A quickie, set a Maya enum by string

I’m just adding this here on my site because I always need to find it in older scripts and I don’t want to keep digging for it. So, as far as I know, there’s no easy way to set an enum attribute by a string value in Python. You can only set it by index value, which doesn’t do you much good if you don’t know the index of the value you need. In case you need it here’s a quick little function to use a string value to set the enum:

def set_enum_by_string(node, attribute, string):
    enum_string = pm.attributeQuery(attribute, node=node, listEnum=True)[0]
    enum_options = enum_string.split(":")
    index = enum_options.index(string)
    pm.setAttr("%s.%s" % (node, attribute), index)

Example use:
set_enum_by_string(“my_super_cube”, “color”, “green”)

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Add space switching to any rig without headaches

Setting up space switching on a rig, be it for orientation or props or something else, can be quite an elaborate process. Having to set up the different empty groups/locators, constraints and setting up the actual switch through set driven keys gets boring real fast. So I wanted to show off this little tool that allows you to very quickly set up space switching on your rig.

You can use any transform node to act as the parent of your spaces. Select the controller you want to add the switch to and make sure the spaces you want are also selected in the tool. If you use offset/driven/parent/whatever groups for your controller, you can tell the tool how many nodes it should travel up the hierarchy to add the constraints to.

Get it here: https://gumroad.com/l/ihJbo

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Remove too many influences on a skinCluster

import pymel.core as pm

ignore_below = 0.0001
meshes = pm.selected()
if len(meshes) > 0:
    for mesh in meshes:
        #use a quickie MEL command to get the skincluster
        skin = pm.mel.eval('findRelatedSkinCluster %s' % mesh)

        #get the max allowed influenced for the current skinCluster
        max_influences = pm.PyNode(skin).getMaximumInfluences()

        #empty list to hold a pair for transform value
        transform_value = []

        #get the total number of vertices in the selected mesh
        total_verts = pm.polyEvaluate(vertex=True)

        for i in xrange(0, total_verts):
            transform_value = []

            vertex = "%s.vtx[%s]" % (mesh, i)
            trans = "%s %s" % (skin, vertex)
            influences = pm.skinPercent(skin, vertex, ignoreBelow = ignore_below, query = True, transform = None)
            values = pm.skinPercent(skin, vertex, ignoreBelow = ignore_below, query = True, value = True)

            # if there are more entries in the transform values list than we have allowed influences
            # we know we're going to have to delete some
            if len(transform_value) > max_influences:
                #sort the transform value list from small to big, based on the second entry of the pair (value)
                transform_value.sort(key = lambda list: list[1])

            #add a transform value pair to our list
            for j in xrange(0, len(influences)):
                tv = [influences[j], values[j]]

                #figure out how many extra influences there are
                extra_influences = len(transform_value) - max_influences
                print "Found %s influences too many on %s" % (extra_influences, vertex)

                #loop through all these extra influences
                for k in xrange(0, extra_influences):
                    joint_name = str(transform_value[k][0])
                    value = transform_value[k][1]

                    #and set their influence to 0
                    print "Removing: %s, value: %s" % (joint_name, value)
                    pm.skinPercent(skin, vertex, transformValue = [joint_name, 0], normalize = True)

I adapted a script that was written in MEL to remove extra influences on particular vertices on a skinned mesh. Mostly because it didn’t always work on my machine and I didn’t want to try and figure out why… I don’t like having to edit MEL code and avoid it where I can 🙂

When you set up your skinCluster and very carefully tell Maya to not go over your maximum allowed influences per vert, Maya doesn’t always listen. Most likely floating point rounding errors creep in when painting skin weights and normalizing the skinCluster. Most times you don’t know really care about these extra influences because their values are usually extremely small ( < 0.001). However, if for whatever reason you need to get rid of these extremely small values and don't want to prune weights, you can use something like this to remove only the smallest influences depending on how many influences are allowed for your skinCluster.

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This was actually a proof of concept and thought exercise than anything else. I had a discussion with a fellow freelancer who got ripped off after sending Maya files and never receiving any payment. I started brainstorming about a possible solution for this problem and came up with this. The script allows you to secure a Maya file and set permissions on its usage. I don’t think it’s anything that should be used in the real world, but it was fun to make and think about. I actually did some research on how viruses and worms work to keep under the radar and how they deal with deletion attempts 🙂 It’s by no means a fool proof system, but it does kind of work and could be refined in the future.

Sorry about the vacation video-y music. Turn off your volume if you think it sucks 🙂


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Coconut Curves

I’ve always liked this way of rigging faces. By constraining joints to the curves moving the curves around, you get some nice fall off that makes everything feel squishy and soft. Which works really well on cartoony characters. Not posting the entire code because it’s pretty messy, pretty long and spread across multiple files. Take a look at the YouTube video to see how it works and feel free to comment or ask if you want to.


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