maya does things at startup. Based on that theory. I've changed my modification slightly, so you'll need to download it again. And there is now an extra requirement: In addition to dropping the new physxUI.mel mod into your local scripts folder, you must also add the following line to your userSetup.mel
source physxUI.mel; storePreviousShelf();
This is now working on every computer I've tested it on. Yes. Both of them!
The attribute editor in Maya 2012 keeps expanding the Notes roll-out. I'd never noticed this being quite so annoying in previous versions. I'm pretty sure that previously, once I closed it by dragging the divider bar to the bottom of the window, it stayed like that until I pulled it up again. Now, in maya 2012 it seems to jump up again as soon as I deselect anything. Most of the time this is a waste of space for me.
Fortunately I recently read a simple solution posted on cgtalk by ginodauri. To hide the notes roll-out you can use the following mel command
layout -e -vis 0 AEaddOrEditNotesLayout;
To make this even easier I thought it would be good to add a menu item to the List menu in the attribute editor.
So you can turn it on and off and maya remembers your last choice between sessions.
This functionality is added by modifying a copy of one of the maya installation files called showEditor.mel which can be placed in your local scripts folder to avoid messing up the maya install. You can get the mod for maya 2012 from my downloads page.
update: added 2013 version
Update 2012-07-28: The script has been updated with new features, which include a user interface replacing the command-line stuff. The leaf layout details explained here are still relevant and correct, except for the command to run the script. The new command can be found at the end of the new post.
There is a long, long thread on cgTalk called "Forests in maya mental ray". The discussion is all about techniques for creating and rendering the vast numbers of polygons needed to make convincing grass and trees in large numbers.
Maya's paintFX can be used to make trees which can be converted to polygons with leaves that consist of just a few polys per leaf. Texture maps (color, opacity, bump etc) are then applied. The default output from the paintFX conversion has each leaf mapped to fill the standard uv quadrant, so each leaf gets a copy of the texture. This can look pretty good, but the repetition is usually very obvious. You could break the leaf mesh into a few parts and assign variations of the leaf textures to each part. But a more efficient way is to layout the uv's so that groups of leaves are mapped to different parts of the uv quadrant in a 4x4 tiled patternfor example. Then you can make a texture map with leaf variations arranged in the same 4x4 tile pattern. Now you can have 16 different looking leaves on the tree, almost as easily as you can have one.
Default paintFX conversion gives you this
But what you really want is something like this 4x4 tile pattern (or maybe 2x2 or 3x3)
The problem is that you might have 50,000 leaves on your tree. It would be very difficult to select and edit the uv's for different leaves by hand. This is something that needs to be automated (more...)