boot­camp: mash

The MASH toolset in Maya is not just for cre­at­ing mo­tion graph­ics

3D World - - CONTENTS -

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.cre­ative­ Au­thor

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