Share your secret weapon...!


APESplit (Advanced Parametric EdgeLoop Split) created by Oliver Beardsley is a modelers must have tool. I should say, was. It hasn’t been updated for Maya 6 or 7 yet. This is a plea Oliver! If you see this, do us all a favor and update APESplit for Maya 6 & 7. At least let us download the old version so we can try to update it ourselves.

I would consider this to be much more versatile than MJPolyTools edgeloops. It allows you to pull your edgeloops in and out based on surface normal directions and by default will follow the existing curvature of your poly flow. It works excellently with Quads and can even perform complicated splits along selected edges.

Small description here:

For any type of poly modeling this tool will drastically improve workflow and speed.


rblitz7> I could email it you if you want. THe name of the scrpit is frameCounter.


You can download APESplit here, but I’d also check out the excellent modeling toolset “Open Maya Toolbox”:


This is more of a “wish was my secret weapon”.

Before I switched to Maya, one tool that I used a lot!!!, back when I was using Lightwave, was Fl’sWrinkle.p

more elaborate wrinkle but basically the same

MJPolyTools has something similar for Maya but no where near as versatile. Does anyone no if Alias or someone else has or is going to create something like FLsWrinkle for Maya any time soon?

Cheers :slight_smile:


Someone mentioned “Make Live” about the 3rd page of this thread. As I grasped the idea “myself” one day (i.e. remembered something I’d read and did the math in my sleep), I cannot stop enthusing about it. This is only for other newbies but here goes:

-slap together a model any way you can, without worrying over surface continuation or stuff like that
-combine all of it into one poly (I suppose it would be harder with NURBS as NURBS tends to try and flow smoothly - makes for weird surfaces)
-make live
-start creating/appending polys onto the live surface to create good flow.
Best is to leave mouth, eyes and ears waiting and complete them later, I think.

If you don’t want to use wireframes made from concept art for your modeling, this is a very fast and intuitive way of slapping complex things together. I made record time modeling a human face this way. For more info on the create/append polys, I suggest reading Secrets of the Pros, second edition.


My secret weapon


Not really a secret but can save you a lot of headaches.
If you want to animate particles without the headaches of simulations etc… create an object, softbody it, and then animate the vertices (or the entire object).


A few rigging tips regarding skinning and the bindPose

Tip #1. If you have rigged your character and need to get back to the bind pose, sometimes the rig will restrict the character from getting there. Go into Modify>>Evaluate nodes>> Ignore all. Now try “Go to bind pose”. Dont forget to turn “Evaluate all” back on when you are finished!

Tip#2. You can “trick Maya” into adding meshes to joints, even if the joints aren’t in the bindpose. Type “skinCluster -igp” into the script editor. This will tell Maya to bind the mesh, and ignore the bind pose. (For example, if you need to throw a facecloth at a character, then rig the facecloth to the character once it lands on him.)

Tip #3. After saying all of this, you actually do not need the bindPose. It is there simply as a “placeholder” to set your joints back into the position the joints were in when you created the skinCluster. More often than not, it simply gets in the way. Delete the bindPose node and you will not get “Could not achieve bindPose” errors. (Be sure you dont need to get back to that position anymore!)


Hey Mike great tips I especially like #1 I did not know you can do that. Latelly I have been runing in to some skiining erros from the dependency graph. Some times I need ta add a joint or to, on to an already skiined character. So I keep geting and error: could not add influence due to dependency graph issues. Have you guys found a work around this?


This is just a lame script that I made on request. To tell the truth I used to think “that is really lame” but I’ve realized that it’s rather useful actually :stuck_out_tongue:


string $serCam[] = ls -sl -long -fl;

$serAttr = getAttr persp.translateX;

setAttr ($serCam[0] + “.translateX”) $serAttr;

$serAttr = getAttr persp.translateY;

setAttr ($serCam[0] + “.translateY”) $serAttr;

$serAttr = getAttr persp.translateZ;

setAttr ($serCam[0] + “.translateZ”) $serAttr;

$serAttr = getAttr persp.rotateX;

setAttr ($serCam[0] + “.rotateX”) $serAttr;

$serAttr = getAttr persp.rotateY;

setAttr ($serCam[0] + “.rotateY”) $serAttr;

$serAttr = getAttr persp.rotateZ;

setAttr ($serCam[0] + “.rotateZ”) $serAttr;

Imagine that you are working on a scene. You have the persp view and the top, side and front ones as well. It so happens that you’ve placed your persp view in a position from which you would really like to have a camera so you create the camera and try to place where the persp is. This script creates the camera exactly on the Persp view position.

