Damnation Alley - What we call the technical area.


Alright…this thread is designed to streamline the process of the pipeline (this is usually the TD’s job to set out).

Naming Conventions:

SceneXXX_ShotXXX_Camera so: Sc001_Sh017_DollyCam.ma


Character/Environment_geo so: orange_geo


CharacterName_TargetName_geo so: orange_HappyFace_geo

**** Please remember to put the geometry into the geo group in the scene if you add****

If you are adding geo, please let myself or cornfield know so we can update the reference node pointing to the geometry file*


shaderName_mat so: orange_mat or envRoom_mat


textureName_resolution_txtr so: orangeBumpMap_1280_txtr


SceneXXX_ShotXXX_Pass.tga so: Sc001_Sh017_shadow.tga or Sc001_Sh017_alpha.tga

Please remember to try and use a setting of 3-4 for frame padding as to allow for easy tracking of file names after rendering (easier to look for _0001 than hunt down _1 stuck somewhere between the 10-19, 100-199 and 1000-1999 range…)

Thank you for visiting damnation alley, please return all souls to the front desk and please don’t feed the other TD’s on your way out.



sounds good!


Lovin’ that damnation alley!

George Pappard, a pimpin’ tank and the apocalypse? :buttrock: :buttrock:

Brings me back to my childhood and bad, made for TV movies. But I digress…

Everything above looks straightforward, but I’ve got a question on the camera – should we reference our camera rig into our scene collection file… or am I misunderstanding the Sc001_Sh017_DollyCam.ma thing?

The way I’ve been doing stuff is assembling my ‘shot’ file by referencing the room and rig, but the camera lives in the shot file itself…




Yeah! Someone knows what they’re doing. :smiley:

I was waiting for someone to lend their technical expertise in these areas. Sorry, I don’t have a clue on matters of best naming conventions. I’m just here to point and say things like “good” and “bad”.

me points Shawn’s post and says, “gooooood!”

:thumbsup: :beer:


if you need any technical stuff, just hollar…as a TD it is my obligation to warp the space time continuum to squeeze 30 hours into a day instead of the puny mortal 24 hours :stuck_out_tongue:

Goes from modeling right through to final delivery…tell me your needs, feed me bananas and let the monkey work the magic :stuck_out_tongue:



your camera should reside inside of your scene, do not under any circumstances reference in a camera rig file. If an external camera is needed, we will import it with namespaces turned off and group it under a logical camera group.

You are working with the right methodology as is :slight_smile:



A blind man would not be the one to notice that your fly is open.

I don’t know that I’m the best person to point out things of technical nature or even know when a technical question needs to be asked. So, don’t hesitate to jump in there and point out the obvious to me. I’m a 2D guy. The last time I seriously worked with any 3D application it was Maya 3.0 and the year was 2001.

Keep the tech stuff organized and running smoothly and I’ll buy you some bananas (or asign “Technical Director” status to ya’). :smiley:

Thanks Shawn!


Great Stuff,

I was actually going to email Kirt and ask if anyone was taking care of the TD stuff, like naming conventions, referencing etc. Looks like I had my question answered in the form of damnation alley.

These are good suggestions that I think will really keep everything organized throughout phases 2 and 3.

one question I had is, for texturing(shading) are we going procedural or file texture. The reason I ask is because we may need project directory naming conventions as well. So that once we go to our rendering phase, we dont have to deal with missing file textures/references etc.



brad-- textures are going to be procedural, check out the texturing thread.

shawn- I love this place-- damnation alley-- so atmospheric! stumbles into crumbling skeleton… good on you for setting up this godforsaken place for us to toss our technical difficulties into and run away as the flames come roaring out of the hole…

Mind if we call you ‘sauron’?


That hasn’t been decided yet. :argh:


can call me foofoobunny if you really want to (no, you actually can’t so dont even try it!).

Kirt: ask away if you got any Q’s at all, same goes for anyone else or if there’s some glitch along the way we hit…just remember the banana’s.

Brad: well, seems that call is undecided as of late. I’m still looking over a directory structure to have implemented across the board (may just write a .bat script that would churn through a command prompt and create the directories for people).

Texturing Note: do we really have much texturing to do? From the looks of the boards, some shots are looking a bit GI’ish and quite straight forward. Basically, I’m looking at it from the perspective that we could probably pull this off with just some nice materials and good lighting (unless orange or the environments is going to require some funky stylization!).

c’mon! you’re supposed to be making the TD’s life difficult!



Hey M.E.L., since im on final camera work, how would the scene animators deal with the camera suffix in the naming convention before the finished animated files get to me?

I think the best way would be for them to animate based off of the camera moves shown in the previz/storyboards, and then when the time comes for me to do my thing, i’ll include the camera movement descriptions to the filenames.

Sound ok?


hmm, might make for some long file names so how about this…

if we put a small text file in the top level directory of our scene structure with a brief description of the camera movements from the previz stuff, think you guys might go with that? Would look something like…

|_ Animation
…|_ Sc001

basically…that will allow us to not get terribly confused with changing file names…any updates can be propagated to the txt file to be read by the render wranglers, myself or an animator who has to do a retake lets say.

agreed though, the animators should just work with the camera movements laid out in the previz scenes…i’m sure they can tweak it or add some extra feel to it to give a better act but not stray too far :slight_smile:



Hey guys,

Attached is a little MEL script that I use to give date, frame and scene overlay info in playblasts – helpful for keeping track of different file versions when a ton of people are working on a project.

Basically, you copy the contents of the attached script into your Maya/6.x/prefs/userSetup.mel, then restart Maya and it’ll give you a new HUD element you can turn on and off for blasts. Installation and customization info is inside the script.

I use this because I generally pad a little lead-in and lead-out time in my scenes, then do a rough cut myself for timing. It’s really rare that I actually use the first or last frame in a scene file because I like to cut on overlapping action. This allows the editor(s) to see that (for example), frame 12 was the first frame of my cut that he used. It’s also helpful for giving & receiving crits.

Not everyone likes working this way, but if you’re like me, this is a real time saver (instead of doing it in post) :slight_smile:

Edit: I fixed the unix line breaks in the file, and added a little preview image.


Hi mates, just need to know if …

  • There is a little flaw in Orange rig, lean left and lean right parametres do a same action. am I right?


uh oh, is that back again?

I thought I had fixed that little bugger on the last update.

Lemme check out my master file and I’ll see.



Re: MEL.

I’ve not had to use them( but I couldn’t resist touching! :bounce: ) but translating the ear-control-clusters seem to make them translate in the opposite direction! :argh:

Thought I would just let you know. :slight_smile:


You wouldn’t think rigging a box would be so tough…just as well we have a master on the case :smiley:


And animating one is even worse! :cry:


You can do it, boone, you can!

Post some WIPs so we can see how you’re getting on. www.putfile.com is really good for .avi uploading.