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Maya Programming I (MEL)

This course will provide an introduction to Maya Embedded Language (MEL). MEL offers an easy scripting interface for automating, customizing and extending workflows in Maya. MEL has been wrapped with Python bindings in recent versions of Maya, which make it more versatile, powerful and vital scripting to learn. This course will help students to expand their Maya toolset.

Objective: The objective of this course is to provide hands on experience with MEL which would enable students to write scripts to improve their workflow. They will learn procedural techniques to use computation in creative ways within the Maya environment.

Methodology: The course will comprise of lectures and coding demonstration. The students will learn using examples of provided code. Coding assignment will be provided to students to apply the concepts learned during the class. Students would be required to propose and deliver a final project.

Grading: Attendance is mandatory for all classes. Students missing two or more classes will receive a failing or incomplete grade. The final grade would be based 80% assignment and 20 % final project scores.

Prerequisites: Experience with Maya® Software and prior experience with any programming or scripting language.

Course Location: San Diego Supercomputer Center(SDSC) Room # 279 View map (Classroom located on the left end of the highlighted yellow block )
Course Timing: Thursday 6:00 - 9:00 pm , Sept 25th 2008 to November 20th 2006 (8 meetings, no class October 23rd)
Software: Maya 2008 would be available for classroom usage.
Parking: General UCSD Parking info, Directions to SDSC

Optional Texts: Self Reading

For Artists For Intermediate Programmers For Advanced Programmers

MEL Scripting for Maya Animators

Authors: Mark R. Wilkins and Chris Kazmier

ISBN-10: 1558608419

ISBN-13: 978-1558608412

Complete Maya Programming: An Extensive Guide to MEL and C++ API

Author: David Gould

ISBN-10: 1558608354

ISBN-13: 978-1558608351

Complete Maya Programming, Vol. II: An In-Depth Guide to 3D Fundamentals, Geometry, and Modeling

Author: David Gould

ISBN-10: 0120884828


Amit Chourasia
Visualization Scientist
San Diego Supercomputer Center
Home Page
Phone: 858-822-3656

Topics and Assignments:

Week 1

Overview of Maya’s Architecture

Explore Maya's scripting interface


Week 2

Working with attributes and expressions

Expressions Vs MEL


Week 3

Scripting basics: Command Syntax, Understanding Variables, Data types

Programming Structures: Conditional statements, Loops and Logical Operators


Week 4

Writing Procedures

Script Files

Understanding Window Management


Week 5

Designing custom GUI

File IO


Week 6

Particle Systems

Final project proposals


Week 7

Script Job & Script Node

Work on Final Project


Week 8

Catch up on any remaining topics

Final Project Presentation


Useful Links

The following web sites have lots of useful interesting information for Maya animators: Buying software for personal use: (Purchase not required for attending the class) Maya comes in two flavors Maya Unlimited(more advanced features) and Maya Complete, for classroom purpose Maya Complete would be sufficient. Educational version of Maya(8.5) can be bought from UCSD Bookstore or