MotionBuilder 2014 for download is missing from MotionBuilders 2014 instalation. It provides contextual help in MotionBuilders Python editor and allows for pyfbsdk code introspection/completion with external IDE’s – like Wing or my personal favorite PyCharm. Autodesk were kind enough to provide it and to let me re-distrubute it

I had some trouble uploading a .py/.txt file – so I just pasted the whole thing over at tech artists org:

Friday, January 3rd, 2014 Main No Comments

MotionBuilder 2014 Take Swap save bug Fix

MotionBuilder 2014 has a save bug where the index of takes (FBX anim stacks) will swap around on save. At work our game animation export setup relies on the index of the takes and all that breaks once someone presses save.. Not great :-)

Extension/service pack time has come and gone for the other 2014 media and entertainment products. So I think it’s fair to assume that nothing is coming for MotionBuilder and that we are on our own, in dealing with this (unless our Subscription level covers us).

As it turns out, the fix is really straightforward – once you find it. Simply make sure you create a take before you save. Meaning, after opening a scene with multiple takes in it, if you save before creating a new take, you will get the bug. If you create a new take prior to saving, you’ll be fine. You can even delete it, before you save. Obviously we cannot be counted on to remember to do this rather awkward procedure, so here is how to make it happen automatically.

## Define take fix and add/remove pre-save callback methods somewhere ##
def prevent_take_save_bug():
    print 'Take fix is running...'
    new_take = FBTake("Take_Save_Bug_Temp_Take")
def onFileSave(control, event):
    """Run this function every time a scene is saved"""
def fileSaveRegister():
    """Register file pre-save events"""
def fileSaveUnregister(control=None, event=None):
    """Unregister file pre-save events"""
## Add the callback, most likely on MotionBuilder startup ##
Monday, September 30th, 2013 Main No Comments

UPDATED: Project relative paths for external file references

If you work with multiple branches, you might be experiencing issues with Mayas preference for resolving Absolut paths before Relative ones for external file references (textures, audio, other Maya files, etc).

If I create a Maya scene in “Branch_A”, integrate that into “Branch_B” and then open the file, Maya will resolve all external file references to their absolute path if possible. This means that all my external file references will point to files in “Branch_A”, even though I’m opening the file in “Branch_B”. Only if Maya can’t resolve the absolute paths, it will try to resolve relative to the current Maya project/workspace.

I wanted to find an easy way to make the file paths relative without:
• Creating custom tools for the creating of each external file reference type
• Adding callbacks to handle when each external file reference type was created
• Updating the file path’s with the Maya scene loaded (this would cause Maya to reload them)

Doing a text search and replace within the Maya file (.ma), post save/export, seemed like the simplest idea. I tried it out and it turned out to be easy to do and very fast performing. So here is some of the code involved:

Code that replaces path in the last saved scene:

 import re
import paths

def make_file_references_relative(path):
    Make external file references project relative, in the last saved file

    The Maya file has to be an ASCII file and the external file
    references have to be within the current Maya project/workspace.

    D:/P4/My_Project/dev/sprint_tech//Construction/texture.tga -> Construction/texture.tga

    if path:
        # Here we must check that the file is type ascii
        if path.lower().endswith(".ma"):
                f = open(path, "r")
                text =
                text = remove_old_project_paths(text)
                text = remove_project_path(text)
                print "make_file_references_relative: Failed to replace paths in file!"
                f = open(path, "w")

def remove_old_project_paths(text):
    Remove all valid project paths in input text. Also change Maya .mb type file references to .ma type
    removeDict = dict()

    # Remove old project paths (not current
    pattern = re.compile('"[^"]*"')
    for m in re.finditer(pattern, text):
        for token in ['/Construction/', '/Assembly/', '"Construction/', '"Assembly/']:
                tokenIndex =
                replaceString = '"' +[tokenIndex+1:].replace('.mb', '.ma').replace('.Mb', '.ma').replace('.MB', '.ma')
                if not removeDict.has_key(
                    removeDict[str(] = replaceString

    for key in removeDict.iterkeys():
        text = text.replace(key, removeDict[key])

    return text

def remove_project_path(text):
    Return current project path from input text.

