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N U K E
[Beta Release]
by
Jagannathan Sampath
Copyright (c) 1999
Jagannathan Sampath
All Rights Reserved
Last Changed : April 12, 1999

N U K E is a plugin that allows Maya animators to use their Mouse as a timing tool. The animator begins by selecting one or more objects whose animation he wants to retime. Assume he has selected one such object (called Ball). Let Ball have keyframes at 1, 24, 48, 72 and 96. If he chooses to retime the animation segment (1, 24), the plugin sets the (MIN, MAX) range of a slider UI control to (1, 24). As the Animator drags this slider (ie) Scrubs, the scene updates in realtime to match the frame number returned by the slider. Suppose the time at which the animator visited the frames 1 and 24 were 0 seconds and 0.5 seconds respectively. If the animator is satisfied with the take, he clicks the Retime button. The plugin retimes the animation worth 1.0 seconds to 0.5 seconds. The altered keyframes are 1, 12, 36, 60 and 84. Note that the timing of the other segments remain unaltered.

The moment the plugin retimes an animation segment, it starts playing it. The animator is thus saved of typing playback ranges and can see the results immediately. Additionally, the animator can play all frames of the animation or play upto the retimed segment or stop the animation. If he doesnt like the retimed result, he can undo it too.

N U K E doesnt touch the controls (eg. Tangency) available through the Graph Editor (Animation Curves Editor) for retiming the animation. It just squashes / stretches keyframes based on how fast or slow the animator dragged the slider. You can think of N U K E as an assistant to edit the Dope Sheet. You Show it how to do with the Mouse and it does the rest.

Download N U K E for Maya:

Download N U K E at
http://members.tripod.com/sjagannathan/nuke/nuke.zip

If you wish to redistribute N U K E, please do so only in the form (as nuke.zip or other archival format) I am providing at the above location. Please do not redistribute the MEL script alone, the target user looses the documentation and a chance to
employ me ;-)


Pros and Cons of N U K E:

N U K E is very useful when the animation footage is undetermined and you are expected to keep the action brisk and busy (from The Illusion of Life: Timing, Spacing and Metronome, page 290). But if you have a good beat sense, you can transfer that to your hands, to the mouse and get the timing right for constrained footage too!

Although ambitiously named N U K E (Never Use Kurves Ever) for inspiration, it doesnt banish the Graph Editor or the Dope Sheet. For example, Graph Editor is still required to set the initial interpolation modes (Spline, Linear etc).

My aim in developing N U K E is to provide a tool that gives a lot of freedom for the animator to adjust the timing of his animation -- in realtime. I want to make the timing process more intuitive and fun.

Important Request To Maya Animators:

N U K E is still in Beta. Only your feedback can make the final release worth it. Please send your comments + bugs + suggestions to
sjagan@hotmail.com

N U K E was developed to assist me in animating a Cylinder and a Cube -- lead characters in my short film. I have thus not used N U K E on a real character I am not skilled to create these characters myself nor have character animators around me who can help. So, please use N U K E in your projects and offer me feedback.

User Guide:

SETUP:

CONTROLS:

N U K E has two windows : The Slider Window and The Controls Window.

The Slider Window:

Retime Slider:
You drag this slider to retime the animation of the selected object (s). If you drag it fast, the retimed animation is fast and vice-versa.

A drag of the slider from its extreme left to its extreme right is a Take.

Reset Button:
If you are not satisfied with a Take, click the Reset button to discard it.

Retime Button:
If you are satisfied with a Take click the Retime button. N U K E retimes the animation and immediately plays it.

Undo Retime Button:
If you are not satisfied with the retimed result, click the Undo Retime button

Playback Options:

Realtime Scene Update Checkbox:
You will notice that the scene updates as you drag the Retime Slider. If the scene is complex, the update will be slow and hence will affect the timing. In that case, turn Realtime Scene Update off and drag the slider to input the timing alone.

The Controls Window:

Choose Retimable Object Slider:
N U K E allows you to retime many objects at once or one object at a time. You select the object you want to retime by dragging this slider. By default, the selected objects are all retimed simultaneously. The name of the object being retimed is shown in the title bar of The Controls Window.

Start Frame Slider:
You drag this slider to set the start frame of the animation that will be retimed.

End Frame Slider:
You drag this slider to set the end frame of the animation that will be retimed.

Get Retimable Objects Button:
You can change the retimable objects any time you wish. Just select these objects and click the Get Retimable Objects button. Its particularly good to do this when N U K E issues the following errors:

Quit N U K E Button:
Quits N U K E.

TIPS:

QUIRKS:

ABOUT ME:

I am a freelance CG Software Developer based in Madras, India. I am committed to developing software that helps artists/animators create CGI for movies or television. I am always on the look out for a fulltime programming position and thus would love to be a fulltime CG Software Developer at your studio. If you like the idea, here is my contact information:

Jagannathan Sampath
F14, HIG Flats,
Anna Main Road,
KK Nagar,
Chennai - 600 078
Tamil Nadu
INDIA
Phone : 91-44-4890321
e-mail :
sjagan@hotmail.com

I worked fulltime as a Production Software Engineer at EFX from August 1997 to September 1998. To check out my current and past projects, please visit my web site:

http://members.tripod.com/sjagannathan/

You can find my online resume at:

http://members.tripod.com/sjagannathan/resume/