Really dumb :beer:
But sometimes useful :wink:


Yeah, could you email it to Thanks!


nottoshabi: I am not sure off the top of my head. I have seen it before, and I remember benig able to work around it somehow. Next time I see it I will make a mental not of what we did to fix the problem, then report back.

OK, another random tip.

Undo a camera move:

Say you are working on a shot, and you accidentally move the camera. undo doesnt work! The hotkeys to undo a CAMERA move are “[” and “]


These are my secret weapons. :]

I don’t know if it’s already been posted, but here it goes:

ctrl + space bar toggles all UI on and off. Helps if you need a lot of screen space while modelling or animating.



Hi people,

It seems appropriate to give something back to community whenever possible. Here are my two cents… :slight_smile:

Everyone needs to select verts/edges/faces often…

There are many ways to do this, right-clicking works but sometimes in component mode, you might experience that you have to be exactly on the geometry (down to the edge/vert level). If not, you get the dreaded complete tool MM :argh:

Other options are the F8,F9,F10 etc. hotkeys which work fine.

Alternatively, you also have the ALT-Q MM that was designed for exactly this purpose.

However, on a personal note, I decided to remap ALT-Q to just Q for this very useful buildPolyMM. I also decided to change UVs to Object mode.

Its slightly faster IMO and works on any part of the screen 100% of the time.

From [b]C:\Program Files\Alias\Maya 7.0\scripts\startup


 global proc doSelectPolygonMM() 
 	menuItem -rp "N" -l "Vertices" 
 		-c "selectMode -co; selectType -pv 1 -pe 0 -pf 0 -puv 0; select -cl;";
 	menuItem -rp "E" -l "Edges" 
 		-c "selectMode -co; selectType -pv 0 -pe 1 -pf 0 -puv 0; select -cl;";
 	menuItem -rp "S" -l "Faces" 
 		-c "selectMode -co; selectType -pv 0 -pe 0 -pf 1 -puv 0; select -cl;";
 	menuItem -rp "W" -l "Object"
 			  -c  "SelectToggleMode;";
 //		-c "selectMode -co; selectType -pv 0 -pe 0 -pf 0 -puv 1; select -cl;";
 	setParent -m ..;

Also note the changes in the last line of the code IF you’re not using the ALT key as in my case. (-alt 1 changes to -alt 0)

 	popupMenu -alt 0 -mm 1 -b 1 -aob 1 -p viewPanes -pmc "doSelectPolygonMM" tempMM;



Wow, that’s great. I could really use this one a lot! Thanks :cool:


that is a SUPER script, what’s LAME is that functionality is not BUILT INTO maya by default. Every time (every time) I use maya I run into that situation and wind up lockng my persp into that position for rendering and finishing the work using another created persp camera.


Haha. I am glad you found it useful :beer:

Maybe this could be something that should be thrown to the “updates wish list” and will be added on a newer version of Maya.


Looks like any tips I’d add have all been posted in the last couple of pages, but I’ve got two wish list things I’d love to see if anyone has any ideas.

  1. I love Click-Drag Select in the Preferences, I tried to script a simple MEL script to toggle it on and off and I couldn’t get it to work as one function, is there a way to make it toggle on and off depending on what it’s current state is? As apposed to using two different scripts?

  2. This is probably a bit more complex, but can you edit the hotbox menus to have another line of custom menus? I love the hotbox and rather dislike shelves, but it seems that’s one of the areas on Maya’s UI you can’t customize.

If anyone has any suggestions I’d be greatly appreciative!

My favorite secret weapons would have to include:

  1. ‘D’ to toggle Pivot mode

  2. Relax UVs set to a very high iteration value and UV Lattices.

  3. polyRandomizer – Not as good as LW’s Jitter command, but really useful for environment modeling.

  4. Really simple one, but one that took myself and a friend a long time to figure out is that you can convert SubD’s back to Polys without increasing the geometry by setting the tessellation method to Vertices’s. Really useful work flow and it was driving me and my friend nuts as we both came from LW and are used to constantly converting back and forth with the TAB key.

  5. Polygons>Average Vertices.

 int $v;
 int $state = `selectPref -query -clickDrag`;
 $v = 1;
 $v = 0;
 selectPref -clickDrag $v;

Thats the script I use to toggle drag select. You can improve it by adding a print statement after early $v=? entry. This will remind you after using the script what the current setting of drag-select is.


Awesome man, thanks so much!