The MASH toolset in Maya is not just for creating motion graphics
Get under the hood of Maya’s MASH toolset
MASH is the procedural modelling and animation toolset for Autodesk’s Maya software. Developed by the UK’S Mainframe (North) to help add motion graphic procedural tools to Maya, MASH went on to become an essential plug-in for many motion graphic artists using Maya in their workflow.
Autodesk saw the potential of MASH and bought the plug-in. In the past few Maya releases, MASH has become an increasingly integrated tool within the core Maya offering.
MASH offers a range of tools to make any 3D artist drool, with procedural modelling, animation tools and texturing all available within a couple of clicks.
One of the biggest additions to MASH since its integration into Maya is the MASH editor. We’ll admit, it’s a touch peculiar to get excited about a panel, however the MASH Editor enables easy viewing and managing of a MASH ‘network’, which is the term given to a MASH object and its component parts. However, the most important aspect of the MASH editor is that it enables re-organisation of a MASH network, which can have powerful implications on how a MASH network performs, but all with an easy-to-use and logical interface.
The team behind MASH are adding increasingly powerful nodes to the tool, which makes the most of Maya’s inherent viewport speed and MASH’S underlying technology. One of the most exciting new nodes is the ‘World node’. This creates a replication ecosystem based on natural growth systems and can create everything from a timelapse of a city growing to unique clumps of geometry to be used in a 3D UI animation.
Because MASH is a procedural system, it is possible to change any element throughout a MASH network, from animation speed to the base mesh itself. This means that setting up default networks to share among other artists is incredibly straightforward, and also means that MASH is an excellent place to start for new Maya artists.
Mike Griggs Mike Griggs is a 3D and visual effects artist with vast experience across the industry, as both a creator and a technical writer. www.creativebloke.com Author