Python in 3ds Max – FINALLY POSSIBLE!

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,opinions,Python,software,technical | Sunday, October 25th, 2009

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Yes! Once again, Blur studio showed how it’s supposed to be done.

They’ve released, or allowed their Eric Hulser to release, an updated version of their blurPython modules for 32bit and 64bit 3ds Max versions from Max 9 all the way up to 2009! And not only that. They’ve also provided libs and modules for tying up Python, 3ds Max and Qt together! This is massive news as I’ve been trying to get Python (concretely IronPython) work in 3ds Max but I’ve been constantly hitting road blocks until I finally bumped into Blur’s updated blurPython.

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MAXScript Pro Editor’s automatic indentation drove me nuts!

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,technical | Saturday, August 16th, 2008

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I’ve gotten sick of the defaultly setup auto-indentation in MAXScript Pro Editor as I’m too used to the old-school MAXScript editor found in Max prior to 3ds Max 2008. Thankfully, since somebody at Autodesk had the brightest idea of implementing a very well-known and well-used Scintilla based text editor, we’re allowed to tweak and change any of the editor’s settings to our liking!

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Checksums in 3ds Max

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,Python,technical | Sunday, August 10th, 2008

After reading a very interesting and helpful article about checksums and how practical they are for comparing large datasets over at Adam Pletcher’s Tech Art Tiki blog, I was immediately interested in such methods as I’m doing some R&D on data management in a larger creative environment and need such a feature. Unfortunately, MAXScript natively doesn’t support MD5 hashes (or any other kinds of hashes), so you’re pretty much stuck with just a few options.

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Connecting to a MySQL database from CG applications.

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,Maya,Python,technical | Saturday, August 9th, 2008

I’ve been recently doing some R&D on MySQL databases and connection through Python in Maya as well as Python in Max (through blurPython library), but I couldn’t seem to have found a way to connect to a MySQL database via ODBC. The problem lied in OLE methods as they’re not both much documented in MAXScript reference and they’re tied to the operating system, not Max directly. But thankfully, I bumped into a solution today, out of a blue :)

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Dividing matrices is possible and quite useful.

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,technical | Saturday, July 12th, 2008

I was trying to solve a problem when I had an object (a point helper) in a scene that was part of a hierarchy (in a rig) but I wanted the object to transform in a different object’s space than was its parent! Essentially, this means transforming objects in “AUX” pivots’ space (if you know MotionBuilder, you know where I’m going with this).

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Intermediate wheel rig.

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,technical | Thursday, June 26th, 2008

A friend of mine asked me how I’d go about rigging a wheel so that it spins no matter which direction it travels and stick to a ground as well. At first I thought this’d be a piece of cake as all I really needed was a direction vector and its magnitude to add to the rotation of the wheel. Well, the solution turned out NOT to be that simple in the end.

(the video lags a bit, but the entire rig is actually faster than real-time)

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3D procedural textures are actually 3D!

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,technical | Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Have you ever thought that you actually can display a 3D procedural (such as Noise, Cellular etc…) in the 3D space? No? Well, then know that it is possible and it’s nothing difficult. Well, the most difficult part will be what should actually represent the color values. The representation is up to you, but for my experiment, I chose simple point helpers (nulls) of a very small size so that they looked almost like points (vertices would have done as well).

Take a look at this short video capturing the result of modeling a noise procedural:

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The transformation matrix is very useful, when understood.

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,Maya,technical | Monday, June 2nd, 2008

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The matrix in a 3D space has nothing to do with Neo’s hassle with sentinels, no, instead these are extremely useful and helpful vector arrays that make up a position, rotation and a scale of any object in your scene. Recently I’ve been re-inventing the wheel when I needed to write a system that’d allow me to instantly and without any user input transfer objects from Max to Maya and XSI. The reason for matrices in this case lies in the convenience of the whole matrix storing the object’s entire transformation information, which is, essentially, all that you need in order to accurately describe object’s exact position, rotation and scale in a 3D space.

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Scripting in Maya through Python? Get used to a lot of string operations.

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,Maya,Python,technical | Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

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I find myself scripting in Maya more and more often. As I’ve expressed many times already, I really love and appretiate Python’s way of dealing with things, so having this language available in Maya is a blessing. The most beautiful part is when software actually does all the hard and annoying work for you ;) Scripting in Maya using Python hadn’t been designed the way it should be. Unfortunately, Python only serves as a “wrapper” around MEL commands and MEL architecture. Fortunately there are attempts at simplifying Python scripting in Maya, such as PyMEL from Luma Pictures (which is a studio I feel honored to cooperate with on The Nutcracker: The Untold Story), which is a fantastic “plug-in” for any Maya TD! which was, not surprisingly, done solely through Python itself :) A fantastic demonstration of Python’s power. However, PyMEL isn’t the topic for this short post, maybe later, when I get more familiar with it and gain more experience using it.

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Serious technical limitations of proprietary languages.

loocas | 3ds Max,maxscript,Maya,opinions,Python,software,technical | Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

The more time you spend developing some more complex tools and code, the more you start appretiating all the open-source tools and add-ons you can get. Thankfully, Max and its MAXScript language is very widely used throughout the CG community, so, some times you don’t even have to start developing your own tools from scratch, you can get either the whole package from sites like ScriptSpot or at least build your tools up on somebody else’s script. However, there are certain limitations that even a huge community, such as the one Max has, won’t be of much help.

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