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Complete Maya Programming: An Extensive Guide to MEL and C++ API (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics) [Kindle Edition]

David Gould
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £47.99
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Book Description

Learning Maya, the world's leading 3D animation and effects package, is a challenge, especially for those who want to master Maya's versatile programming features in addition to its built-in tools.

Finally, here is a practical, step-by-step guide that shows how to use Maya to its fullest potential, beginning with the basics. Readers of Complete Maya Programming will first gain a thorough understanding of Maya's inner workings, and then learn how to customize and extend Maya with scripts and plugins that take control and productivity to new levels.

Users new to programming can apply Maya's easy scripting language MEL (Maya Embedded Language), while more advanced users can work with the C++ API (Application Progamming Interface). Both a fundamental tutorial for Maya beginners and a solid reference for experienced developers, Complete Maya Programming is every user's guide to Maya mastery.

* Provides a multitude of real-world examples illustrating applications of Maya programming.
* Demonstrates how to use MEL to control Maya, customize its interface, automate procedures, and more
* Details how to use the C++ API to modify Maya functionality and develop tools and features to meet any need
* Explains when to use MEL, when to use the C++ API, and how to use them together
* Ideal for technical directors, developers, or anyone wishing to to master Maya
* Provides a storehouse of MEL scripts and C++ source code, glossary, and list of resources, available at

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"David's book is an excellent learning tool and reference for novice and veteran Maya developers alike. Maya developers can become more productive with MEL and the Maya API by applying what they learn from this book." -Tracy Narine, Maya API Technical Lead, Alias "David Gould is an expert at using, programming, and teaching Maya, and it shows. People who need to program Maya will find this book essential. Even Maya users who don't intend to do extensive programming should read this book for a better understanding of what's going on under the hood. Compact yet thorough, it covers both MEL and the C++ API, and is written to be informative for both novice and expert programmers. Highly recommended!" -Larry Gritz, Exluna/NVIDIA, co-author of Advanced RenderMan "This book should be required reading for all Maya programmers, novice and expert alike. For the novice, it provides a thorough and wonderfully well thought-out hands-on tutorial and introduction to Maya. The book's greatest contribution, however, is that in it David shares his deep understanding of Maya's fundamental concepts and architecture, so that even the expert can learn to more effectively exploit Maya's rich and powerful programming interfaces." -Philip J. Schneider, Disney Feature Animation, co-author of Geometric Tools for Computer Graphics "Having provided a technical review of David Gould's Complete Maya Programming, I must say that this book is the definitive text for scripting and plug-in development for Maya. Never before has there been such a concise and clearly written guide to programming for Maya. Any user smart enough to pick up this book would be better off for it." -Chris Rock, technical director at "a Large Animation Studio in Northern California" "If you ever wanted to open the Maya toolbox, this is your guide. With clear step-by-step instructions, you will soon be able to customize and improve the application, as well as create your own extensions, either through the MEL scripting language or the full C++ API." -Christophe Hery, Industrial Light & Magic

About the Author

David A. D. Gould is an award-winning computer graphics artist and programmer with over a decade of distinguished accomplishments that span the globe. Among his diverse credits are technology development for Walt Disney Feature Animation, development of the Entropy renderer at Exluna, and 3D graphics chip design at Nvidia. He also developed Illustrate!, the leading toon and technical illustration renderer. David's filmography includes such films as The Lord of the Rings and King Kong.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 18898 KB
  • Print Length: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (7 Jan. 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001UN2WBG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #970,306 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect introduction to Maya API and MEL! 25 Mar. 2006
The perfect book for anyone wishing to learn to write good Maya API and/or MEL code.
It provides just the right balance of bug-free (in my experience) example-code and concise explanations - all that I needed to get myself going very quickly indeed.
I owe a lot to David Gould and this book.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It may as well not have an Index. 21 April 2006
Although the book provides a useful introduction to the Maya API it provides little extra incite than the standard Maya docs. My major criticism however is the index which is woefully inadequate. I often found myself trying to look up an example which I knew I had read somewhere in the text but couldn't remember where. I would have hoped this is where the index would help - it doesn't.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Complete Maya Programming 2 Dec. 2006
By Inigo - Published on
You can indeed learn more by pressing F1 on Maya itself. The C++ API part (the one I was interested in) is really short and the examples rather simple (you can read it all in few hours).

The book is ok, but should be called "Very Basic Introduction to MEL and C++ API" and not "An extensive guide to MEL and C++ API" at all.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crisp, Clear and almost Complete 14 Jan. 2003
By Kolja Erman - Published on
Finally a decent documentation for Maya MEL/API programmers. Maya's own manuals are comparably lousy and the meager information available to newbies has to be verified and expanded during years of tedious trial and error programming. Most people simply follow in the footsteps of senior programmer colleagues who had to figure everything out for themselves and thus help propagate a culture of continuously reinforced bad code writing habits that do not make effective use of the full range of available tools. Especially the chapters on MEL and Expression writing are simple, clearly structured and easy to understand. The same can be said for the chapters on the Maya API, however, while the MEL and Expression sections do indeed warrant the use of the word Complete in the book's title the API section does not. I would have hoped for more information about some of the more exotic node types such as Shaders or Tool Contexts etc... This is where the Maya manuals fall short and where the book could have jumped in. However, with the book clarifying most fundamental aspects and structures of the API that missing information can be worked out by a skilled programmer. I'm glad I purchased this book and it will serve me well as a reference manual for both MEL and the API. Note to beginners: this book is not a fullblown tutorial but seems to be halfway between a tutorial and a reference manual. However, I've barely received my copy and I'm already considering it indispensible. My thanks to Mr. Gould!
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magically morphs other begginer's Maya books into doorstops 3 Aug. 2003
By Baruch - Published on
I learned more from the first chapter of this book than from all of 'Maya Fundamentals' or 'Maya Character Animation'. If your a begginer planning on getting serious with Maya I'd recommend going through the 10 or so tutorials that come with Maya and THEN pick this book up (don't waste money on begginer's books). It elegantly expounds the real fundamentals of Maya - the fundamentals that you must know in order to really uderstand the program. Don't expect to be dazzled with the examples. This book will provide essential understanding of the most important principles of Maya - not tell you how to model or animate. After reading this small book you should be able to pick up any book that assumes technical knowledge and focuses on artistic methods of modeling, animation, texturing etc. to learn how to be a true Maya artist.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great buy to get you started scripting 6 Sept. 2005
By LouseySmarchWeather - Published on
Good book. The only book I know of that explains everything in a way that's easily understood, especially if you don't have any programming experience. This book isn't the only book you'd need to get proficient at programming, but it definately is the first one you should buy to get yourself started.

Its a bit thick at points, so I recommend not sitting down to read a large chunk at once, cause it'll likely not stick with you that way. Take your time, and have your computer nearby so that you can type in his examples and see how they work. Kinda wish it came with a CD but he gives you a website to download his examples.

In short, buy this book if MEL scripting intimidates you like it did me. It'll make the whole process less daunting, and you'll be scripting before you know it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what the Maya SDK documentation left out 27 Aug. 2003
By Andrew Meggs - Published on
The documentation that comes with the Maya SDK is a great reference for individual parts of the API, but comes up short on covering the big picture of how and why everything fits together. This book fills that hole perfectly. Even though I've successfully written several Maya plugins by banging around with the examples and the API reference, in just a few hours with this book I gained a much deeper level of understanding about how Maya's internal framework is really constructed.
If you're a professional programmer who's even thinking about working with Maya, buy and read this book before writing a single line of code. It will pay for itself in time saved.
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