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MEL Scripting for Maya Animators

Mark R. Wilkins and Chris Kazmier

Supplementary Material, including Scripts, Example Scene Files, and Errata

Praise for MEL Scripting for Maya Animators
About the Book
About the Authors
Table of Contents
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Praise for MEL Scripting for Maya Animators

This book fills a huge void of material on learning the MEL language...  A great first step for Maya users who want to make the leap to becoming Maya technical directors.

Doug Cooper, Digital Supervisor, DreamWorks Feature Animation

MEL Scripting for Maya Animators... is well written for both technical and nontechnical animators.  It is an essential tool in making sophisticated animation not only possible but also practical.

Henry LaBounta, Senior Art Director, Electronic Arts

About the Book

MEL Scripting for Maya Animators is the first comprehensive textbook on Maya expressions and the MEL scripting language written especially for the beginning animator or technical director.

The power of MEL for customizing Maya and automating time-consuming tasks has attracted almost all of the top animation and visual effects studios to Maya as their core tool in producing 3D animation.  Now, you can learn to master that power even if you have little or no programming experience!

MEL Scripting for Maya Animators begins with an introduction to how Maya functions "under the hood," and proceeds through a series of examples to walk through the capabilities of Maya's expressions and MEL scripting.  Next, the book provides an in-depth discussion of the MEL language and how to automate common tasks, and then shows how to build useful graphic user interfaces for your scripts.

Throughout the book's discussion of MEL, MEL Scripting for Maya Animators discusses the strategies that those new to programming must learn to think about programming problems in such a way that solving them becomes easy.  At the same time, the book provides many useful tips and approaches that will be of interest even to those who already have programmed in MEL.

Finally, MEL Scripting for Maya Animators presents a wide range of specific examples of how MEL and expressions can be used in controlling dynamics, rigging characters, and even building a simple system for crowd behavior.

About the Authors

Mark R. Wilkins is a technical director at DreamWorks Feature Animation.  Prior to DreamWorks Animation, he worked at PDI/DreamWorks, where he helped develop a production pipeline for commercials and visual effects production using Maya for effects and character animation.  He has also worked at Walt Disney Feature Animation in a variety of positions including software engineer and scene setup supervisor.  Mark has contributed to a number of feature films, including Minority Report, A.I., Mission: Impossible 2, Dinosaur, Hercules, and the upcoming DreamWorks animated feature Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.  Also, he has worked on a number of television commercial campaigns including spots for Intel, Kool-aid, Monster.com, and Target.  Mark has taught various programming courses, including classes on MEL scripting and Perl programming for animators and technical directors.

Chris Kazmier is an effects animator/technical director at DreamWorks Feature Animation, where he works on effects for traditionally animated films and films completely animated by computer graphics.  Previously, Chris worked at PDI/DreamWorks on the Intel Aliens and Kool-aid ad campaigns, and also worked at Fox Animation Studios as a 3D directing animator on Titan A.E., Bartok the Magnificent, and Anastasia.  Chris has taught various computer graphics courses, including 3D animation for intermediate and advanced students.

Table of Contents

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Errata:  errata@melscripting.com
Mark Wilkins:  mark@melscripting.com
Chris Kazmier:  chris@melscripting.com

melscripting.com © 2002, 2003, Mark R. Wilkins
portions of this material © 2002, 2003, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, used with permission