Posts filed under 'MEL'

Multi-Chain IK… How did I miss this?

If you’re a rigger like me, you’ve probably over-looked this much-needed IK option for many years. “Multi-Chain IK”.  I’m starting to wonder what I can do with it. I like tentacles a lot. so here’s “Multi-Chain IK”:
multi chain IK
It doesn’t appear in the IK Handle tool and barely appears at all in the documentation. To have it as an option in the IK Handle tool you have to enter this code into the script editor:
createNode ikMCsolver;
then you’ll see “ikMCsolver1″ pop up in the IK Solvers option. With this, you can FK animate a series of joints in the chain AND an IK handle at the same time and blend them so you can have a tentacle wrap around something. I’m going to do some tests. Where the hell has this been? Why don’t people use this? There’s got to be a reason***. Must investigate.

***UPDATE: I spoke with a guy named Marcel at Autodesk. He says, “in a nutshell, avoid using this IK solver.” He says this is a hold over from the Power Animator days and that it’s a “true 3D” solver. as such is unpredicable where the rotation of your middle joints will end up. Conversely, RP and SK IK solvers occur on a plane so they’re really 2D solvers and that makes them faster and predictable. With RP IK, you get to control the solving plane with the pole vector/twist control. In, SC IK the plane is an assumed one.

June 26th, 2007

New Maya books, nCloth, and Python

I finally finished tech-editing “Maya Visual Effects: The Innovator’s Guide” by Eric Keller, and “Mastering Maya 8” by various authors.

I think Eric’s guide is really good and will be a staple VFX book. The Mastering Maya guide has a few great chapters especially one on nCloth, the new cloth in Maya. I got to play with nCloth a lot. My 64-bit machine handled it no problem. nCloth is really just a soft body with springs. However the new spring solver for nCloth doesn’t stretch as far as normal springs and you can manage the bend falloff and damping so the cloth can go from thick to thin-acting in just a few seconds. It’s really nice.  Some really cool cloth constraints too called nConstraints. Anyway wait till the book comes out.

in Maya 8.5, Python support has been added. I haven’t had much time to tinker with this yet, but it’s a good idea to have Python directly in Maya. I’m going to start playing with it tonight.

January 28th, 2007

RIGonometry with the Law of Cosines

I was trying to add a visual indicator to Thuriot’s templateLE script (because I don’t love lining up the locators in the viewport).  Anyway…. I found that a  flattened nurbs sphere has the right look and its sweep angle in the creation node could be driven by just finding the angle of the joint — COOL!

Uncool. I couldn’t find the actual angle between any of the joints in any node! I could simply use vector2Rotate.mel, but I wanted it to be driven by nodes so it updates quickly. I might be schooled here later with a simpler way to find the angle…

BUT I do know the Law of Cosines!
 and the lengths of 3 sides of a triangle.
The only problem was that I needed to use the acosd command in the last part of the equation, and there are no trig nodes, so I had to resort to an expression at the end of my utility network.
If you know of any TRIG utility nodes, I’d love to use them.

October 27th, 2006

Ribbon IK GUI version 2

Okay. So my Ribbon IK experimental GUI sometimes has port conflicts on various computers. I can get it to work on 2 of my 3 computers.

The one it doesn’t work on has some software I’m using occupying that port I guess. I could spend weeks making a version that doesn’t have this problem, but I got to get ready for job-hunting at SIGGRAPH. So… I’m posting the MEL for creating Ribbon IK so people can use it if the GUI doesn’t work.

I’ve added a scale control for the controllers. Incase you have a GIANT character or an eensy character you won’t have to get a headache trying to resize the controllers to fit the rig.


1 comment July 12th, 2006


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