View Full Version : Maya - MIDI hardware to control attributes, how?

05 May 2007, 06:32 AM

this is my first post to these forums so please bear with me :)

What i'm looking for is a way to hook up a MIDI hardware controller to Maya, in order to control animation attributes via knobs or faders.

Been doing a fair bit of googling on this and haven't found much. The closest i got was this:

There are also some interesting links at the bottom of the page, especially Bill Buxton's videos show that it does actually work. I recall reading somewhere that Alias/Autodesk wanted to adopt the feature, but haven't heard anything about it since.

On CGTALK i've found some outdated threads that pointed either to above link, or a very alpha-ish plugin on highend3d.

The idea is, i have 10 fingers but the mouse only acts like one at a time - wouldn't it be neat instead of serializing the entire process of keying, to work on 2 or even more attributes at the same time, juggling blendshapes or set driven keys? Or even loop the animation, recording keys live on 2 or more attributes at the same time?

I sure love my controller for doing this kinda stuff when working with audio, and nearly every major audio software i've seen offers a convenient "learn" function. This means i can just click an attribute and tell the program to assign the next incoming MIDI channel to it, then twist a dial or slide a fader and voilą: this fader now controls volume, and that dial shifts tempo.

This i'd love to get into Maya. I'm imagining something like a custom UI-builder that i can connect to some set-driven keys or whatever other node i like, have a learn button next to each attribute "channel" and assign midi channels to these on the fly. Of course this is the ideal situation and i'm expecting to put some work into it myself before it actually works like i want it to. But so far i couldn't find any pointers on how to do it besides those incomplete/prototype projects that may or may not work. I'm not technical enough to learn programming in a "real" language like C and look over (and fully understand) source code so that i could adapt it, or even write something from scratch :(

The basics to get MIDI data seem to be there in Maya, but with MIDI device support only on IRIX/Unix according to the online help.

Would i be able to get the desired functionality on Windows using just MEL? How would i go about acquiring the actual MIDI input? It's quite a steep project for me to tackle since i'd have to learn a lot from scratch. So my question to you scripting pros: is there a chance to make it work? Can you give any pointers on where to start? Can it be made into an artist-friendly drag-and drop/learning interface?

Much appreciate your time and any help :)

05 May 2007, 04:50 AM
I don't think you'll get very far trying to use MEL alone. You might have better luck with Python. I know there are several midi libraries for Python, like this one here:

One of the drawbacks of MEL is that you're pretty much limited to whatever functionality is built into Maya. As you have stated, Maya has no built in MIDI interface so you're pretty much out of luck.

I hate to even bring this up, but MAX has pretty good MIDI support. So if you have access to MAX, that may be an option for you.

05 May 2007, 02:59 PM
i seem to remember that motion builder has extensive midi hookups and u can do stuff like map your wacom pressure to various properties or link in a midi controller...they had some example files wherethe have the keyboard mapped to various real time functions such as eyes blinking and smiling etc but i bet u could map an LFO in from cubase to an animation property

i was looking for somehting like this in maya under window> animation editors > device editors which looks like it may be able to get hooked up this way but i didnt really have the time to explore it too be interested if u got it working...altho like i said motion builder is built ready to go for this stuff and that maya device editor looks more like a scriptable template or something and the help seemed pretty non existant on that feature

CGTalk Moderation
05 May 2007, 02:59 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.