View Full Version : UI for Rigs: Useful or Not?

03 March 2010, 01:26 PM
Hello all,
I'm thinking of studying the process of making a MEL script UI for a character. My question to you is this: Is it a useful thing to know?

Isn't a well-designed, easy-to use rig with controls just fine enough? Most UIs just seem to help with the selection of controls.


03 March 2010, 02:35 PM
It's extremely helpful when you have hundreds(or more) of controls, where viewport selection would be a complete pain. If it's complex, I would say yes, but if it's a simple setup, just controls will be fine. If you want to learn mel though, go for it, it's your thing man, do what you want if you think it will make you happy doing it.

03 March 2010, 03:39 PM
A good control UI is a really Nice thing, and there are a number of ways you can do this too. Since Maya has Web intregartion you can Build a web page to control the Character, you can COntrol teh Character with a Flash Application as well. Or you can use the camera and create controls from curves. There are a ton of options.

03 March 2010, 04:19 PM
Talk to your animators. Some of them want UIs for rigs, others don't. And they are the guys you as a rigger trying to please.

03 March 2010, 04:23 PM
If Geoff is compling different methods for teaching a class then its good to know and understand the different ways to get something done. Hence mentioning all the different methods.

03 March 2010, 11:33 AM
yeah, you should have a way of fire off commands if you have a complex rig. You could choose between shelf buttons or UI or even marking menus. However I prefer the UI approach. This to ensure that you don't need to have a special part of the character selected to fire off the commands.

A side note, wasn't the support for html in Maya scrapped several versions ago? I know I tried in vain to implement it before reading it was no longer supported =)

03 March 2010, 01:06 PM
I prefer to work with no UI. My rigs are based around the zooToolbox and make use of a custom pickwalk system with context sensitive right-mouse-button menus for selection, keying, switching and toggling. Controls are organized by a quick-selecet-set heirarchy to further simplify the rmb-functions while at the same time making them more powerful.
Granted that this approach is not as instantly obvious to the animator since most of its functionality is hidden, but once familiarized, its a less cluttered viewport with more direct control.

-- David

03 March 2010, 04:31 PM
I'm interested in the zoo toolbox, read some of your posts djx(thanks), but haven't really taken the time to delve into it, but I will one day. Why I support the use of a GUI is simply because once it up it let's you change alot of parameters or options instantly without having anything selected in the rig itself.

03 March 2010, 04:37 PM
zooToolbox has been in my script folder since it's release, I couldn't imagine doing some of the stuff with out it. My personal favorites are zooSurgeon, zooTriggered, and zooXferAnimation, and that's just sliver of what it does. I just wanted to add, that typically when I get a new rig it's occompanied by a detailed txt file that explains the workings of the rig. I generally destroy the rig first, and then read the txt file:)

03 March 2010, 04:41 AM
I generally destroy the rig first, and then read the txt fileAt least you read the txt file :curious:

And to all above, I see your point about the usefulness of a well built UI. I did not mean to imply that one approach was better. I used to use the "Animation Studios Advanced Skeleton" rigging system and it has a really nice UI authoring tool.

A few years ago I switched to the zooCST (zooToolbox) because I liked the modular approach to the mel code. I very quickly got to like the freedom that you get when everything is on the rig in the viewport. It's worth making the point that the way the rmb-menus work you dont actually have to select anything for most operations. These menus are customizeable too and with a few of the other scripts like zooTriggered (mentioned above) you can do some pretty powerful stuff with a few clicks.

I'm still in mel land, but Hamish (zooToolbox author) is rewriting a lot of his scripts in python. This is worth keeping an eye on if you're into leaning rigging or ui writing.

-- David

03 March 2010, 10:57 PM
I prefer marking menus as a animator. It would be much cool if you make it dynamic, eg only IK/FK options show up when you select the arm or leg

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03 March 2010, 10:57 PM
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