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View Full Version : Any MEL scripters wanna help the community at large? We need a Maya exporter!!


FloydBishop
10-21-2003, 06:26 PM
There is an NPR renderer called Jot which has an exporter for Blender, Max, and Lightwave, but not Maya.

http://jot.cs.princeton.edu/

David Bourguignon, who is involved with the Jot project, thinks that someone who is familiar enough with MEL scripting should be able to write an exporter for Maya using the exporter for Lightwave as a guide.

Are there any MEL scripting gurus out there that can write such a thing?

Here's the thread in the General Maya section:

http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=902475#post902475

And here's a 64MB AVI showing Jot in action:

http://www.cs.princeton.edu/gfx/proj/wnpr/wnpr_aud_uncmp3.avi



http://www.cs.princeton.edu/gfx/proj/wnpr/pics/thumbs/carp-cup_0.5x.jpg

twidup
10-21-2003, 06:52 PM
hey floyd, check you PM

-Todd

FloydBishop
11-04-2003, 01:16 PM
...bump..

OK, we've got some guys interested in writing this thing, but we're having some problems finding documentation on the file format that Jot uses.

Is there any way to gleam this knowledge from existing Jot file structures? I've been trying to track down the guy who is supposed to know about the file format, but I've had no luck so far.

Anyone???

mhovland
11-04-2003, 02:16 PM
I'm still waiting to get the information from the developers. It has been a couple of weeks now, and I haven't heard anything..........yet.:shrug:


Holy Crap! I just watched the movie that Floyd posted........absolutely amazing technology. I will dig into writing the exporter as soon as I get the documentation from the developers.

Levitateme
11-04-2003, 04:41 PM
yah, it looks extremly impressive. it would be sweet if it was a part of maya. as a renderer or something. the npr renderer maya has now is not great i dont think.

twidup
11-05-2003, 01:14 AM
hey Mike,

I am in the same boat,no new information yet.

if I get anything, i will send it your way as well

-Todd

dwalden74
11-05-2003, 07:09 PM
Why donīt you guys just try out the Lightwave/Max exporters and see what kind of file you get out of it? Shouldnīt be too hard.

jschleifer
11-05-2003, 10:10 PM
hmm.. any chance of a jot for os-x? :)

galactor
11-05-2003, 11:55 PM
Our current release runs on PC/Windows only, though we anticipate a release on LINUX soon and Mac OS-X after that. We are currently releasing software executables only, but intend to make source code available in the long run.

Seems you are lucky Jason, are you planning to use this renderer for your own project too? (If a decent exporter can be written of course)

:: Galactor ::

jschleifer
11-06-2003, 01:06 AM
right now my plan is to use my own hacked render (vector render + maya render + paintFX).. but if this comes out soon and it gives me the effect I want.. and I can run it in batch mode.. <shrug> ya never know! :)

FloydBishop
11-06-2003, 03:42 PM
I'm away from my home machine right now (working vacation in Canada), but when I get back, I'll dig through my inbox.

Someone (who's name escapes me at the moment) sent me a WIP version of a Maya Jot exporter he's been working on. So far, he's just been able to get a model out... but no animation data.

Would this be of use for others to look at and try to expand what's been done to include the export of anim data?

If so, I'll see where the current version stands, check in with the author, and hopefully post the code here next week.

mhovland
11-06-2003, 04:15 PM
From looking through the file format info I got, it should be pretty easy to get the geometry portion working. I think I have a handle on getting the UV information as well. I unfortunately won't have any real time to devote to this for a few weeks, but it should go pretty quickly.

If it is cool with the author, post what you have, Floyd. It would at least give everyone a jumpstart.

mhovland
11-06-2003, 09:41 PM
With a lack of anything to do over lunch, I wrote the exporter for the simple mesh. Right now I just export vertices and faces, but I tested it with a rather large head model and all is working correctly.:applause:

It is still a WIP, obviously. I haven't written an interface or anything like that yet, but now I am hankering to get my hands on the rest of the documentation!

With how quickly I was able to get this part working, I am confidant it will only take a couple of weeks to get the whole thing going, once I have time, and the documentation.:thumbsup:

mhovland
11-06-2003, 10:32 PM
As a completly of topic question, is anyone else having problems with the jot interface? All the label for the menus are off, and I get all kinds of redraw issues the more I play in the interface.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'll take 'em.

Win2k, ATI FireGL.

FloydBishop
11-07-2003, 01:13 PM
Hey guys,

While vacationing in Canada, I decided to write one of my friends who worked at Alias|Wavefront. He was pretty far up in the company and knows a lot of coders. He's also wanted to see an NPR solution for Maya for some time. He's going to put some feelers out to see who would be interested in helping to write this exporter.

Mhovland, care to post a link or code to your exporter? Maybe it would give the rest a jump start?

mhovland
11-07-2003, 02:53 PM
Download v0.1 exporter below :thumbsup:

FloydBishop
11-07-2003, 03:18 PM
I just got an email from Lee Markosian. Rob finished writing the Jot file format description. It's available here:

http://jot.cs.princeton.edu/jot-file-format.txt

We're getting closer, gentlemen.

mhovland
11-07-2003, 03:42 PM
Great news.

