View Full Version : Do you work with MEL primarily at your job?

06 June 2003, 07:16 PM

I was just wondering if anybody here works primarily as a MEL programmer at their jobs and if you can recommend online or offline resources on how to get started with this career path.

Regarding my background, I hold a degree in character animation but has worked primarily as a programmer after graduation using C, C++, and Perl.

Because my interests are so far apart and are in two different extremes, I'm trying to find a combination where I can use my passion in both.

If anybody can give some career advice on how to get started as a MEL programmer, that would be great.

read my other post regarding this here. (


06 June 2003, 08:25 PM
A few suggestions:

* Don't tie your career goals to any one language or software package. People who do this end up in bad shape when the world around them changes, which it usually does suddenly.

* Work at applying your programming skills to animation. Learn MEL, sure, but push yourself in every other way you can also. Try doing something with OpenGL. Try developing plug-ins for Maya or Max.

* Keep up on your Perl and Python. You may find these skills much more applicable than software-dependent scripting languages like MEL.

* Consider sending a reel and resume to my employer!! :D

In particular your background is in line with what they look for in character technical directors, and though without a couple of years of experience it's much harder to get in the door I would still recommend contacting them.

-- Mark

06 June 2003, 06:00 AM
Thanks Mark.

What a small world though. I just finished the first five chapters of your book. I like the writing style and the breadth of coverage. I thought it would be extremely simplistic but for somebody who's been programming for a long time, it's surprisngly fresh.

Anyway, I'm not trying to develop a career out of a single language. I'm simply trying to find or start a career that would allow me to merge both my interests. After talking to a few friends, I was convinced that maybe programming for Maya might be it. This will give me chance to "hack" all day and see great works of art come out of it.

Thanks for the info.

06 June 2003, 11:54 AM
What does a TD do actually? I've seen lots of places saying scripting/programming is great/necesary for the post and such, but no one really says what you DO. Is it basically scripting for animation/rigging, or is it programmatic problem solving in general?

(Hey Mark, I'm reading your book right now too, pretty good so far. Good job!)

06 June 2003, 12:23 PM
hope no one doesn't mind....i've got another Q....will C# really be a language of the future?....well i've done vbscript and a (loss?) year of delphi for now and want to learn another language wich gives me the opportunity to try to code plugins...therefor it'd be interesting wich is better for the future c++ or c# all in regard with the change to the .NET architecture....

06 June 2003, 06:29 PM
deleted text because i can't delete the post

06 June 2003, 06:58 PM
TD means different things at different companies. At Pixar and some other places, TDs light and composite shots, create effects animation, and other things. At some other studios, like PDI, the TD title is used for people who do the kind of quick and dirty production-side development work that leads to shots being done, but the emphasis is not on doing shot work.

As for C#, there may be a market for that and .NET stuff, but let me tell you, I've never heard of any such thing in the computer graphics world... maybe it's going on in gaming though.

-- Mark

06 June 2003, 08:52 PM
thx all...:beer:

06 June 2003, 06:09 AM
Answering the original question: yes, I primarily use MEL at my job. It isn't the only thing I get to do, but it is the primary tool I use to create solutions at my place of work.

Of course, knowing mel and NOT having a broad and deep background of general 3D experience would make my MEL knowledge worthless. Being a good "MEL guy" is far less about knowing the language than it is about having a solid grip on the needs of the people who will use what you write and insight into how they think and work.

As with most anything else, people don't get hired because they know a tool. They get hired for being bright bulbs and being decent people. Oh, and sometimes for their WarCraft skills.


06 June 2003, 11:10 PM
What programming language would you guys recommend for someone that knows Maya very well, is an experienced Mel scripter, has an impressive reel and wants to continue growing technically/artistically towards a td position?

keller Goal

06 June 2003, 11:41 PM
I would suggest maybe looking into the Maya API - using C++

This'll help you get more into the technical site (where my expertise lies!)

Being able to write plugins that will add functionality that you can't do with MEL, or run faster, can be very useful...

06 June 2003, 12:24 AM
C++ it is. Thank you for your reply.

keller Goal

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