View Full Version : In need of Computer Programming advice

10 October 2005, 06:10 PM
I'm sure you've heard of
MEL Scripting for Maya Animators (

Which I'm sure is a great resource, but is there something more comprehensive? I'm just about finished with the artistic side of animation BFA but I was wondering if there's a college, university, online program, or anything that thoroughly teaches one MEL scripting, C++ and etc. without requiring a Computer Science degree to understand it.

To have technical and artistic understanding of the programs is essencially the holy-grail nowadays. I've extensively searched the internet, but nothing specific has come up. Does anyone know of great MEL courses offered at any schools in the USA? Anything would be greatly appreciated.:)

10 October 2005, 11:09 PM
I took a mel course at Savannah College of Art and Design but that book was our textbook, so don't know if you'd learn a whole lot more... The real trick with mel is to find a problem that neds solving, and apply yourself to that. A friend of mine's been working for the last two years on extending maya's particle system to be more controllable for instance. If you hang out over at highend3d you can find a lot of mel scripts that aren't that complicated. Maybe deconstructing those could also further your experence.

THere should be some more threads around here on learning C++, but it'll take time. If you really wan to be good, you also need to understand some principles of theoretical computer science (in my opinion). But as a guy who also has an animation BFA, I have to ask, are you just doing this to make your resume spiffier? Or do you want to be an FX TD? My only concern is that if you like animation and you're good at that you might have beter prospects just improving your core animation skills, because programming is frustrating if you don't particularly like it.

10 October 2005, 02:31 AM
Thank you so much, fred_lemaster you're right-- learning MEL would be good for the resume seeing how everywhere is in need of technical specifics (there's so many openings as technical effects director and similar extents) additional to great animation skills.

Here at Columbus College of Art and Design there isn't a MEL or any computer science courses-- there used to be a video game class but it got canned since the programming side of things was lacking.

And truthfully, I don't think I could self-teach myself C++ (learning to play piano was pretty difficult enough) I will still try to expand my MEL understanding with the book. Macromedia's Flash action script was easy to pick up when presented well. :buttrock:

Programming is mind numbing, I recently read up on Renderman Academy (
which I was totally lost by the ninth page.

--- Funny you mentioned Savannah College of Art and Design-- I had a Motion Graphics teacher go on and on about your school as if it were our college's closest rivals or something, he kept comparing the promotional demo reels and course offerings. SCAD is still ahead it seems. :D

So uh, is MEL scripting for Maya Animators any good as a stand alone text book?
Thanks again.

10 October 2005, 09:07 AM
Also have a look out for Complete Maya Programming ( by David Gould. It covers more than MEL scripting for Maya animators - including plugins - but has less examples of how to use MEL.
There is also a volume 2 out that covers a lot fo background theory.


10 October 2005, 10:41 AM
Yeah, i really like the 2nd CMP - it brings together the theory with the practical use in maya via mel/api in a very good way - allthough it covers only the absolute basics plus the complete geometry part (polys, NURBS, SubDs).

10 October 2005, 02:05 PM
Thanks rendermaniac and kjaft, I'll definitely check it out. (It seems more reasonably priced when grouped with MEL Scripting for Maya Animators-- plus the reviews are better)

:applause: I've got a lot of reading to do...

10 October 2005, 02:41 PM
be aware that the CMP Vol. 2 assumes that you allready know the basics about MEL and especially API (which is far less common..) - the "MEL Scripting for Animators" only covers only the MEL part.


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