Table of Contents

the mel companion: maya scripting for 3d artists
The MEL Companion: Maya Scripting for 3D Artists
by David Stripinis   ISBN:1584502754
Charles River Media © 2003 (468 pages)

Use this guide to learn the syntax, vocabulary and structure of The Maya Embedded Language (MEL), as well as expressions, primitive objects, lighting and rendering, tool creation, interface customization, and reading and writing files in and out of Maya.

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Table of Contents
The MEL Companion Maya Scripting for 3D Artists
Chapter 1 - An Introduction to the Maya Embedded Language
Part I - The Maya Embedded Language
Chapter 2 - A Primer on Mathematics
Chapter 3 - MEL Basics
Chapter 4 - An Introduction to Programming Concepts
Chapter 5 - The Script File
Part II - Working with MEL
Chapter 6 - Geometry
Chapter 7 - Animation
Chapter 8 - Expressions
Chapter 9 - Lighting and Rendering
Chapter 10 - Creating Tools in Maya
Chapter 11 - Customizing the Maya Interface
Chapter 12 - File Handling in MEL
Chapter 13 - Your Journey Begins Here: A Final Word on MEL
Appendix A - About the CD-ROM
Appendix B - Web Resources
List of Figures
List of Tables
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Back Cover

The Maya Embedded Language, or MEL, is the very foundation of the Maya application: it s what makes it so powerful. And, if you know MEL, you can make Maya work more efficiently for your own projects. Whether customizing the workspace, modifying the tools that already exist, or creating new tools, an artist versed in MEL is ready to exploit the true power of Maya. The problem is that MEL can be very intimidating to artists and other non-programmers. To an artist, MEL represents a whole other world filled with words like variable, conditional statements, and vector cross-product. Like any other programming language, MEL has its own vocabulary and rules of grammar. To master it, you simply need to learn the rules: you don t have to become a programmer. The MEL Companion helps artists do this.

In the first part of the book, you ll learn about the syntax, vocabulary, and structure of MEL ”its grammar. You ll learn some basic math concepts, such as types of numbers and simple math equations, and at the end of part one you ll explore concepts for building and constructing programs. The second part covers the construction of scripts that detail some of the ways you can use MEL. You ll learn about expressions, primitive objects, lighting and rendering, tool creation, interface customization, and reading and writing files in and out of Maya.

The MEL Companion was written by an artist for artists. To get the most out of this book, you should have a fundamental knowledge of working in 3D and the Maya program. In addition, although you might not have an extensive knowledge and understanding of mathematics, you should have some willingness to learn the basics of working with numbers. Other than that, everything else is explained in language that is hopefully as clear as it is entertaining.

About the Author

David Stripinis is currently a Technical Animator at Sony Pictures Imageworks, a division of Sony Pictures, in Culver City, CA. He spent the previous six years working on a variety of television, film, and video game projects including Star Wars: Rogue Leader and Indiana Jones . He has also been a Maya user since its inception, and is often called upon as a guest lecturer and teacher for such organizations as SIGGRAPH, the IGDA, and the Game Developer s Conference.