    # Remove current project project
    projectPath = paths.project()
    removeString = '//'.join((projectPath.replace("\\", "/"), ""))
    text = text.replace(removeString, "")

    return text

Adding callbacks, for this to happen automatically. I’m using the API, since I could not get scriptNode/Job to happen both on save and export:

 import maya.OpenMaya as OpenMaya
import repath

userCallbacks = []

class _Singleton(type):
    _instances = {}
    def __call__(cls, *args, **kwargs):
        if cls not in cls._instances:
            cls._instances[cls] = super(_Singleton, cls).__call__(*args, **kwargs)
        return cls._instances[cls]

class Callback:
    __metaclass__ = _Singleton   
    def __init__(self):
        self.idList = []
    def add(self):
            if self not in userCallbacks:
    def remove(self):
        for _id in self.idList:
class Save_Relative_Callback(Callback):
    def __init__(self):
    def create_callbacks(self):
            self.idList.append(OpenMaya.MSceneMessage.addCallback(OpenMaya.MSceneMessage.kAfterSave, make_file_references_relative_save))
            self.idList.append(OpenMaya.MSceneMessage.addCallback(OpenMaya.MSceneMessage.kAfterExport, make_file_references_relative_export))
            print "Failed to create callback"
class Last_Save_Callback(Callback):
    lastSave = None
    lastExport = None
    def __init__(self):
    def create_callbacks(self):
            self.idList.append(OpenMaya.MSceneMessage.addCallback(OpenMaya.MSceneMessage.kBeforeSave, store_last_save))
            self.idList.append(OpenMaya.MSceneMessage.addCallback(OpenMaya.MSceneMessage.kBeforeExport, store_last_export))
            print "Failed to create callback"
def make_file_references_relative_save(*args):
    if Last_Save_Callback.lastSave:
def make_file_references_relative_export(*args):
    if Last_Save_Callback.lastExport:

def store_last_save(*args):
    Last_Save_Callback.lastSave = OpenMaya.MFileIO_beforeSaveFilename()

def store_last_export(*args):
    Last_Save_Callback.lastExport = OpenMaya.MFileIO_beforeExportFilename()

def add(callback):

Adding the callback in a Maya start up script:

 import callback

I opted to just store the project relative part of the file path. I tried using a environment variable (E.G. %MY_CURRENT_PROJECT%something/ While this worked great, it does not play nice with 3dsMax or MotionBuilder (who both seem oblivious to the idea of using environment variables in paths), when scenes are FBX’ed across. Using the project relative bit works better.

Of course if your pipeline is setup so that your current project/branch is in a folder that you have mounted to a consistent drive letter (with something like SUBST), you might not have these issues in the first place.

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Sunday, April 7th, 2013 Main 1 Comment

Speed: Maya API vs. CMDS vs. PyMel

If you have to deal with attributes on a large set of objects, learning a little API or at least avoiding PyMel, might be worth a try. Here are some test results and the code run to acquire them:

Searching 44.000 transforms, to see it they have a specific custom attr (where every fourth node has it..)

With API:
Time Taken: 0.839416478551

With CMDS:
Time Taken: 14.0579282427

With PyMel:
Time Taken: 26.2123000353

import maya.OpenMaya as OpenMaya

import maya.cmds as mc
import pymel.core as pm
import time

customAttr = "MyTag"

class Timer():
    def __init__(self):
        self.start = None
    def __enter__(self):
        self.start = time.clock()
    def __exit__(self, type, value, traceback):
        print 'Time Taken: {0}'.format(time.clock() - self.start)

print "\nSearching 44.000 transforms, to see it they have a specific custom attr (where every third node has it..)"

