Surface Panel Fabrication

This MEL script has been developed over a number of years in the studio. It started as a research/independent study project @ GSAPP. It analyses a triangulated surface for agencies and the angle between panels.  It creates the toolpathing for the panels along with the corresponding labels. The main effort here is to produce a surface without a frame but with joints or connections that are articulated in a way to register the angles between panels. The script creates these clips and labels them as well. These source files contain a sample clip/connector and the MEL script:

Here are a handful of projects we used this for here in the studio:

Cellular Autmata

This is a quick experiment in using expressions in Maya to make a 3 dimensional cellular automata (live/die) system similar to Conway’s Game of Life.

Here are the source files: The files contain a maya file with one cell and the attached expression. The other is a MEL script to create a three dimensional grid of the cell. Simply select the cell and run the script. the cell also has a number of custom attributes. To get everything started select one of the newly created cells and set its Timer attribute to 1 then play the timeline. To reset everything set all of the new cells Timer attribute to a negative number. Start off simple with a 6x6x6 volume. The file gets heavy pretty quick!

Random Rainbow


Sometimes our compulsive behavior is just not enough and you just have to automate the craziness. As you can see by the ramp texture above it would be impossible to add that many colors as the color handles don’t even fit next to the editor. Here is a quick small MEL script we made to create a ramp with (N) number of random colors for the video below rampRandStirpes

Object to surface + randomize

This MEL script was created to help out with a interesting brief. We were asked by Michael Somoroff to help with the visualization of a large installation for Kunst-Station Sankt Peter in Cologne. The piece was to be made of reclaimed wood and there would be a top level meta geometry but the texture of the piece would be made of what visually would look like random pieces of wood. We helped with the drawings of the frame for the overall shape, but the wood texture was ultimately installed by a large onsite team. This script was developed to visualize what the piece would look like once the larger frame was tiled with particular lengths of wood and with a certain range of randomness. It was a visualization tool for Michael to describe the desired texture to the installation team. You can see images of the final project here.

Download the MEL script and sample Maya file: OBJ_to_SRF