Maya plugins Roundup
Discover top plugins to help you stay creative and increase your productivity
We dive into the world of Maya plugins with a guide to the best of the best for increasing productivity
Maya is one of the most comprehensively featured 3D applications available. It’s vast and capable, but that means certain tasks can be harder to complete, as you learn the workflow and navigate the menu systems. This isn’t a failing, as artists working in particular fields will build the muscle memory to do what’s needed, but for the many generalists who only rarely use certain tools, it can be frustrating. This is where the community comes into play, with either smart artists writing scripts or canny developers spotting the need to make odd jobs easier. There are many ways that Maya can help improve your workflow, but plugins are something most people are familiar with and generally have better support than random MEL scripts; they tend to be developed by companies or larger studios, with proper teams, development cycles and support available. Over the next few pages you will discover some top plugins for Maya that can help with accomplishing specific tasks, from generating crowds through to helping you make the move from 2D to 3D. Costs for plugins can vary hugely, some reaching prices similar to Maya itself, but we have tried to keep the costs down to a minimum so that you have the chance to try adapting your workflow with as little outlay as possible.
One thing to keep in mind is that Autodesk has a keen eye for a good developer, and many plugins have been
brought into the Maya fold and actually become part of the base software, for even better integration. naiad for fluid sims and Xgen, the hair generator, are two such examples.
Massive for Maya Price Free evaluation website massivesoftware.com
If you are a Maya artist there may be many reasons for you to need to create crowds, small or large, for your projects – not only as a visual effects artist, but if you work in engineering viz or architecture. There are a few options out there for generating crowds but Massive is one of the best-known and it is now fully integrated into Maya. The Maya version provides you with the simplest workflow, using Maya tools, so you can navigate your scene attributes using familiar tools like the Outliner or graph Editor. This makes for a streamlined and intuitive workflow with less of a learning curve. stay in one application to build hordes of zombies or now, with the new horse and rider features, armies of mounted apes, or populate your streets, bridges and buildings with realistic townsfolk.
shotview Price Free website highend3d.com/maya/script/shotview-for-maya
shotview is a free and simple but very effective Maya plugin, which provides a constant and clean representation of your camera view in a floating window. This tool is incredibly useful, especially for artists with a two-monitor setup, as it allows you to view both the default Maya perspective and the camera view simultaneously, saving the hassle of switching between the two and helping to develop the perfect cinematic shot.
shotview also allows you to set automatic filtering options that will turn off any controllers you don’t want to see when running a playblast, which will restore after it has been created.
“Many plugins have been brought into the Maya fold and become part of the base software, for even better integration”