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MEL Scripting for Maya Animators (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics)

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Between 1997 and 2002, AliaslWavefront's Maya has found wide acceptance in the animation, visual effects, and games communities, in large part because of the tremendous extent that it encourages customization through developing plug-ins and scripting in Maya Embedded Language (MEL). Major studios, including Disney, Dreamworks, ILM, and Sony Pictures Imageworks, can rarely manage to find enough skilled technical directors with experience developing useful tools in MEL.

Knowing this, we were surprised, in mid-2001, to discover the lack of available information on MEL scripting. Discussions of MEL in various Maya courses and books tended to focus on the structure of MEL as a programming language with little discussion of how it fit into the larger picture of animation.

From our discussion came MEL Scripting for Maya Animators. We have designed the book to serve as both a tutorial and a repository of examples of how to use MEL and Maya's expression language in a practical context; the tutorial chapters help present how MEL fits into the larger picture of animating in Maya, while the examples present solutions to concrete problems from which you can extrapolate your own.

This book assumes an intermediate working knowledge of the Maya interface. If you have never touched Maya before, you probably can work through the examples, but you'll get the most from it if you start with a book like AliaslWavefront's excellent Learning Maya or one of the growing number of books from third parties that are oriented toward the beginner.

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