Saved, printed and about to be read.......

mhovland
11-11-2003, 05:15 PM
Making progress, I now support crease edges in the *.sm format.

dwalden74
11-11-2003, 05:36 PM
Cool. Are you guys going to make your code publically available?

mhovland
11-11-2003, 07:02 PM
I will definately release the scripts when I am finished. I am at the end of a game dev cycle right now, so I don't have a whole lot of time (the fact I got this much done, is frankly a miracle).

If people REALLY REALLY want the simple mesh portion of the script, I will work on putting an interface to it, and release it.

Send me a note at mhovland@midwaygames.com and let me know if you want to play with it in it's current state. If I get enough response, I will work on the UI and let it out.

Right now, because it is script based, it can be a little slow on heavier meshes. I am dreading how slow it will be when I add in all the stuff the *.jot format supports. Cameras and camera animation, animated meshes....it will take a while to process a scene. It may be one of those scripts that you start running and go get lunch, and hopefully, when you get back, it will be finished.

Of course much of the appeal of the NPR rendering style is you won't need super heavy meshes to carry the detail.

I am going to be looking into adding the UV information next.

My plan is to get the *.sm portion completed and supporting all the features, then get started on the *.jot format.

After everything is complete, if the script based system is really slow, I may look into porting it over to the API, and make it an export plugin. We shall see.

I am excited that so many people are interested, and I am glad to be supporting the community by doing this.

</end rambling>

mhovland
11-11-2003, 09:54 PM
Alright everyone!

Things were slow today so I put the interface together for the *.sm exporter. You can grab it below.

From the script header:

/*
smOutUI.mel v. 0.1
by: Mike Hovland
mhovland@midwaygames.com

This script is copyright 2003 by Mike Hovland
macaroniKazoo's code used with permission.

Use this script at your own risk. I assume no responsibility for any lost or damaged files, damage to your
system, or lost production time as a result of using this script. You have been warned.


This is the start of my exporter for the NPR rendering system know as Jot. You can grab Jot from
http://jot.cs.princeton.edu/

This version is just an early release for all those who are wanting to play around with their
own Maya models in jot. It currently only exports single meshes to the .sm (simple mesh) format.

Known Limitations:
-Currently Jot only supports triangulated meshes. If you didn't triangulate the mesh before
export, there is a message box that will allow you to triangulate.
-Currently the exporter only supports the mesh data (vertices and faces) and creases (hard edges).
Exporting of creases is an option.

To Do:
-Add support for UV's.

AbUsage:
-Save the script into a script folder that Maya can see.
-type or make a shelf button for the command "smOutUI;"


Feel free to forward any issues or suggestions to mhovland@midwaygames.com

ENJOY!
*/

brubin
11-12-2003, 12:29 PM
okay, good things usually take a while, and sometimes a littler longer.
after this thread appeared i mailed with floyd announcing i was writing a script, too, but i only finished it today.
see below, check it out and tell me what you think.

it is slightly different from macaroniKazoo's approach, because i found it is too slow to pickwalk and select each vertex and face and edge and so on.
you may wanna avoid functions that force a display refresh...
my first testobject was a pCube, which works like a flash, but i ended testing a pumpkin model i found on the net, which had about 3500 polys for the body alone, and even my script needs a minute and a half for that! do that on a 4 sec animation and you'll be busy til after Xmas!

enjoy,
HIH
s

(p.s.: file prev. attached had a bug, i fixed it - new link for download is 2 posts down!)

mhovland
11-12-2003, 02:57 PM
Nice job brubin!

I knew that there were others working on this as well, and it is always interesting to see how others approach the same problems.

Your code seems a little bit faster than mine. I am going to go through yours and see how you're doing things, and maybe adapt mine to use the faster methods. It may be more work than it is worth, though.

The only thing I noticed in your output is that you are writing out "creases" as "edges". I tested your script on my "sphere with hard edges" test scene, and it didn't load in with the creases. I checked the output in the file and noticed the above discrepancy. I manually changed the "edges" tag to "creases" and all showed correctly. You will probably want to look into that.

A problem I noticed in my script is, I get a message when loading a file into jot that says:

BMESH::check_type: inconsistently oriented faces found...
fixed it

Now I think this may stem from not writing the face vertices in the file in counterclockwise order.

Do you do anything specific to ensure that you write the face vertices in the proper direction?

Again, good job and keep at it.

brubin
11-12-2003, 06:35 PM
Originally posted by mhovland
Nice job brubin!

I knew that there were others working on this as well, and it is always interesting to see how others approach the same problems.

