Some of the tools I’ve been working on to speed up my workflow, all in Python. I work on several different projects so there is no one definitive character setup. As such, my tool set is designed to be more modular and allows me to automate the most frequently used processes as separate functions. These tools are also constantly being polished as I run across things that I need them to do (e.g., FK controls could use an option for what kind of constraint is needed). For maximum flexibility, I’ve set up most of these tools to allow me to use them in the command line (or other scripts). This also lets me create ‘shortcut’ buttons in the UI that have frequently-used parameters already set (shown here at the bottoms of the Rename and Recolor tools.) Some demo videos are in order here, but for now – top to bottom from the left:
- IK/FK arm and leg – Allow me to create the control shapes and adjust them by hand if needed before finalizing the setup. If I don’t need to fine-tune I can just select my options and hit Quick Create to skip the adjustment step.
- FK Controls – Gets used the most. It handles chains or single controls, and can also be used on non-joint objects (so clusters, group nodes, geometry, even other controls that need an extra buffer set up.) It’s dead useful when rigging up a bunch of leaf joints like in a face rig, saves a lot of time.
- Duplicate Skeleton – Also use this tool a lot. I often get rigs that were created in 3DS Max and need to be re-rigged in Maya. The bone setup from Max usually has dirty channels and joint orients, so it’s way easier to just quickly regenerate/reorient the skeleton, duplicate the mesh and copy the skinning over from the original. This way I’m not trying to save weights and break the original so that I can fix the joints.
- Rename – Pretty self-explanatory. I just find the built-in Maya tools for renaming to be fractured and lacking (prefix hierarchy names is a separate tool from search and replace, etc.) This lets me rename hierarchies quickly, as well as add sequence numbering and/or extra text all in one step.
- Recolor – Pretty simple, but makes it much faster to set the drawing overrides on several objects at once, something that is quite tedious if left to do by hand.
Batch Export FBX lets me select which objects to export and then exports those objects from the files I select. I can send the resulting FBX files to a new directory, or have them export to the same location as the source scene. The exporter can bake animations and blow away the rig so that a clean skeleton is all that gets exported. This is all non-destructive since the source files don’t get saved during the export process. It’s also handy to keep open when I need to adjust animations since I can quickly select and open files in the source list.