Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Understanding Recursion

Always remember...

"In order to understand recursion, you must first understand recursion."


Thursday, September 23, 2010

ScriptSwell Milestone - Over 1000 Visitors This Month!

1,135 unique visitors this month! The one thousand mark is a milestone I've been waiting for and to my surprise it went way up and over in the last few days. Apparently people really like knowing how to remove namespaces. :-)

I just wanted to say thanks and give a quick shout out to everyone who has been visiting Script Swell so far this year. I enjoy writing this blog a lot but it's always more motivating to know people are reading it. Thanks for stopping by and I hope Script Swell continues to be a useful resource for you.

continue ;

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MEL: Delete Targets From A Blendshape Node

Cleaning up a blendshape node in Maya can be a nightmare. It makes it really difficult to remove targets from the node and even when you do it leaves ghost indexes that can only be removed if you know what they are. The script below allows you to highlight the targets you want to keep in the Channel Box and remove all of the others. Clean and simple. It does this by building a new blendshape node with only your highlighted targets and reconnecting everything exactly the way it was originally. This includes ordering the input stack in the same order it found them.

Code Can Be Found Here: jgRebuildBlendshapeNode.mel

A smart man (or woman!) might wonder why Maya has such a difficult time simply deleting some blendshapes. A discussion for another day I suppose.

This script utilizes the jgReturnMeshDeformers procedure from yesterday's post. Read about it here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

MEL: List All Deformers On A Mesh

Yesterday while working on another script, I found myself in need of a list of all of the deformers on a piece of geometry. It seemed like a simple enough thing to get. After all, it was listed right there in the history tab. Fast forward an hour later and the only method I had come up with to find the data was not going to work for what I needed. So, I reached out to a couple of friends and posted on Tech-Artists.org and got a really great answer. It's still a bit convoluted and I'm bitter that Maya won't just give it to you easily, but it works and it's a relatively small amount of code.

I had been tinkering with using the listHistory mel command but the problem with this is that it returns ALL of the history on the mesh object and not just the deformers. My issue was then, how do I distinguish the deformers from the rest of the data? Without a list of every possible deformer Maya offers to compare it to, there's no way I could find them all.

Solution? `nodeType -inherited`

This command along with the -inherited flag will "
Return a string array containing the names of each of the base node types inherited by the given object."

Someone pointed out on the forum that all deformers inherit from the "geometryFilter" base node. With this information we can check through each node in the meshes' history and see if it inherits from geometryFilter. With this, we can return a nice, clean list of all the deformers on a mesh object.

// **********************************************************
// Returns All Deformers On A Mesh
global proc string[] jgReturnMeshDeformers (string $mesh) {

// List History
string $history[] = `listHistory $mesh` ;

// Loop And Check If It's A Deformer
string $deformers[] ;
for($node in $history) {
string $types[] = `nodeType -inherited $node`;
if(stringArrayContains("geometryFilter",$types)) {
stringArrayInsertAtIndex(size($deformers),$deformers,$node) ;

return $deformers ;


Download Here: jgReturnMeshDeformers.mel

Another little gem that comes with this method is that it returns them in the current stack order. Bonus!

So far this method is working out very well for my needs. If you find any issues with it or would like to discuss, please leave a comment below.

Tomorrow's post will be about the script I was originally needing this for, which is a procedure to rebuild a blendShape node with only your specified targets. Maya doesn't allow you delete targets from a blendShape node without a hassle, and when it does delete them it leaves empty target indexes and a big mess under the hood. Swing by tomorrow for more about this. Cheers!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

MEL Script: Incremental Save

This mel script will automatically increment your saved scene for you. Simple and sweet, just source the script to either increment your already numbered scene or to add a serial number at the end of a filename without one. Also adds your new file to your Recent Files list in the File menu. I recommend saving it and then calling it with a shelf button for easy access.

Download Here: MEL Script - jgIncrementalSave.mel

// **********************************************************
// Automatically Increments A Saved Maya File
global proc jgIncrementalSave () {

// Scene File Name
string $sceneFile = `file -q -sn` ;

// Get File Extension
string $extension = `fileExtension $sceneFile` ;

// Remove Extension
string $fileNameNoExt ;
if($extension == "mb" || $extension == ".ma") {

// Tokenize Filename
string $buffer[] ;
tokenize $sceneFile "." $buffer ;

// Recompile Scenename Without Extension
for($i = 0; $i < (size($buffer)-1); $i++) { $fileNameNoExt = $fileNameNoExt + $buffer[$i] ; } } else { // Error Check error "Open file isn't .mb or .ma, please save before incrementing." ; } // Extract Name And Current Version Using Regex string $nameWithNoVersion = `match ".*[^0-9]" $fileNameNoExt` ; string $currentVersion = `match "[0-9]+$" $fileNameNoExt` ; // Check For Integer, Add One If None if($currentVersion == "") $currentVersion = "00" ; // Increment Version int $int = $currentVersion ; $int++ ; // Pad Digits If Needed int $beforeCount = size($currentVersion) ; string $incVersion = $int ; int $afterCount = size($incVersion) ; if($beforeCount > $afterCount) {
while($beforeCount > $afterCount) {
$incVersion = ("0"+$incVersion) ;
$afterCount = size($incVersion) ;

// Make New Filename
string $newFileName = ($nameWithNoVersion+$incVersion+"."+$extension) ;

// Save It
file -rename $newFileName ;
file -f -save ;

// Add To Recent File List
if($extension == "mb") catch(`addRecentFile $newFileName "mayaBinary"`) ;
if($extension == "ma") catch(`addRecentFile $newFileName "mayaAscii"`) ;

// Finish
print ("Saved as "+$newFileName+"\n") ;

} jgIncrementalSave ;

As always if you find any bugs, have any questions about the code, or would like to make suggestions please leave a comment below.

Monday, September 13, 2010

MEL Script: Remove All Namespaces

There are already a few posts on ScriptSwell dealing with namespaces in general, but here is a quick and dirty way to just remove all of them from your scene, no questions asked.

// Get All Nodes In Scene
string $allNodes[] = `ls` ;

// Loop Through Them
for($node in $allNodes) {

// Tokenize And Rename
string $buffer[] ;
tokenize $node ":" $buffer ;
string $newName = $buffer[size($buffer)-1] ;
catch(`rename $node $newName`) ;

This uses the tokenize command. For more info, check out this mel tutorial on how to use the tokenize command. Essentially it's looping through every node in your scene, checking if there are colons in the name of it, and renaming the object to what it would be with no namespaces.

The reason I call this dirty is because it has potential to cause naming conflicts in your scene file. In a lot of cases namespaces are there for a reason, so you should make sure it's safe to remove them before doing so. Maya does not support having more than one object with the same name, so if you run this script it may end up changing the names of some of your nodes. Usually this is in the form of adding a number to the end of it. (i.e. hand_CTRL becomes hand_CTRL1). Be sure to save your scene before running this (as you should with any MEL script) and do some testing before you continue forward to make sure everything is working like it should.

  • Every Maya scene file has a list of namespaces that have at one time or another been used in that scene. This script will not remove any from that list.
  • If something is referenced in your scene, this will not be able to remove the namespace properly.
  • You'll see a slew of error messages pass by, this is Maya trying to rename nodes that aren't allowed to be renamed. You can ignore these.

For more reading about namespaces in Maya, check out the following:

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