print "\nWith API:"
with Timer():
    dagIt = OpenMaya.MItDag(OpenMaya.MItDag.kDepthFirst, OpenMaya.MFn.kTransform)
    nodesWithAttrAPI = list()
    while not dagIt.isDone():
    	depNode = OpenMaya.MFnDagNode(dagIt.currentItem())
    	depNodeAttr = depNode.hasAttribute(customAttr)
    	if depNodeAttr:
    	    path = OpenMaya.MDagPath()

print "\nWith CMDS:"
with Timer():
    nodesWithAttrCMDS = list()
    for transform in"transform"):
        if mc.attributeQuery(customAttr, node=transform, exists=True):
print "\nWith PyMel:"
with Timer():
    nodesWithAttrPyMel = list()
    for transform in"transform"):
        if pm.attributeQuery(customAttr, node=transform, exists=True):

Tags: , , , ,

Sunday, January 27th, 2013 Main No Comments

Hitman Absolution E3 demo gameplay

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 Main No Comments

Rigging System sandbox

Created a tiddlywiki to have a place to have some process about how to create a rigging system, very much from a code/system development perspective I think – but let’s see where it goes.  It’s really just intended for myself and is not a professional display, so it will be unsensored and full of “late nights in the couch at the laptop” spelling errors and giberish. This blog and that little project might merge at some point though, time will tell..

Friday, May 7th, 2010 Main 1 Comment

UK Living

So I’ve made the Big Plunge and moved over to the UK. I’ve recently started work as a Senior Technical Character Artist at EA, the studio behind the Harry Potter games series. Very exciting stuff.

I have a pretty central position here that’s very character oriented, so that suits me just fine. At this point I’m quite looking forward to going full circle on a product, that is pretty sure to get to market, as I’ve my share of projects canceled at the end of pre-production. So all in all I’m a happy camper :-)

I’m pretty busy and a bit overwhelmed, being in a new country and all, but hopyfully I will get a chance to post some odds and ends, regardless.



Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 Main 3 Comments

Code Snippet: Setting a matrix attribute with maya.cmds

Seems you just can’t do it.. So use mel,PyMel or maya.OpenMaya!

However if can’t or won’t do neither, you can use this tiny procedure that will do it for you (using maya.mel):

# The proc
import maya.cmds as mc
import maya.mel as mel

def setMatrixAttr(obj, attr, matrixList):
    matrixString = ''
    for element in matrixList:
        matrixString = matrixString + str(element) + ''
    mel.eval("setAttr -type \"matrix\" " + obj + "." + attr + matrixString)

# Example of usage
matrix = mc.getAttr(’LeftLeg.worldInverseMatrix’)
setMatrixAttr('skinCluster51', 'bindPreMatrix[103]', matrix)
Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 Main 2 Comments

New Showreel!

Hi Gang,

I’ve setup a presentations page with my new Showreel, resume and so on:

My new Rigging Reel

My new Rigging Reel

Do Check it out.. You know you want to! :-)

Sunday, July 19th, 2009 Main No Comments

Awesome book for the “Coding TD”

Just wanted to plug an excellent book I’m… Wait! Not even done reading?? That’s right, it’s that good – for me at least.

You know I often feel like I’m “hacking my way” thorugh some of the more computery, code and math related sides to being a character TD, wishing I could dedicate a whole decade to just getting to the bottom of some topic. And I see a lot of people around me “hacking their way” as well. Of course we all have different backgrounds and holes in them too. Alas, so little time so much to learn :-)

While I have read my share of books on the topic of coding, MEL, Python, Object Oriented Design etc. and those books have taught me a lot, a “certified” coder from my last gig recommended “Code Complete 2″. It’s about the discipline of “Code Construction” and is language independent. This book is om some respects a real eye opener and tells basic stuff you know you really need to understand, but in a way that makes you wonder – “why you didn’t figure that out by yourself already”. Another thing is this if you have several people working on the same code base this book can serve as a common guide or at least common point of reference, to figure out how you want to work.

Of course it might not be your cup of tea.. or I might just have exposed myself as an insane coding noob :-o I have only read half of this book, but for me I feel wiser and more prepared! Check it out

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 Main No Comments