Your code seems a little bit faster than mine. I am going to go through yours and see how you're doing things,


well, i'm doing the same thing with yours and i can't wait to see what you'll come up with for UV's! (i'm no modeller at all, and i never really worked on productions using polys. only nurbs.


and maybe adapt mine to use the faster methods. It may be more work than it is worth, though.

you'll know more, when you're done...
;)


The only thing I noticed in your output is that you are writing out "creases" as "edges". ... You will probably want to look into that.


you're right - i fixed it, make sure you download version 0.5.1 (12nov2003) (below!) THANX!


A problem I noticed in my script is, I get a message when loading a file into jot that says:

BMESH::check_type: inconsistently oriented faces found...
fixed it

Now I think this may stem from not writing the face vertices in the file in counterclockwise order.

Do you do anything specific to ensure that you write the face vertices in the proper direction?


the way MEL outputs the vertices for each polygon, they ARE ccw.
check the line 149: "$faces = `polyInfo -fv`;"

HIH
s.

brubin
11-17-2003, 12:30 AM
announcing maya2jot.mel v.1.0 GUI

brubin
11-17-2003, 12:39 AM
hi,

i finished a GUI for my script, and did some improvements (me thinks! ;))
for a screenshot download the attachment from the post above.
the mel script is attached below.

the GUI is losely based in visuals and functionality on what that lightwave converter looks like (judging from the screenshots in tutorial-4):

it has 2 list-windows; the left has the cinderella-function. it sorts the bad objects (not mesh, not triangulated, not otherwise suitable) from the good ones, which are displayed.

there is a shellField at the bottom of the window which gives feedback of all actions gone somehow wrong (so far it knows of only 3 such cases), so if you don't understand why your object does not show up in the list, or why it doesn't convert, it'll let you know. the "clear"-button is to clean a cluttered shell display.

now one could move one or any number from that left to the right window, which collects the object-names which are to be converted to a "<object>.sm" file.
the location of that file is displayed in a string below. the location is browsable.
in the destination folder one needs to select any file name, since the stoooopid fileDialog in MEL does not allow one to select a dir.
anyway, my script only displays (and uses) the dir.-part of that, but if anyone knows a way to make the fileDialog accept dir-selection, -feel free to make me happy!

if you add, delete, or change objects (like triangulate meshes that weren't before) you will have to hit "refresh". i didn't want a costly and quite messy scriptjob that would check for updated un(triangulated) meshes at all times.

in the next version, i'll include the possibility to save out sequences of animated meshes. it's not in this version , yet, because i had some question for the developers of "jot" that haven't been fully adressed yet, so til then: do it manually! ;)

enjoy! let me know what you think, and how it works.
s.

rkalnins
11-17-2003, 01:54 AM
Robert Kalnins here... I wrote most of the code for jot as part of my (on going) PhD thesis. I'm actually still working on that thesis, so I've been tough to reach, and slow to respond to the public regarding jot issues.

However, I'm now more actively coding again in the hopes of wrapping up the worst outstanding issues as I move toward finishing my degree (and the time when I stop developing the codebase).

Obviously jot is a work in progress, more for research than production, and has all sorts of bugs, issues, problems, insanities... nevertheless some brave souls are trying to make some use of it. I'll try my best to help ya'll out, though I can make no guarantees -- jot is officially provided 'as is'.

We decided to release jot because it seems a waste that all our work go to naught after I graduate and move on. As such, we'll eventually release the srouce code in a coupla months, too. Feel free to contact me at rkalnins@princeton.edu and include jot in the email subject if you have problems, questions, suggestions, proposals, job offers... =)

I'm hoping to get out version 1.0.1 soon, and a more significant 1.1.0 over the next month.

Good luck, and enjoy! :buttrock:

FloydBishop
11-17-2003, 05:11 PM
Originally posted by rkalnins
Robert Kalnins here... I wrote most of the code for jot as part of my (on going) PhD thesis.

Welcome aboard, Robert!!

I've been away from my workstation for a little while (vacation, moving, etc), but now I should be able to take a look at the work that's been done so far on the Maya exporter and really try to put it through the paces.

As an animator, my main interest is getting some animation data out of Maya and into Jot. I'll really be able to go nuts then. :bounce:

Thanks for supporting the development of the Maya exporter. There are a lot of good minds here that should be able to help get some of the bugs worked out in short order.

In your view, what are the most important issues with Jot itself that need to be addressed? I'm no coder, but I'm willing to team up with someone as a beta tester to help out.

dmeyer
12-18-2003, 06:28 AM
Just caught this thread...I'm extemely interested in the Maya exporter. Sounds like the coding is well underway but I'd be happy to help out with interface work or beta testing.

:wavey:

Lance22
07-01-2004, 11:12 PM
umm, wow, youve caught my interest and I could definitely use this for a piece of the short im working on, keep on chuggin! time to play with this a bit!


--edit

I just want to say thanks for working on something like this, jot is very cool!

Dreppan
03-29-2005, 06:48 AM
Is anything going on with this? I was thrilled to see maya2jot still work on Maya 6.0, but I'm hungrily awaiting any animation exporting possibilites!

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